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hot water washing machines? 2008/10/6 22:16
Are there any japanese washing machines that don't use cold water only? I haven't come across any yet, and I was asking myself why they don't use hot water as much as westerners do. People here believe that hot water is essential to washing and cleaning clothes properly.
by D  

... 2008/10/8 11:50
Though there're many waghing machines which can use "lukewarm water" from bathtub to save water, I've never heard of "hot water" washing machines in Japan. Difference in household items, such as, washing machines, may be one of the biggest culture shock to non-native residents.
I was very shocked to see people using boiling water to wash clothes in the US and our housemaids ironing even underwears in the Philippines.

By the way, I've once heard that it is related to hardness/softness of water. Soft (low-mineral) water in Japan can easily dilute soap while hard (mineral-rich) water in some countries cannot. But I'm not sure if this is true...
by JLady rate this post as useful

Hot water washing machines 2008/10/8 12:07
I thought some of the more expensive singing & dancing washing machines heated the water before use, but as already mentioned, it is not common to use hot water for washing in Japan.

People here believe that hot water is essential to washing and cleaning clothes properly.

Clearly it is not essential, and using cold water saves energy too.
by Dave in Saitama rate this post as useful

Connect to the right faucet 2008/10/8 18:38
All you have to do is to connect your washing machine to a faucet that provides hot water. An average Japanese washing machine does not heat water, but they all take whatever comes out of the faucet.

Of the five machines I've used throughout my life in Japan, never did I have to compromise on cold water only, and I haven't included the numerous laudry mat machines. There was one time when we were building a house and the house-builder almost put a cold-water-only faucet above the washing machine, but in most modern housings, a washing machine faucet provides both hot and cold water.
by Uco rate this post as useful

in support of cold water 2008/10/8 19:35
Not all ''western'' countries are the same. In New Zealand it has been common to wash with cold water only for quite a long time now, as it saves money on electricity bills and the clothes last longer.

Washing powders and washing machines have been developed to a point where it is now perfectly possible to get your clothes very clean without hot water.

Unfortunately for the environment in some countries people can't let go of the idea that hot water is necessary.

You've probably noticed that Japanese people value cleanliness quite highly, generally speaking- if cold water is good enough for them, why not let go of old-fashioned ideas about laundry and give cold water a try?
by Sira rate this post as useful

. 2008/10/8 23:36
Well at least for socks, bedding and towels hot water is essential in my experience because I never seem to get them properly clean when in Japan. Often stains just won't come off.

In fact European washing machines are very efficient when it comes to saving water, detergents and energy. Manufacturers have to label them according to efficiency level and consumers usually go for the better ones due to ecological and financial reasons because much use of water, electricity and detergents turns out to be much more expensive in the long run.

My jp boyfriend's washing machine (a new one btw) uses a lot more water than my washing machine at home + I have to wash more often when I'm in Japan because I can use towels only once before they start to become smelly. This might also be due to the high humidity and the fact that everythings takes a lot more time to dry. Still bacteria that cause the smell won't be killed in cold water.

Btw cold water detergents are much more aggressive than the ones used with warm water, which is also harmful for clothes and the environment.
by tay rate this post as useful

washing machines 2008/10/9 00:34
here in North America the old saying is:cold water for coloured clothes and warm water for whites. The machines often don't have a temperature setting but different programs: coloured, whites etc. I haven't noticed that my whites don't get less whites if I use only cold water! as for stains the trick is to clean th stain by hand--especially on whites,as soon as possible after one stain something.
by Red frog rate this post as useful

reply 2008/10/9 04:08
Hi everyone, thanks for sharing your answers with me.

To Sira

I have actually washed clothes with cold water only when in Japan, but my socks for instance, never became clean. Sure, they smelled clean after being washed, but the stains were still there. I immediately linked that to the fact that I was washing with cold water instead of hot.

It has been said above that it's just a habit that Japanese don't wash with hot water, alright fine...but in terms of cleanliness, from what I've just shared with you above, I had the exact opposite experience.
by D rate this post as useful

what locals do 2008/10/9 10:56
In terms of stains, in Japan you learn in school how you can get rid of stains depending on what kind of stains they are, ie. blood, dirt, oil or what not. If it's anything cultural, perhaps the Japanese tend to rely on procedures rather than temprature.

But TV ads tell you that their detergents make things whiter easier than other detergents, so you might want to try them.

As for me, I just pour on liquid detergent (actually, liquid soap, as I am ecology conscious) on stains and then wash it with the rest of the laundry and it gets very clean.

If not, I would rub the detergent on the stain in advance or soak it in color-safe bleach (_fnY) and water for as long as I need to, sometimes for days and it would come out stainless without much effort.

The Japanese tend to believe that water that is too hot will wear out the laundry, so 30-40 degrees Celsius would be a reasonable choice.
by Uco rate this post as useful

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