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Out There: Laundry in Italy

Sep
21
2006

I rented an apartment once in Florence whose only real attraction was a dryer. It was an exciting prospect: no more damp racks of clothes for days on end when it was too cold or rainy or foggy to hang them off the balcony to dry.

Drip Dry? Patriotic laundry in Milan.

It was a doll-sized washer/dryer combo, the brand name appropriately “Candy.” The idea was that it would wash the clothes AND dry them. Great. Except that while it could wash the miniscule amount that passes as a normal load of laundry in Europe, it could only dry maybe a third of that.
In the end, it was employed on special occasions to get those last two clammy hand towels slightly crispy. And even then I nervously watched it chug along, wondering whether the Little Dryer that Could, would.
I moved out shortly after making this discovery.
Much to my amusement, two guys in here in Milan recently started mixing weather forecasts with a mathematical formula they crafted to arrive at an online “drying index” for laundry hung out alfresco. The higher the number on a scale of 1-100, the faster your sheets dry.
Before hanging out the togs, you can check at a glance current temperature, cloud cover, a humidity rating and times for sunrise and sunset. Some straightforward advice then follows the numbers: if it looks like rain, the site advises: “If I were you, I’d put my clothes under a roof to dry.”
They also text message it to you for free, great idea for a country where cell phone saturation is among the highest in the world and where weather is taken so seriously that until a few years ago only military meteorologists did TV forecasts.
Both of the inventors are half Italian – one American and one French – and the fact that their mothers both came from countries with dryers helped spur the idea, one of them told me.
The laundry index worked, despite a predicted 50% chance rain when I tried it, it’ll be interesting to see whether it will be reliable enough to leave the togs hanging out when winter creeps in.

Share  Posted by Nicole Martinelli at 8:04 AM | Permalink

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