Lessons From Brazil – Laundry


The common One way to wash your clothes here is to use a laundry sink with a washboard and wash everything piece by piece. Where drying is concerned, a basic indoor clothes line is used (usually located in a small laundry room). Washing machines are available for purchase but the majority don’t buy them and almost everyone has one (see comments). Dryers seem non-existant. In terms of underwear, everyone must do their own and when a washing machine is available, underwear generally doesn’t go in with the rest of the clothes.

Quite possible other methods or variations are utilized but in general this is how it is.


It is very hard to find a house or apt that doesn’t have (or does not include access to) a washing machine and dryer. One would be hard-pressed to find clothes lines.


16 thoughts on “Lessons From Brazil – Laundry

  1. Adam,
    You’re misinformed here. Washing machines are very popular and you find them even at poor houses. Dryers are not common, although you can find washing machine/dryers at stores.

  2. Adam,

    I would like to add to Fabio’s comments that dryers are indeed very common and essential in some parts of Brazil due to the humid and colder climate, places like Sao Paulo and all of the Southern states, people who live in apartments in big cities need dryers too if they live in an area of dense concentration of buildings and not enought air movement.
    But it would be correct to say that most Brazilians don’t need dryers due to the warmer, dryer weather.


  3. Well, that’s quite strange. I’m Brazilian and I lived in the country for 27 years and I never met anyone who didn’t have or use a washing machine. The reason that you might never have seen one in any apartment is because usually when people move they take *everything* with them: fridge, washing machine, etc. They are considered your own “furniture”, and not belonging to the apartment (unlike Sweden, were I live). You are always supposed to buy your own or bring yours when moving to a new apartment.

  4. Adam,

    I don’t know where you are going in Brasil but in Minas Gerais and Parana most people use washing machines. The poorer people would use what is called “tanquinho” and richer would use front load with low energy and low water usage…. That said, people here like to use the laundry tank. It is where we wash our sneakers, rags to clean the house and other stuff. I agree with Leonardo above that as the apartments here are bare bones, you have the impression that we don’t use (have) them. But reality is that Washing machines are very very common in Brasil.

    About the clothe lines. They are fantastic! They save energy and you don’t have the risk of your clothes shrinking. I do have a dryer at home but I prefer to use the clothes lines just to be a little green. :)

    • Hi Ana Paula,

      Thanks for your comment. Well, I have been in Rio, SP, Belem, and Brasilia in the last 6 years and only saw a washing machine in one house/apt (out of maybe 15 residences total).

      • I never visited favelas and my experiences did happen (between 2005 and 2011)…so I’m sorry you choose not to believe me.
        Nunca visitei favelas e as minhas experiências aconteceram, sim (entre os anos 2005 e 2011)…escolha sua se quer me acreditar ou não.

  5. hello Adam

    Everybody I know has a washing machine – even poor people. I am from the south and dryer is also VERY common. It is really easy to find at stores and it is available at any city.

    Also in terms of underwear , it is totally normal to wash it with the rest of the clothes. I dont hand wash regular clothes / bikinis / underwear /etc (maybe a special silk shirt but thats an exception)

  6. I am planning to reloctae to Brasil from UK, i ve been told to take my electrical items with me not sure how they will work , but does this mean my washing machine and fridge too????? Help

    • You may have problems with sockets in Brazil, that are different that UK’s. They also changed the form of the sockets recently by law, so that new electronic items all have the same sockets, there were two kinds before, but there are many electric items that have the old kind of sockets… yeah kind of a mess. :)

    • Not only the sockets will be different, but Brazil uses 60 Hz (Europe is 50 Hz) and, depending which city, either 110v or 220v (Europe is 230v).

  7. I believe you are telling the truth about YOUR experience however your experiences are an exception to the rule.
    Even my maid has a washing machine and everybody that I know in Brazil has one.

    you wrote “One way to wash your clothes here is to use a laundry sink with a washboard and wash everything piece by piece.” That is one way to wash your clothes anywhere in the world :)

    • Yes, I wrote “one way…” but that was after other commentors told me that using a washboard here isn’t the primary way. Again, I can find a washboard sink in almost everyone’s home here but in the US, you will likely never see this.

      My series of posts (about differences between Brazil and the US) are things I experience in my daily life here. They aren’t supposed to be 100% true for 100% of the population. “There is no reality, only perception.” I write what I perceive. People have the choice to read it or not.

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