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Washing Day in Siberia - video

By 0 and 0 and 0
22 January 2016


'Hanging wet washing outside saves space indoors - not everyone uses tumble dryers or owns washing machines with a drying regime.' Picture here and below Vera Salnitskaya

It may not seem obvious to hang out your washing in the harsh winter, but for many Siberians this is the perfect solution. The clothes can be frozen solid within minutes and later they are brought inside where they rapidly dry. The secret is that moisture evaporates even in the fierce cold.

Tatiana Ilyina, 30, from Novosibirsk, explained: 'When you have three months of bitter cold why not use it? Hanging wet washing outside saves space indoors - not everyone uses tumble dryers or owns washing machines with a drying regime. 

'Say I need to dry bedding for the family of four, it would make my tumble dryer go for half a day to make it dry. All I need instead is some space on the balcony, or outside - for people who have their own houses. Hang it out for a night and forget about it. 

'Next morning take it off and keep it indoors for a while to get rid of the dampness. It's a pure common sense to use what Nature gives us.'

Washing clothes in winter

Washing clothes in winter

Washing clothes in winter

Washing clothes in winter

Washing clothes in winter

'We live in a house, and I always hang washing outside. My mother did the same and my grandmother, too.'

Another woman Nadezhda, 50, from Tomsk, said: 'Our city has winters when night temperature can go as low as minus 50C. We live in a house, and I always hang washing outside. My mother did the same and my grandmother, too. 

'The ideal temperature is about minus 30C and windy, this makes the washing dry within hours. I usually ask my husband or my son to take it off as washing freezes to strings and one needs strong hands to separate them.' 

Vitaly, 25, says this type of drying leaves the clothes with a perfect smell. 'We live in a flat on outskirts of Novosibirsk, and my mother always uses the balcony in winter to hang clothes like tops, T-shirts, jeans and skirts. She never uses fabric conditioner in winters, because the 'defrosted' washing smells of snow and freshness.'

Washing clothes in winter

Washing clothes in winter

Washing clothes in winter

Washing clothes in winter

'The 'defrosted' washing smells of snow and freshness.' 

Maria, 37, from the same city, said: 'I've got no extra space in my flat and no tumble dryer, so I have to share space in the yard with several neighbours. I never even thought that hanging washing outside might seem unusual to people not living in Siberia. It's such a part of our routine. 

'We leave clothes and bedding outside overnight and it's ready to be ironed in the morning. I'm not scared of people stealing it. We're used to be doing it this way for years.'

Dmitry, 20, from Barnaul, told us: 'I once watched video how people in Yakutsk - the world's coldest city - wet T-shirts and take them out at minus 50C, and then break them in half or easily tear them. 

'We don't have temperatures as low as minus 50C in Barnaul, and I personally have a tumble dryer, but when I pay electricity bills at the end of the month I do wonder if it's better to use some outdoor facilities like Siberian freeze dryers?'

Comments (7)

Sare yeh batao Russia and siberia mein itti thand mein kapde kaise sukhte hai.
Dev dev, Delhi
28/02/2019 02:01
My Mom used to do the same at minus 40 degree weather in Quebec city,
when I was a little girl,and let it dry inside cold yes it was! in our home and
outside,but it was not to cold to go and play hockey on the street,wonderful
memories !!!.
Liliane Mougin, Clovis,CA.USA
17/02/2016 20:07
Excellent point made in this article, 'The simple ways work quite well in many cases like here'. I think we have been fed too many gadgets, gizmos and stuff as essentials and callously, we have bought into all of it getting caught up in a chain of less than necessary consumption. There is nothing wrong with simpler options in many cases. The joy of being able to do just fine with less is better than having the unnecessary. There are many who are discovering simple ways of doing just fine with less and are doing fine. Quality of life is a misnomer, it is always quality of the one living life that matters.
Lund / USA, /
26/01/2016 06:14
When I was a child in Saskatchewan, hanging the laundry outside in the winter was what everyone did. I can sill remember my mother taking the wet clothes and bedding out and seeing it frozen and flat as a board, swaying in the wind. I don't remember it being very damp at all when she brought it back in, but then, just about everything was ironed so perhaps it might have been a little damp. I also remember freezing solid on our windy walk to school and the smell of damp wool from our socks when we would walk across the heat register in the classroom. Kids clothing, in fact all clothing, is so much better designed and made today. We just had those ridiculous four buckle rubber overshoes and our regular shoes, we would get so cold sometimes, but now we have proper skidoo boots with felt liners, what a blessed change! Of course now we tell our children that we used to walk 10 miles to school in -40 degree weather and it was uphill both ways!
Ralph, Canada
24/01/2016 11:30
Crunchy clothes...and efficient Lol!
Jocelyne, FRANCE
22/01/2016 23:51
i never use any fabric softener at any time. a little bit apple vinegar into the =softener= compartment, will do just fine. the laundry does NOT smell of salad, you just have to use the right amount of vinegar. 25 gr,one =rumki= for one load of laundry. and helps the environment on top of it.
Benedikt, Moscow,Russia
22/01/2016 21:24
Very interesting. Good tip. I love the smell of freshly-dried clothes. The fresher, the better. I will try out this "eco" conscious technique as soon as possible (why use electrical energy when you don't need to?). In time, this should also result in some savings on electricity bills. And that is a good thing!
E. Espinosa, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
22/01/2016 17:43

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