One of the selling points of our studio was that it came furnished with a washing machine – a rare thing in Europe! We don’t have a dryer so we hang clothes on the bathroom radiator or in the windows. And for the big stuff, like bedding, we walk down the street to the laundromat.
At first glance it’s a cute little thing –
But then you open it and the inside gives you pause –
I spun the cage around until I found a latch, pressed it and viola –
I checked the studio for an instruction manual. All the knobs were labeled in French and nothing was translating off the top of my head. I was hesitant to jump right in in case I ended up flooding the whole house or breaking the thing. After no luck finding a manual, I checked online. Nothing was explicitly helpful, although I did find a Youtube video of a woman explaining how to use her French washer. She said it took her three go’s to realize she should put clothes INSIDE the cage, so she really instilled a lot of confidence in my own abilities. It also inspired me to write this post, so that someone else new to using European washers could have a reference.
I threw the load of laundry in – as with most washers, don’t pack it full, but especially these little washers. I poured my liquid detergent in on top of that.
I closed the cage, the lid, and then paused again at the knobs –
Alright, I knew which one was the temperate knob! If you are trying to calculate Celsius to Farenheit, take the Celsius number, multiply it by 2, and then add 30. This will give you a rough approximation. I usually use the “froid” setting (cold) or anywhere between 50 C – 60 C (hot). “Essorage” turned out to be the spin cycle knob. It was left on the highest level, which is where I decided to leave it too. I didn’t even mess with the small buttons seen pictured to the right.
The last knob I turned was the one pictured above. I decided most of my clothes would be fine on a normal “programme” (cycle), so I moved it to 3 and I pressed “marche” (start).
I held my breath for a few seconds and then I heard the machine filling with water. Woo! I hung around for a few minutes to make sure nothing disastrous happened, but everything seemed ok. One thing to note is that the machine will run for 5 seconds, then stop for 10 seconds, then repeat itself like that until the spin cycle. Because of this, laundry takes FOREVER. Now, I start a load and then go about my day. I recommend sitting in Jardin des Plantes with booze and a book 😉