Fellow blogger John, recently sent out an article to our internal mailing list on how clothes dryers are having a tough time in the Chinese marketplace. At first no one responded, maybe because most of us thought, “so what, that’s what I’d expect”.
After I offered to tackle the subject, the replies started coming in, about how our parents never had dryers, and how our parents and even many of us writers today, don’t use dishwashers. If you were socially conscious, you might even be applauding us for being so green, although saving money and entrenched habits, might have been more the driving factors for our parents.
Read tidbits from our conversation after the jump.
Moye: This is such an Asian thing. My husband thinks I’m weird that I always insist on air drying our laundry. Its cheaper and Eco friendly.
John: I am sure we’ve all experienced our parents washing plastic cups, utensils and plates before. “Modern” society is very wasteful.
Jee: I am very proud of my clothes-drying-rack. Even if I get judged for it. 😛 I’m pretty sure this earns me enough Asian cards to last a while.
Edward: I don’t believe in clothes drying racks. They’re a waste of space and a WASTE OF MY TIME. I WANT MY CLOTHES NOW OKAY.
Ernie: I think the dryers are the best invention to mankind. That said, I didn’t use a dishwasher until I moved to San Francisco. I AM SUCH A REBEL, more so than, you know, being gay.
Ben: Strangely enough… I’m entirely the same as Ernie (outside of the rebel, and being gay part, haha). I didn’t use a dishwasher until I moved to the South but I used dryers. Especially loved the apartment dryers that sucked up a lot of energy, didn’t really dry all that well, and the only thing they were really good at was keeping the laundry room nice and toasty when it was cold during the winter. :p
Jozjozjoz: my family almost always uses a dryer, but only used the dishwasher as a drying rack. For many years, I didn’t even realize that the drainline for the dishwasher wasn’t even connected! (Bad because the water line WAS connected!)
I manage some rental properties in an area of town with a lot of Chinese immigrants and no one ever uses the dishwasher or the garbage disposal. When I started updating the kitchens in that area, I removed the dishwashers from the kitchens and no one ever complained. I once had to change out a garbage disposal which was broken but I didn’t know since no one complained about it– I found out it was broken when it rusted through and began leaking water all over the place. Doh.
When I empty out the quarters in the coin-op washer/dryer, I can tell how many loads have been done and the dryer is only used 1 out of every 3-4 loads of laundry that is done.
My parents owned the same house for 30 years. They bought the house new and got to watch it being built. It came with a built-in dishwasher and hookups for a washer and dryer in the house. In the 30 years they owned the house, they never bought a dryer, and they never used the dishwasher. The dishwasher was pristine (and still the same lovely shade of avocado green), when they sold the house 30 years later.
While I was growing up, more often than not, I was the dishwasher, washing all the dishes by hand after family meals. My sisters for the most part got the honor of hanging the clothes on the outside drying rack, while we shared in duties bringing in the dry laundry. Often we’d forget to bring it in, which meant another day out in the sun to let clothes dry after the morning dew got them wet again.
I do remember how stiff and scratchy all the towels and jeans were after letting them air dry, and as soon as I moved out and got my own home, the first appliance I bought was a dryer, just for the soft fluffy towels. Like the other 8Asians writers, I still rarely use a dishwasher, but my spouse uses it regularly, so it does get a work out. I’m not sure which method uses less water, but at least washing by hand uses less electricity. Although it’s not an electricity use thing that bothers me, it’s just that I’ve never gotten comfortable using a dishwasher, it seems almost unnatural to me to use one.
What was interesting in the Washington post article that John shared, was that “unnatural” was also the same word used by Chinese to describe dryers:
But the real reason may lie deeper, having more to do with years of tradition and an unshakable belief in nature’s superiority to modern technology. Sunlight, most Chinese will tell you, leaves clothes cleaner and healthier to wear, and is better for the fabric, than a machine.
“Drying clothes in a machine seems not as natural as drying under the sun,” said Dong Xinrui, 28, an office clerk in Beijing. “It just doesn’t make me feel comfortable.”
After my parents retired and move to the West Coast I convinced them to let me buy a dryer for them in their new home, but even with the dryer, they still chose to put up a clothes line in the backyard, saving the dryer for emergency use only. I guess some things never change.