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Rionic

Do chinese wash socks and underwear by hand?

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Rionic

I need an answer from a chinese person because my roommate says he washes them by hand.

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imron

It's quite common in mainland China, and even if they don't wash them by hand, they will usually wash them in a separate wash from other clothes - socks especially.

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Shelley

Yes, I remember a clip of an exchange student who was sharing a home with a family in China and being severely reprimanded for washing socks and underwear in the washing machine and for wanting to use hot water. The mother behaved as the whole machine was now ruined or contaminated and unusable 

 

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889

Problem is, Chinese socks tend to run in the wash.

 

Even non-athletic socks.

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Balthazar

My mother-in-law (from Mainland China) certainly does. Influenced by her (or rather not wanting another 省钱-related argument) I now do so too when we're staying with her and when traveling in general. I've actually become a bit of a fan.

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Zbigniew

It's common, in my experience, and completely pointless unless either the socks/underwear are known not to be colour-fast or it saves you from using the washing machine to wash an uneconomically small load. Even then there's a solution that only a few of the Chinese I know have cottoned on to: just have more pairs of socks in your wardrobe, so that by the time you're running out of clean socks there are quite a few other clothes you need to wash as well. The handwashing habit seems to be perpetuated by the fact that Chinese people sometimes have relatively few smalls to their name though they may be quite content to have twenty or more pairs of shoes (an example from real life). The argument from hygiene (i.e. socks and underwear are too dirty and need to be kept separate from other clothes) is also redundant unless you have very poor toilet training, a medical condition, and/or only wash your smalls at unconscionably long intervals.

 

It looks like it's a cousin of the habit many older Chinese people still seem to have of strapping up suitcases when they're travelling. Suitcases everywhere in the dim and distant past probably had a habit of not staying shut in transit, but the standard locks and fixings on modern suitcases are generally very reliable and don't need any additional strapping. I've managed to cure several Chinese people of strapping up their suitcases by explaining that the strapping actually increases the risk of the suitcase getting hooked up on things and damaged when it's being shunted around on airport conveyor belts etc. The explanation alone didn't cure them, but one of them finding when they went to retrieve their suitcase at the arrivals carousel that their suitcase's strapping had been torn off in transit and taken part of the handle with it did.

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imron
17 hours ago, 889 said:

Problem is, Chinese socks tend to run in the wash.

That may well be, but that's never been the reason I've heard. I've always been told it's a hygiene thing.

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edelweis
14 hours ago, Zbigniew said:

The explanation alone didn't cure them

 

Some infections (like candida albicans) may be asymptomatic and/or benign for some people, while they get really troublesome for other people.

I guess some people will be cured very quickly of washing their clothing in cold water together with other people's underwear, while other people will never be cured...

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Shelley

@imron I thought 889 was pulling our leg, with or without socks on :mrgreen::P

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889

Of course socks won't run if the colors are fast.

 

(All this prompted by the "Difficult English" thread.)

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Zbigniew
8 hours ago, imron said:

I've always been told it's a hygiene thing.

Yes, that's the reason I've always been given. Oddly, the people I know tell me that not putting their smalls in with the general wash is to preserve their smalls from contamination by other items, not the other way round.

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Flickserve

Straps on suitcases helps identify the suitcase if you have similar colour scheme suitcases around.

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889

Yes, and that toothpaste-and-brush set in every Chinese hotel room useless for brushing your teeth is very handy for polishing up the buttons on your blazer.

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imron
12 hours ago, Flickserve said:

Straps on suitcases helps identify the suitcase if you have similar colour scheme suitcases around.

A coloured ribbon around the handle achieves the same effect but without risking your bag being caught on machinery.

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Flickserve
1 hour ago, imron said:

coloured ribbon around the handle achieves the same effect but without risking your bag being caught on machinery.

 

A strap is more obvious 

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DavyJonesLocker

I wouldn't say it's common. I asked this from my 40 students in a class. They are around 30,to 40, years old. No one washed by hand but most washed separately as Imron said for hygiene reasons so as not to ruin their delicates. Maybe older generations wash by hand. Dunno

 

I have never separated anything ever in a wash. Can't see the problem really :mrgreen:

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Shelley

I think it might stem from the fact that for some reason hot water is not used in the washing machine so if you put your socks and undies in the wash all you do is spread all those "germs" around.

 

Maybe your students use hot water so don't feel this is a problem. It might be an interesting question to ask @DavyJonesLocker. Do they use hot water?

 

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