The Way We Dry Our Clothes

Using an electric dryer may be more convenient, but the electricity cost is high and the sun’s rays are free. Most people use bamboo poles to put out their clothes to dry in Singapore.

We also call these multi-coloured poles gala. There used to be a gala man who would come by in this truck and toot his horn. If you needed extra poles or new covers, you could then buy it from him. The plastic cover is made to tighten around the bamboo pole with the application of boiling water which makes it shrink. Anyway that’s what I recall seeing as a child.

They do seems a tad dangerous to me though, and you need to keep a secure grip on them. I’m sorry, but if it were up to me and cost was not a factor, I would chose a dryer. I used a dryer once in Australia and I found it just so convenient.


photo by bookjunkie

photo by bookjunkie

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
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14 Responses to The Way We Dry Our Clothes

  1. notabilia says:

    Many condos don’t allow these poles, so I am stuck using the dryer. The environmentalist in me shudders each time I do.

    • bookjunkie says:

      They can be quite tricky, especially if there is no area within the condo for drying. Putting them out and drawing them back in requires a really strong grip. I guess our old ways are very green….and cheaper too with solar energy.

  2. plumerainbow says:

    Apart from cost, a dryer takes up precious space in an HDB flat.

    The hanging racks shown in your photo is still not too bad – at least there is a frame supporting the other end of the poles. A lot of the older estates do not have the extra frame, which I think is useful and shouldn’t cost a lot for the HDB to install.

    Another point is residents who hang dripping wet clothes and mops with no consideration for people below. But this is no fault of the infrastructure – rather it’s the lack of civility and grace!

    • bookjunkie says:

      oh yes, dirty mops and dripping clothes…part of the lack of social grace. You definitely have a point about the supporting frames. Some of them are hung quite precariously without them.

  3. Crystal says:

    I realize it makes me a crappy environmentalist but I HATE the feel of clothes that have been hung outside. They feel stiff to me. My family used to hang clothes outside during the summer months when I was kid at one of our apartments with a back yard. I never liked the feeling.

    I love a freshly dried item of clothing coming out of the dryer. You use bounce and they smell so great and are so soft.

    I don’t like the dryers here though…they take a ridiculous amount of time, and I feel like they’re not as gentle on the clothing, either.

    The whole “pole out your window” thing scares the crap out of me. Maybe it was the “hiring a maid” video we had to watch from MOM, but I have far too many mental images of trying to put the pole in the socket and falling out of the window. SCARY.

    • bookjunkie says:

      I must agree. When I used an industrial strength dyer in Australia my clothes felt so nice warm and fresh somehow. Not as crumpled as well.

    • bookjunkie says:

      I must agree. When I used an industrial strength dyer in an Australian hotel my clothes felt so nice warm and fresh somehow. Not as crumpled as well.

      From my experience, Singapore dryers suck. I wonder if there are any eco friendly dryers that don’t take forever to get the clothes dry.

  4. kirsten says:

    We have a dryer in my flat but it tends to kind of steam up the kitchen a little, which makes the ceiling paint crack. So we still use the poles as much as possible.

    I do love using the dryer, though, because then it doesn’t matter if it’s raining or not! And it’s a habit I kind of got into while I was living in NZ – my flat in Wellington didn’t have space for us to hang out our clothes.

    • bookjunkie says:

      yeah my friends who studied overseas miss their dryers.

      It’s true especially during the long stretch of rainy days.

      • kirsten says:

        What my mum and I hate most are those “is it raining or not” days when you put out your gala and it rains, then you take it in and it doesn’t rain… over and over and over again.

  5. Aisha says:

    Need your help please!

    Could anyone help me as to where to buy new covers for my laundry bamboo poles here in Singapore? (the one that shrinks when you pour hot water on it) I’ve been searching around but couldn’t find where.

    Your quick responses would be highly appreciated!

    • bookjunkie says:

      I am not too sure, but I am guessing chinatown would be the best bet. And those old style wet markets where they have little shops selling all kinds of nick knacks? Thanks for the question Aisha…this was interesting 🙂

      I will look out for them more intently the next time I’m out of the house.

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