Capitalism will abolish Laundry Day: The most hated chore in the history of housework

Sarah Skwire takes you to the old days when washing laundry was such a task for most women. And how things have changed gradually thanks to the capitalism. Actually more than capitalism it is technology which has enabled this important change to lives of women much like gas stoves.

In the 1920s, the average housewife spent about 11.5 hours per week on laundry and ironing. By 1965, that had dropped to just under 7 hours. In 2014, that average housewife (and her spouse) spent about 20 minutes a day on the task, or just over 1.5 hours per week.

Laundry might be one of the most hated chores in the history of housework. It’s a Sisyphean task. The moment the job is done, there’s more laundry to do. And unlike cooking, which can be put off by ordering pizza or going out to eat, or dishes, which can be reduced by using paper plates, the laundry has to be done regularly. (Unless you’re a college student, of course.)

And so we complain about laundry all the time. And economists and others study it.


Consider all that, and then go watch Hans Rosling’s magic washing machine video, and remember how much of the world today still does their wash in conditions even harder than those of 1949, or even 1913.

Recent advances in nanotechnology have created textiles that clean themselves with light. Fans of mid-century science fiction will instantly think of the Alec Guiness movie, The Man in the White Suit, where the invention of a similar product leads to panic among textile plant managers and union workers. While many are sure to react to this news with similar distress and to lament the loss of the picturesque clothesline, Hans Rosling and I say bring it on. As a little visit to the laundry rooms of the past reminds us, every minute we now spend doing laundry — no matter how few those minutes are — could be more joyously spent doing almost anything else.


Today’s generation would not even appreciate how far we have come in so many things in 100 years or so..


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