Saudi Arabia: I, too, Had a Laundry Machine

washer dryer in one

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I thoroughly enjoyed reading a recent post on Nicole’s blog, the Rainbows End, about her laundry machine.  When I first moved to the Kingdom and my spouse and I sublet an apartment, we, too, had a laundry machine.  I had never seen such a small box-like contraption before that was capable of both washing and drying clothes.

In actually, I learned that I had to load relatively small loads and then when it was finished with both washing and “drying,” I generally had to take the clothes out and hang them up in the balcony where they would continue to get thoroughly dry.

These machines may seem like a bargain based on their size and reputation to both wash and dry but in reality, they are not much more than a compact washer.  In addition, as Nicole’s post pointed out, they also require more maintenance than a traditional washing machine in order to ensure that the clothes smell clean and not of wet lint!

I have not figured out why many Saudis seem to prefer these laundry machines over a traditional washer and dryer.  Due to the typical size of most Saudi families, a traditional washer and dryer is much more practical.  Although the laundry machine is cheaper, in the longer run, the best value comes from the traditional washer and dryer.

The laundry machines are widely available from Saaco to Carrefour and other department stores.  Whereas washers and dryers are most commonly purchased from appliance speciality stores.

Most western compounds will come equipped with a traditional washer and dryer therefore an expatriate on a compound will have little to no exposure to the laundry machine.  I know when friends visited me while we were in our apartment, I’d get questions when friends viewed the laundry machine as they were unsure of its exact purpose.

My advice for any expatriate or new Saudi wife arriving to the Kingdom, hold out for the traditional washer and dryer.  It may cost more and take up more space but well worth it in the long run.

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7 Responses

  1. I remember seeing those for sale in the stores, considered getting one for my wife and I.
    When asking people, especially westerners who used both the combo unit and traditional washer and drier separate units, I learned what you said, Carol. The clothing usually comes out damp and needs further drying.
    So, we went with a traditional washer and drier, both high capacity models.
    Rather than putting them into the kitchen area or the utility room, to avoid going up and down the steps, I ran the wire through the conduit myself and set it in the large master bathroom.

    Carol, did your home have a rooftop water tank? If so, did you have a water chiller or did you get hot cold water in the summer?
    That is one of the first lessons to an expat new to the region, if their villa lacks a water chiller, no need for using hot water in the summer.

  2. Our rental apartment and then our permanent home both had a rooftop water tank without a chiller. We learned to take early and fast showers in the mornings before the water would literally be scalding hot!!

    On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 3:58 PM, American Bedu

  3. Ouch! Know that feeling well, though I tend to enjoy water that’s around 104.
    I still remember the shriek of a guest, who didn’t realize that we didn’t have a water chiller at our first villa and she made the mistake of using the bidet…
    Taped a warning sign in the guest powder room after that.

  4. I was always curious about these two in one washer/drier appliances. I had used one on my recent stay in Dubai at a rented apartment…after putting on the dry cycle like 3 times I gave up and hung the clothes to dry. I figured this out the hard way, I just assumed it was broken 🙂 I must second the size issue and it takes forever.

  5. I think Saudis don’t worry about how well a machine works because they are not the ones doing the laundry. They are not so concerned about how the poor domestic help who actually look after getting things clean and dry.

  6. We do have some combination washer/driers in France, but they usually work.

  7. I meant combined

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