Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fare il bucato: doing the laundry

Doing the laundry in Italy can be a challenge. Fortunately, I have a tiny front-loading washing machine in the kitchen of my apartment, and several clotheslines on the terrace where I can dry things.

la lavatrice (washing machine)

As a general rule, dryers are not commonly used in Italy. Utilities are expensive, and dryers have not become a common part of the Italian household. In Florence, it is also not common to see laundry on clothes lines hanging from windows...there may be an ordinance against it because it's considered unsightly. Most people use a folding stendino or drying rack, placed in the hallway of the home when clothes need to be dried. I often see my neighbor's stendini sitting on the roof across from my terrace when they do laundry. I feel fortunate that I can dry my clothes on the terrace, in the sun. This means that I only wash clothes on sunny days, which is fine with me.

hanging out on the terrace to dry

I didn't have any clear instructions on how to use the washing machine, and the first load I washed took three hours! I was alarmed by this, hoping to avoid having high utility expenses while I'm here. I asked for some advice, and the next load I washed, I tried the "rapid" cycle, which only took 30 minutes, but didn't clean the clothes well or add the fabric softener. Today, I tried another setting, and found the right takes about 75 minutes, but I hear that is normal for washing machines in Italy. They use less water, and there are pauses in the agitation cycle, so it can change directions. It's considered to be more energy-efficient as well. I don't have to wash my clothes often, and so it's quite manageable. However, once the cool, wet weather sets in, I'm sure to be less eager to deal with fare il bucato. But there's nothing like the smell of fresh, clean, sun-dried sheets!


LindyLouMac said...

Hi MaryBeth just catching up on some blog reading. What an honour to be asked to speak to FLOW. As for the laundry I hope you know about the cheap rate electricity hours for when to use the washing machine.

marybeth said...


Cheap rates? Dimmi, please tell me more!