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20 Laundry Facts and Stats

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You might learn a new fun fact about laundry.

Have you ever stopped to realize you don’t actually know much about laundry? You may toss your clothes in the machine with the first detergent you saw on the shelves, turn the machine on and hope for the best.

But knowing some of these basic laundry facts and statistics can help you with your laundry routine. After all, knowledge is power.

We’re here to share 20 laundry facts and stats under the topics of average loads, laundry trivia, random laundry facts, and how laundry affects the environment.

If you’re just looking for some fun information to win your next pub quiz, then you should also stick around!

Laundry Facts From Around the World

Most people around the world do laundry twice a week. Hand washing clothes is more common in Asia-Pacific than in the rest of the world. In Africa and the Middle East, 46 percent of people have in-home washing machines. Ninety-seven percent of homes in Italy have washing machines.

 


Top Laundry Facts and Statistics

  1. Most people across the globe do laundry twice a week.
  2. Hand washing is more prominent in Asia-Pacific than in the rest of the world.
  3. Only 46 percent of people in Africa and the Middle East have a washing machine.
  4. People in Asia-Pacific are more likely to use natural or eco-friendly laundry detergent.
  5. Forty percent of North and Latin American people seek the cheapest laundry detergent.
  6. The first drawing of a washing machine occurred in 1752.
  7. The hand-cranked dryer was invented in 1800.
  8. Detergent, as we know it today, came out in 1933.
  9. Dryer sheets can leave a waxy film on your clothes.
  10. Sea voyagers used to clean their clothes in salt water.
  11. More and more people are becoming sensitive to fragrances.
  12. People used to clean their clothes in urine.
  13. Monday used to be laundry day during the Victorian era.
  14. Walt Disney World does 285,000 pounds of laundry every day.
  15. Astronauts burn their clothes in the Earth’s atmosphere on their way back to Earth.
  16. Heating water accounts for 90 percent of a washing machine’s energy usage.
  17. Washing machines use 19 billion cubic meters of water yearly.
  18. The average washing machine uses 41 gallons of water per load.
  19. Detergent emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the environment.
  20. Washing machines are more energy efficient now than they were in the 70s.

Average Loads of Laundry Per Week

No two people do laundry the exact same way. You and your neighbor likely have different routines. But what about you and folk from the next country over?

We have some interesting facts to share if you were wondering how often people do laundry worldwide.

  • Most people do two loads per week: A 2016 study showed that 67 percent of people across the globe did laundry twice a week. Thirty-one percent of people do laundry every day. This is probably true for you if you come from a family of four or more!
  • Hand-washing vs. machine: Hand-washing is more common in Asia-Pacific than in the rest of the world. Twenty-seven percent of people in Asia-Pacific hand-wash, versus 17 percent globally.
  • Washing machine use globally: In Africa and the Middle East, only 46 percent of people have in-home washing machines. On the other end of the spectrum, 97 percent of homes in Italy have a washing machine.
  • Type of laundry detergent: People in Asia-Pacific are more likely to use natural or eco-friendly products. Forty percent of people in Asia-Pacific don’t use detergents with harsh chemicals, as opposed to 35 percent of people globally. Fifty-five percent of people in Latin America look for a laundry detergent with a pleasant fragrance compared to 38 percent of people globally.
  • Cost of laundry detergent: Forty percent of people in North and Latin America look for the cheapest laundry detergent, compared to 32 percent globally.

Laundry Trivia Questions

Ready for some random fun laundry and washing machine facts? This information might not help you get the most out of your laundry routine, but it will surely make you thankful you live in a world with great technology.

  • When was the washing machine invented? The first drawing and design of a washing machine occurred in 1752. It wasn’t until 1868 that Thomas Bradford successfully created the machine and was able to use it.
  • When was the tumble dryer invented? A hand-cranked dryer was invented in 1800. An electric clothes dryer was invented in 1937.
  • When was laundry detergent invented? Detergent, as we know it today, hit the market in 1933. It was known as Dreft, which has since been reformulated as a baby detergent.
  • Are dryer sheets good for your laundry routine? We think you should stay away from dryer sheets. They can leave a waxy film on your clothes and your machine. Instead, use wool balls or even tennis balls.
  • How did sea voyagers clean their clothes? They would put them in a tethered bag and drag them behind their ships, letting the sea do the hard work.

Random Laundry Facts

We all love a random fact. Here are some entertaining or miscellaneous facts about laundry. From facts about fragrances to shocking news about Disney World, we’ve covered a few bases.

  • Fragrance sensitivity is on the rise: You might not like the tropical breeze scent of your laundry detergent, which is pretty normal, as it’s synthetically produced. In fact, fragrance sensitivities are on the rise, with 30.5 percent of people finding scented products irritating (1).
  • Urine used to be laundry detergent: Before we used soap, urine was used as a detergent. Yep, you read that right. Pretty gross. The ammonia from urine worked as a stain remover. People would purchase barrels of urine for their laundromats.
  • Monday was laundry day: Back in the day, especially during the Victorian era, Monday was laundry day. Since it took a whole day to do laundry, it made sense to have it on a particular day. If you’re a busy college student or parent, it might also help you to have a specific laundry day.
  • There’s a lot of laundry at Walt Disney World: Walt Disney World does 285,000 pounds of laundry per day. That is equal to you doing one load of laundry a day for 44 years. Wow.
  • Astronauts burn their dirty laundry: When returning from space, NASA astronauts toss their dirty clothes into space, where the Earth’s atmosphere burns them. Anything to avoid washing, drying, and folding their clothes!

Laundry Impact On the Environment

It’s important to note how our laundry routine impacts the environment. Is it eco-friendly? Is it harmful? Are there ways we could do better for the planet?

Here are some facts about water and electricity consumption in the laundry room.

  • Use cold water: Heating water accounts for 90 percent of a washing machine’s energy usage. If you use cold water, you will be doing the environment a favor. Remember not to use cold water when cleaning laundry after someone has been sick; that won’t kill the germs.
  • Nineteen billion cubic meters of water: Washing machines use 19 billion cubic meters of water annually and emit 62 million tonnes of CO2-eq greenhouse gases (2).
  • Stats per load: The average washing machine uses 41 gallons of water per load, while a clothes dryer is responsible for six percent of a home’s energy usage (3).
  • Detergent is a culprit: Scented detergent, dryer sheets, and non-natural detergents can emit VOCs into the environment.
  • Washing machines are better now: Modern washing machines use 70 percent less energy than they did in the 70s.

FAQs

Did Sailors Wash Their Clothes In Urine?

Sailors would use seawater, but people back on land were cleaning their clothes with urine. They used it as a detergent before soap was common in the laundry routine. The ammonia from urine worked well to remove stains. Nowadays, we don’t recommend that.

Who Invented the Washing Machine?

The first drawing that appeared was by Jacob Christian Schäffer. Edward Beetham sold washing mills in England. In 1862, the rotary washing machine was made by Richard Lansdale. In 1868, Thomas Bradford invented what most closely resembles the machines we use now. It was a bit of a collaborative effort over many decades!

Is Cold Wash Better for the Environment?

Yes — using cold water in our machines can cut greenhouse gas emissions. On average, almost 60 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from heating the water in the machine.

Cut your energy waste by using cool water when possible. The good news is that most laundry detergents are still effective in cooler water.


Unloading Laundry Facts

Laundry is a household chore that most of us do a few times a week. While we know to separate our colors and whites and which detergent we love, we don’t know many laundry facts and stats. Until now.

Our 20 laundry facts have highlighted some cool information, some handy washing machine facts, and insights from around the globe. This new information can come in handy the next time you do a load or the next time your kid asks you for any fun facts.

Out of these 20 facts, we hope you found one that will impress the family.

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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a 20-something freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism and English literature. Beth firmly believes that a tidy house is a tidy mind. She is always looking for new ways to sustainably clean and tidy her house, that's kind on the environment but effective in the house, too!