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Are Americans Doing Laundry All Wrong?

A trip to Manila made me wonder about the history of washing and drying in America, and whether the automated models are doing more harm than good.
A woman washes her clothes at a Laundromat in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
A woman washes her clothes at a Laundromat in Cambridge, Massachusetts. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

In October 2015, I was in the Philippines, on a bus heading up the North Luzon Expressway out of Manila and into the mountains. I had traveled from San Francisco to visit my friend Imman, and we were escaping the relentless heat. Out the window, tropical palm trees, rice fields, and rural villages rolled by. We were talking about domestic labor when the topic of laundry came up.

He asked, “How do Americans have time to do laundry?”