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23 May 2019 / leggypeggy

The challenges of drying laundry

laundry drying

Laundry draped on rocks

laundry drying

Laundry hung between buildings and draped on bushes

I love getting comments on my blog and a recent one (by Susan over at onesmallwalk)

Great market, such colorful displays. But it was the laundry in the breeze
that makes me want to visit—Susan.

has prompted me to do a post devoted to laundry in Africa.

Frankly, I love seeing laundry being dried around the world. The colours, the fabrics, the breezes, the ingenuity.

laundry drying

Hotel bedding spread on the ground and on a line

laundry drying

Laundry draped on a fence

The ingenuity? There’s plenty of ingenuity. It’s important to remember that not everyone in the world has a clothesline or a clothes dryer. In fact, not everyone can afford clothespins (pegs in Australia). So getting clothes washed and dried requires a certain amount of creativity.

We understand that. On camping trips—heck on almost all of our trips—we carry a bag with laundry soap, clothesline, pegs and a universal plug. It’s usually quite easy to find a sink but not always easy to find a plug. Trust me, a wadded up sock doesn’t keep water from oozing quickly down a drain.

Interesting to note that Liberia was the first time we saw clothespins (pegs) being widely used. The photos here are from several West African countries.

laundry drying

Laundry on bamboo poles and clotheslines

laundry drying

Laundry on bamboo poles

So here is a collection of pics that show how West Africans get clothes dried.

The rooftop and balcony pics at the bottom show clothes that belong to us and other people on our truck. I found these drying spaces quite by chance. Some of us camped in tents and others opted for cheap rooms. Most of us put in laundry—nice to have a break from doing your own washing.

laundry drying

Laundry drying outside a shop

We were told that the upstairs was unfinished. They said the rooms weren’t complete or furnished. The snoop in me thought I’d go up and have look. The rooms were as described and the laundry was in full sight.

As an aside, I’ve written many posts about laundry and there will be more to come. Here’s one from Burkino Faso and another from India.

So how do you get your laundry dry?

laundry drying

That’s my pale green shirt in the foreground

laundry drying

Plenty of clothes fit on a rooftop


Leave a Comment
  1. Eliza Ayres / May 23 2019 10:56 pm

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal and commented:
    Whatever their circumstances, people adapt.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ralietravels / May 23 2019 11:19 pm

    What an interesting observation and collection of photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 24 2019 7:36 am

      I have too many laundry photos. I promise not to share them all.


  3. beetleypete / May 24 2019 1:04 am

    The rooftop was definitely a new one to me, Peggy. 🙂
    Necessity is definitely the mother of invention in Africa.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. susan@onesmallwalk / May 24 2019 1:27 am

    LeggyPeggy – Thanks so much for delving into this sudsy, sun-reliant travel subject (and thanks for the mention ;)) I don’t know why wet laundry flapping outside a residence grabs my interest so. Or maybe I do: it really does link us all together, worldwide.
    Today, my laundry is fighting with the heavy fog 🙂 -Susan

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 24 2019 7:42 am

      Oh ugh. Fog and drying don’t go together. Good luck. You’re right though, laundry links us all worldwide.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / May 24 2019 1:33 am

    My great-great-great grandparents (early to mid 1800s) in Europe most likely would have resorted to creative ways of drying clothes. Africa at least has lots of sunshine though I think also lots of rain in some areas. Whenever I see laundry drying, I think of the work it took to scrub it clean.

    I lived in Hawaii when I was a kid, 1959-60. We had a washing machine but no dryer. Laundry was my job – running everything through the washer and then lugging tubfuls out to the yard where string after string of line waited for me. I had to be careful to choose the right time of day to hang that laundry or the rain would make me do it all over again. Still, our washer and all those lines were a luxury compared to you hauling wet clothes up to the roof!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 24 2019 8:10 am

      Getting clothes clean when washing by hand is incredibly hard work. I’ve tried to do it too many times.

      Loved your story about dealing with laundry in Hawaii. During winter in colder parts of Australia there is a specific window of time for drying clothes outside. The saying goes ‘out by 11 and in by 3’. It should go on to say that then you drape everything around the house to let it finish drying.

      P.S. I don’t own a dryer.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. mistermuse / May 24 2019 1:37 am

    In America, we often have missing socks after clothes come out of the dryer. In Africa, I can picture missing everything after a strong wind springs up and blows those clothes off the ‘rooftop dryer’ to who knows where.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 24 2019 8:14 am

      Back in the 1970s in Egypt, I had to hang my laundry on a small line out the window of my 5th floor flat. Too often I had to retrieve clothes that fell into the garden of the neighbouring Italian Club.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse / May 24 2019 11:03 am

        Like (your reply’s “Like” button didn’t work for me)

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / May 24 2019 11:20 am

        That’s weird, but I sometimes find that ‘Like’ buttons can be a bit uncooperative.


  7. dreamweaver333 / May 24 2019 4:26 am

    Reblogged this on dreamweaver333.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Phil Huston / May 24 2019 7:14 am

    I remember my Mom’s clothes line, helping her hang and un hang sheets. I read somewhere that we all use way too much detergent in our machines, and that it’s the agitation that gets things clean, not the soap. Hark back to the days of beating clothes against the river rocks. My Grandmother had one of those tubs with a wringer on it. I worked at a gas station where we used one of those to rinse and wring the chamois for cleaning windshields! OMG! Full service for 17 cents a gallon! I’ll bet one of those tubs would fetch a princely sum in Africa. Can you imagine trying to use a clothes line in England? Theres a reason for those racks by the fire…
    Thanks for all the local “color.” Asphalt comp shingles but no dryers…

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 24 2019 9:48 am

      Great point about the detergent. We have a front-loading machine. It uses no more than 1/4 cup of detergent. The glass door lets you see minimal suds and plenty of agitation in action.

      Too many in Africa still beat clothes against rocks or use scrubbing boards. Must dredge up more laundry pics.

      When I was growing up we had a clothesline in the basement. Perfect for drying clothes in winter. I still don’t have a dryer. I have drying racks and sometimes drape the furniture with dampish clothes.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. America On Coffee / May 24 2019 8:42 am

    A really great post Peggy. With the strange situation of today and our dependency on conveniencies, weird challenges can result. Fun post Peg! Have a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 24 2019 10:07 am

      Thanks so much. I miss my washing machine when I’m travelling, but I don’t miss a dryer. I don’t have one. Have a great day too!


      • America On Coffee / May 25 2019 7:45 am

        I can understand the not having and solutioned makeshifts. Don’t know if I could handle it.❤😕

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Lynette d'Arty-Cross / May 24 2019 11:07 am

    I use a dryer. I love outside dried clothes but this isn’t a choice for me right now. With -45C and my work schedule I’d be draping myself in laundry. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 24 2019 11:19 am

      Sometimes a dryer is the only answer. Can’t have you walking around in wet clothes at -45C!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. efge63 / May 24 2019 3:15 pm

    Good morning !!!

    The web is a wonderful thing. It has allowed us to make a community where we can see and learn from each others work, as if we are living in the same city. The scope of our personal and visual experiences is apparent through our photos. Thank you for sharing!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 24 2019 3:41 pm

      I agree completely. The web is a wonderful thing. How lucky we are to be able to share our worlds.

      Liked by 1 person

      • efge63 / May 24 2019 4:25 pm

        🤗🌷 Have a wonderful Friday! Thank you for all your posts!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Brian Lageose / May 24 2019 4:49 pm

    Why does this post remind me of my dorm room in college? Hmm… 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 24 2019 9:43 pm

      Oh gosh, your comment made me laugh. I can picture your dorm room and mine as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. The Year I Touched My Toes / May 24 2019 7:31 pm

    I love photos of washing hanging out too. Love the post and all the comments it has generated too. Keep them coming I say. Louise

    Liked by 1 person

  14. fragglerocking / May 24 2019 10:07 pm

    Laundry is a great leveler, lovely pictures! Mine is hung over a metal clothes horse thingy out in the garden!
    My American pal in Rochester isn’t allowed to put laundry out in the garden as it lowers the tone of the neighbourhood, 🤣 and had to sign an agreement to that before moving in!! Funny world sometimes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 24 2019 10:19 pm

      Funny world indeed. There are apartment buildings in Australia that say you can’t even have a clotheshorse on your balcony. Argh!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rachel McAlpine / Jun 14 2019 6:51 am

        This banning of laundry outdoors has always annoyed me intensely. I’m with you in enjoying the sight, so human and colourful. How they light up a building!

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Jun 14 2019 7:33 am

        We have too many sterile high-rise apartment buildings that could do with abundant splashes of colour. But I was shocked the other day. Gave a lift to a friend who noticed that an apartment dweller had draped a quilt over the railing. She thought it looked tacky. You can bet I gave my opinion in the nicest possible way.


  15. weggieboy / May 24 2019 10:31 pm

    I’ll keep these photos in mind the next time I put my wash in my computer-controlled, low energy, washer with at least 100 combinations of water temperature, soak, wring, dry combinations available and a dryer with a similar selection of drying options.

    There’s little effort to wash day now, though all those choices can leave you with a headache! LOL!

    Some things still require handwashing and drip drying them, though cold water x low speed wring x delicate dry x low heat x taking the slightly wet items out of the machine and hanging them in the shower on a hanger works if one is careful not to let them get too heated in the machine.

    Do you remember how solar-dried clothes had that wonderful smell? Yeah, I know you do, Peggy! I have to add scent to my machine-processed clothes, either by detergent used or softener. Not the same, no matter what the promise on the bottle!

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 25 2019 9:17 am

      Oh my, your comment made me laugh. My ancient washing machine in Australia has about five options. It’s a front loader, and if a piece of clothing can’t go in the machine it doesn’t come into my house! And yes, I do know the smell of line-dried clothes. Our climate is just good enough to allow outdoor drying. I don’t even own a dryer.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Sande Olocho / May 24 2019 10:50 pm

    I sincerely appreciate the way you sponge intricate insights that give life to your descriptions.
    I wish I was still in active teaching, I would encourage my students to read and enjoy your writings.
    It would eventually give them the skill to flavour their composition/essay writing with those insights we take for granted more often than not, yet that is the Life we should enjoy before the curtain falls.

    Thank you so much for sharing

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 25 2019 9:18 am

      Thanks Sande for your wonderful comment. I so appreciate your support and interest in my blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Emma Cownie / May 25 2019 1:51 am

    These photos are fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 25 2019 9:20 am

      Thanks Emma. The views in Africa often remind me of the angles and colours in your paintings.


  18. theburningheart / May 25 2019 2:55 am

    I guess adaptation it’s the name of the game.
    As a child, and a young man, I grew up with lines and clothespins, until I come to the US, then it was a dryer machine for over thirty years, now recently back in the old country, I am back to yard lines, and clothespins, fortunately there’s plenty of sunshine, and wind, so it takes no more than a couple of hours for clothes to be dry. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Chris Riley / May 25 2019 8:02 am

    Wow. The things we take for granted – even a simple clothes line.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. housewolf4 / May 25 2019 12:02 pm

    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 25 2019 3:34 pm

      Thanks so much. Appreciate you stopping by and commenting.


  21. Alison and Don / May 25 2019 1:10 pm

    I always travel with a line I can string up, and a handful of pegs, and India was better than China for getting the local laundry to do it for you. I too have photographed laundry – my favourite place was Italy – so many beautiful colours

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 25 2019 3:33 pm

      Just checked out your Italian laundry pics. Wonderful colour. Thanks for your visit.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. circusgardener / May 25 2019 3:08 pm

    Fascinating, and so beautifully observed

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Sheryl / May 26 2019 5:46 am

    What a fun set of photos! It’s fascinating how many place laundry can be dried – on a line, on the ground, on a balcony or roof . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 26 2019 10:01 am

      It’s fun to see all the variations. I have lots of laundry pics so may share more in future.


  24. tony / May 26 2019 3:15 pm

    Hi Peggy

    Tried to comment and like a couple of articles from the van on the way between National Parks in the USA but dodgy internet and phone dropouts hindered the quest. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip to West Africa. Our repeat of your last year’s trip through the National Parks of the USA was magnificent but exhausting. A couple of days in San Francisco to recuperate and off to Portland tomorrow.

    Will catch up with likes and comments on West Africa over the next week.

    All the best


    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 26 2019 3:41 pm

      Great to hear from you and to know your parks trip went well. Can’t wait to hear more about it. All the best to you and Denise. Enjoy!


  25. thewonderer86 / May 26 2019 8:25 pm

    I am amazed that the laundry is always so clean after being draped over all these makeshift drying places. I remember seeing laundry spread on the ghats at Varanassi – where people and animals walked all the time, but still it looked spotless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 26 2019 9:07 pm

      I agree completely. Impossible to realise how clean laundry gets when it’s often washed in tubs and spread to dry over bushes or the ground.


  26. chattykerry / May 27 2019 5:28 am

    We are not allowed to hang washing visibly in our township. I sneak the metal dryer outside because I love the smell of sunshine on clothes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 27 2019 7:58 am

      I know that’s a policy in many parts of the USA. So puzzling. What’s so offensive about laundry? Glad you still manage to do your own thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • chattykerry / May 28 2019 4:33 am

        Are the knickers too large for public consumption?? I am a free spirit…

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / May 28 2019 8:42 am

        That’s what we love about you!


  27. pvcann / May 27 2019 4:12 pm

    I love the natural effect of sundried (can’t believe that in the west we’re dictating that washing shouldn’t be seen and etc. in these gated communities and private developments). I love the freedom they live by (no other choice I’d imagine). I just have to say – the way they do their drying really rocks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 27 2019 5:07 pm

      I think you like looking at laundry drying as much as I do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • pvcann / May 27 2019 6:42 pm

        When it’s almost an art installation – yes indeed 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  28. Gilda Baxter / May 27 2019 10:06 pm

    Peggy, people are so versatile, it is fascinating to see and understand about other countries its citizen’s every day lives, how they adapt their surroundings to fit their needs. Very interesting post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 27 2019 11:14 pm

      Thanks Gilda. I was looking at even more laundry photos tonight. I may have to do another post on the subject.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. lievelee / May 28 2019 2:47 am

    What an absolutely delightful topic!!! After five years of travelling, I am sure I could also get a fair collection together of washing lines and airing methods that I have spotted… But we all learn to make do. The one thing I have learnt is that most things we own are much more versatile… Every time I set up home in a different country I try not to buy any new things and see how I can manage and adapt. I usually find that after that time, there is not much I really need to buy…


    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 28 2019 1:32 pm

      Great to have you stop by. I’ll look out for washing lines from you. It’s amazing how much we can live without if we have to.


  30. June Lorraine Roberts / May 29 2019 11:31 pm

    For years some communities banned clotheslines in Ontario. One good thing the government did awhile back was to outlaw that practice, let nature dry your clothes. Lovely post Peggy!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. A. Rinum / May 30 2019 5:44 pm

    This reminds me of Pakistan. We used to do the same thing. Sometimes you just have to make the best out of what you have.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 30 2019 11:33 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. You are so right. It’s all about adapting to the situation.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Claremary P. Sweeney / May 31 2019 4:32 pm

    Peggy, this is a joyful post with all of the colors and comments. I can almost smell the clean laundry drying in the sun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 31 2019 4:46 pm

      That’s a most wonderful smell.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Claremary P. Sweeney / Jun 1 2019 12:15 am

        Yes, it brings back many memories of when I was younger helping to hang wet laundry on the clothesline in our backyard.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Jun 1 2019 2:30 pm

        I have those memories too. In winter, our clothes were hung in the basement.


  33. CarolCooks2 / Jun 1 2019 12:00 pm

    It is similar here Peggy laundry is big business as many Thais don’t have washing facilities just a huge bowl, running tap or flowing klong and dried wherever possible… Great post and images

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 1 2019 2:23 pm

      Thanks Carol. I think handwashing and haphazard drying are true over much of the world.

      Liked by 1 person

      • CarolCooks2 / Jun 1 2019 5:19 pm

        It certainly is in many places still as you say…Hard work especially in the sun 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Jun 1 2019 5:48 pm

        Hard on your hands too!


  34. Rachel McAlpine / Jun 14 2019 6:55 am

    A great moment in our family was the day my grandfather bought us a washing machine. Sure, a klunky thing with a hand wringer, and dire warnings about long hair on the loose. But before that, my mother had to wash for a family of 8 in a copper! That was not a worthy use of her precious time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 14 2019 7:29 am

      Oh my, what memories. That’s exactly the kind of machine we had in 1950s. No wonder we kids all had short hair. So right that it wasn’t a worthy use of your mother’s time. Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rachel McAlpine / Jun 14 2019 7:30 am

        I had accidentally unfollowed you, so I’m happy to be back in touch.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Jun 14 2019 9:02 am

        I haven’t been able to figure out how to follow you, but I will drop in regularly once I’m home.


  35. FunFoodTravelling / Jun 23 2019 7:08 pm

    That’s great!! We are going on the trip around the world soon so I see how we will dry our clothes 😜any recommendations for a soap or a good product to wash in hands?thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 23 2019 9:28 pm

      Any good bar of soap will be fine (I avoid anti-bacterial soaps because they are bad for the environment). The best thing is to wet your hands, rub with soap, then rub your hands together vigorously for about 15 seconds, then rinse. The friction is what works. I also recommend a nail brush.


  36. jeanleesworld / Jun 25 2019 8:29 pm

    Creative, indeed! I’d be worried about clothes blowing away, too. The colors really pop when they’re on the roof and rocks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 25 2019 9:22 pm

      It’s amazing that very few items are ever lost. They may get mixed up with other people’s stuff, but always seem to be found.

      Liked by 1 person

  37. vagabondurges / Jul 4 2019 9:53 am

    Have you ever run into the legendary critters that lay eggs in laundry hung out to dry, then hatch from the warmth when you put them on? They warned us about that in Zambia but I forgot, hung my shirts out on the railing….and I guess got lucky. I’m hoping you don’t have any horror stories either…but if you do, let’s hear them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jul 4 2019 11:58 am

      Luckily no horror stories. But I’ve heard the warning before.


  38. Laundryheap / Dec 3 2019 4:34 am

    Thank you for the interesting post! Great images and stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 3 2019 11:49 am

      Hi Laundryheap, thanks for stopping my and commenting.


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