Life Abroad

Laundry

One of the most difficult part of life in Japan is finding the right laundry detergent and making sure it doesn’t contain anything that will ruin your clothes.

Here you can find a list of the most popular laundry detergents in Japan, with descriptions in English and notices about whether they contain bleach or other brighteners. You can also learn about Japanese washing machines and dryers, and other laundry supplies.

If you don’t have a washing machine, you can check out our tutorial on using Japanese laundromats. Select a category from the left or scroll through to see the whole section.

Laundry detergent Bleach Machines and Supplies Laundromats How to use your washing machine
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Laundry Detergent


Liquid Detergent


ariel_liquid

Ariel Ion Power Gel Science Plus

Anti-microbial laundry bio-detergent (containing enzymes for stain removal). Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics. Does not contain bleach. This detergent also helps prevent mold from developing inside your washing machine. Refills available.




Super Nanox

Super Nanox

Highly concentrated laundry detergent made for removing tough stains, yellowing, and smells. Due to the high concentration of this detergent, you only need to use a small amount even for a large load. Be sure to follow the lines on the inside of the cup so that you don’t use too much detergent. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics. Does not contain bleach.




acron

Acron Liquid Laundry Detergent

This gentle liquid detergent helps retain colour, remove pilling, restore over-stretched collars and cuffs, and remove and prevent wrinkles. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics. Does not contain bleach.




bold_liquid

Bold Liquid Laundry Detergent

Scented laundry detergent with fabric softener. Comes in 2 scents: Platinum Pure Clean and Platinum Floral & Soap. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics. Does not contain bleach.




bold_liquid

Oshare-Gi

This gentle liquid detergent helps restore over-stretched collars and cuffs, and remove and prevent wrinkles. Ideal for delicate fabrics and hand washing. Safe for use on all machine- and hand-washable fabrics. Can also be used in a washing machine. Does not contain bleach. Berry & Flower scent.




attack_liquid

Attack Penetrating Bio-Gel

Extra-strength laundry detergent for getting out tough stains and odours. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics. 2 rinses recommended. Contains Eucalyptus. Contains optical brighteners to make whites look whiter. Does not contain bleach. Herbal Green scent.




attack_supercleargel

Attack Super Clear Gel

Extra-strength antibacterial detergent kills most odour-causing bacteria from dead skin, sweat, and oil. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics. 2 rinses recommended. Can also be used to clean the inside of your washing machine. Clean Green scent. Contains optical brighteners to make whites look whiter. Safe for use on fabric of all colours. Does not contain bleach.




attack_strongdeo_liquid

Attack Strong Deodorizer

Extra-strength deodorizing laundry detergent that removes urine odours (from bedding and clothing of children and adults experiencing incontinence) and other strong odours and stains. Also removes yellow stains. 2 rinses recommended. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics. Can also be used to wash the inside of your washing machine. Contains optical brighteners to make whites look whiter. Safe for use on fabric of all colours. Does not contain bleach.




top_liquid

Top Clear

Deodorizing laundry detergent that removes sweat, oil, and dirt. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics. Does not contain bleach. Does not contain optical brighteners. Aqua Floral scent.




Gel Ball Detergent


ariel_gel_blue
ariel_gel_blue_refill

Ariel Power Gel Ball

Anti-microbial laundry bio-detergent (containing enzymes for stain removal) in a pre-measured, easy-to-use gel ball. Simply put one gel ball in the bottom of your washing machine, load it, and start as usual. Safe to use in top- and front-loading washing machines. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics.

Does not contain bleach. This detergent also helps prevent mold from developing inside your washing machine. The gel pouch containing detergent is water-soluble, so do not handle the gel balls with wet hands. Refills available.




ariel_gel_green
ariel_gel_green_refill

Ariel Living Dry Gel Ball

Anti-microbial laundry bio-detergent (containing enzymes for stain removal) in a pre-measured, easy-to-use gel ball. This detergent is formulated to prevent clothing from becoming sour on days when they must be dried inside due to rain or high humidity. Simply put one gel ball in the bottom of your washing machine, load it, and start as usual. Safe to use in top- and front-loading washing machines. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics.

Does not contain bleach. This detergent also helps prevent mold from developing inside your washing machine. The gel pouch containing detergent is water-soluble, so do not handle the gel balls with wet hands. Refills available.




bold_blue_gel
bold_pink_gel

Bold Gel Ball

Scented laundry detergent with fabric softener in a pre-measured, easy-to-use gel ball. Simply put one gel ball in the bottom of your washing machine, load it, and start as usual. Safe to use in top- and front-loading washing machines. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics.

Does not contain bleach. The gel pouch containing detergent is water-soluble, so do not handle the gel balls with wet hands. Refills available. Comes in two scents: Platinum White Leaf (blue) and Platinum Blossom & Peony (pink).



Powder Detergent



ariel_powder

Ariel Science Plus (powder detergent)

Anti-microbial powder laundry detergent. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics. Does not contain bleach.
This detergent also helps prevent mold from developing inside your washing machine. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics.




attack_bioex_powder

Attack Bio Ex

Extra-strength powder laundry detergent for getting out tough stains and odours. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics. 2 rinses recommended. Floral Soap scent.
Contains optical brighteners to make whites look whiter. Safe for use on fabric of all colours. Does not contain bleach.




attack_resetpower

Attack Reset Power

Extra-strength antibacterial powder detergent kills most odour-causing bacteria from dead skin, sweat, and oil. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics. 2 rinses recommended. Can also be used to clean the inside of your washing machine. Fresh Floral scent. Contains chlorine bleach.




attack_strongdeo

Attack Strong Deodorizer (powder)

Extra-strength deodorizing powder detergent and fabric softener that removes urine odours (from bedding and clothing of children and adults experiencing incontinence) and other strong odours and stains.

Also removes yellow stains. 2 rinses recommended. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics. Can also be used to wash the inside of your washing machine. Contains chlorine bleach.




top_platinumclear

Top Platinum Clear

Powder laundry detergent that gets stubborn yellow stains out of shirt collars and underarms. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics. Contains optical brighteners to make whites look whiter. Contains chlorine bleach.




top_roomdry_powder

Top Room Dry

Antibacterial powder laundry detergent that prevents clothing from becoming sour when drying inside during rainy days or high humidity. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics. Contains optical brighteners to make whites look whiter. Does not contain bleach.




fragrance_newbeads

Fragrance New Beads

Powder detergent with fabric softener that removes odour from dead skin, sweat, and oil. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics. 2 rinses recommended. Can also be used to clean the inside of your washing machine. Fresh Floral scent. Does not contain optical brighteners. Does not contain bleach.




fragrance_white_beads

Fragrance White and Scent Beads

Powder detergent that helps keep whites bright. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics. 2 rinses recommended. Does not contain optical brighteners. Contains chlorine bleach.




dia_powder

Blue Diamond

Powder detergent that removes tough stains and odours from skin oil and dirt. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics. Contains non-chlorine bleach (oxygen bleach) and is safe for use on all colours of fabric. Does not contain chlorine bleach. Clear Mint scent.



Bleach


wide_bleach

Wide Haiter Ex Power

Concentrated non-chlorine bleach (oxygen bleach) that brightens whites and helps remove stubborn odours. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics of all colours. Does not contain chlorine bleach.



blight_bleach

Bright W

Concentrated non-chlorine bleach (oxygen bleach) that brightens whites and helps remove stubborn odours. Safe for use on all machine-washable fabrics. Does not contain chlorine bleach.

- While oxygen bleach can typically be used on fabrics of all colours, this company does not provide that information. This product is intended to be used on whites, so use on coloured fabrics at your own risk.




fighter_bleach

Haiter Bleach

Chlorine bleach to whiten stained or yellowed white fabric. Will kill bacteria on fabric and in your washing machine. Do not use this product on coloured fabrics as it can cause discolouration.

If un-diluted bleach has contact with fabric, rinse immediately to prevent the bleach from eating a hole in your fabric.

WARNINGS: Use gloves when handling this product. Avoid contact with skin. If contact occurs, immediately rinse thoroughly with water. Do not ingest. If ingestion occurs, drink a full glass of water or milk (200ml or 8oz) and dial 119. Do not mix with any other chemicals, especially ammonia, or any products containing ammonia.

This will result in a highly toxic cloud of chlorine gas. If mixing occurs, vacate the area and dial 119. When disposing of the liquid after consulting emergency services, ventilate the area thoroughly before disposing, wearing gloves to avoid contact with the mixture.




Machines and Supplies


nikko_hanger_square

Hangers

When hanging your laundry up inside or outside to dry, it is common to use a variety of hangers to make drying easier and more convenient. The most common types of hangers are mobiles with a number of clothespins attached, connected sets of regular clothes hangers, and separate regular clothes hangers. Laundry hangers can be purchased at any home goods store, most grocery stores, and 100 yen shops.




machine
panasonic_dryer

Washing Machines

Washing machines come in two basic types: top-loading and front-loading. In recent years, front-loading washers have become more popular, but they are typically more expensive than top-loaders.
Japanese top-loading washing machines, however, either have a very short agitator or a low-profile agitator on the bottom of the drum, so they function similarly to a front-loading washing machine.
Washing machines can be purchased at any electronics store, some home goods stores, and resale shops.




toshiba_dryer

Clothes Dryers

Electric clothes dryers are uncommon in Japan due to the cost of electricity to run them. Some washing machines have a dryer function, but are not common. Other washing machines have an Air Fluff option, but is only useful for very lightweight fabrics. If you have space and don’t mind the cost and little selection, however, clothes dryers can be purchased wherever washing machines are sold (typically electronics stores).




Laundromats



Laundromats in Japan

coin_laundry_place

Laundromats are common in Japan. Sometimes people go to laundromats to wash bedding instead of going to a dry cleaner, or use them to do regular laundry in the rainy season because it is hard to dry laundry outside due to the humidity.

People who suffer from Hay Fever in the Spring and Summer use laundromats to keep pollen from sticking to their clothing.

Below is an explanation of how to use the machines in a laundromat. Though every laundromat’s machines are different, they are all used mostly the same way.


1. Types of machines at a laundromat

- Washing machine
The washing machines are quite big, so you can wash large loads. Some machines also have a hot water setting.

washing

- Dryers
Most dryers take only 30 minutes for a full dry cycle.


dryer

- Washer & Dryer Combo Machines
These machines wash and dry in the same machine, making it more convenient to do laundry.

washing_dryer

- Sneaker washers
Some laundromats have special washing machines to wash sneakers and other cloth shoes. A shoe dryer is usually above the washing machine. Simply put your shoes on the metal inserts and start the machine.

sneaker_sample

2. What do you need to bring?

detergent_warning
detergent_huyou

You need these three things.
-Coins (usually 100 yen coins and 500 yen coins are accepted. Not every laundromat has a change machine. Some places have a pre-paid card system.)
-Your laundry
-Baskets or bags to put your laundry in.

Question: Do you need laundry detergent and fabric softener?

Answer: Most laundromats use machines that automatically dispense detergent and softener. (Older laundromats, and perhaps laundromats in the countryside, require you to bring your own detergent.)

Japanese Romaji Function
洗剤不要
(せんざいふよう)
Senzai fuyou You don’t need laundry detergent
洗剤は、自動投入されます
(せんざいは、じどうとうにゅうされます)/td>
Senzai wa, jidou tounyuu saremasu Detergent is automatically dispensed inside the machine.

3. How much does it cost and how much can you put in?

- The cost is determined by the weight of the load and how long you wash it. Most machines have a capacity lines drawn on the outside or inside of the drum, or sometimes on the door. Some machines have only a maximum capacity line.

Washing machines operate most efficiently when filled up to and below the top line, so filling over the line is not advised.
Usually the pricing scale is displayed on the machine. This will be explained in next section.

line

4. How long should I wash it?

-The length and cost of the wash is determined by the weight of the load.
This information is usually written on the front of the washer. (For example, a 22kg load could be 30 minutes long at ¥1,100). The maximum capacity load (up to the line on the drum) will be the heaviest and most expensive.
You can see the amount (kg) mins (分) and price 円(yen) 洗濯:wash 標準:normal cycle 少量:Small load

price_table

5. How to use machines at a laundromat.

A. How to use washing machines (wash only)

洗濯機(せんたくき sentakuki:washing machine)

washing_only
Japanese Romaji English Cost(for machine shown)
準備
(じゅんび)
junbi Prep: put laundry in and close the door firmly N/A
コースを選択してください
(こーすをせんたくしてください)
koosu wo sentaku shite kudasai Choose cycle N/A
標準
(ひょうじゅん)
hyoujun Regular/Normal load 22kg 30min ¥1,100
少量
(しょうりょう)
shouryou Small load 15kg 30min ¥1,900
料金を投入してください
(りょうきんをとうにゅうしてください)
ryoukin wo tounyuu shite kudasai Please insert coins N/A
You can see the lines on the door that say 標準コース (Regular/Normal load) & 少量コース (Small load).

- If you have a small amount of laundry to do, fill the drum up to or below the bottom line.
- If you have a larger amount of laundry, fill the drum up to or below the top line.

Some machines have these lines written outside or inside the drum, so make sure to locate the lines for the machine you’re using to make sure it runs properly. After putting your laundry inside the machine, close the door, and insert the correct amount of money for your load size.
*Some machines will start automatically when money is inserted; others require you to push the Start (スタート) button.

course_line



B. How to use a dryer

dryer_only

Put your clean, wet laundry inside the drum and close the door. Make sure your laundry does not go over the maximum capacity line on the drum or door, and make sure the door is secure. The dryer will start automatically after the coins are inserted. After you insert your money, the cycle timer will count down the remaining minutes. The image below is an example of a cycle timer.

Japanese Romaji English
準備
(じゅんび)
Junbi Prep
料金投入
(りょうきんとうにゅう)
Ryoukin wo tounyuu Insert coins
残り時間
(のこりじかん)
Nokori jikan Time left till finish
coins



C. How to use washer dryer combo machines

- Make sure the machine is empty and put in your laundry. Some machines have a button to wash the drum for a few minutes for free (in case you’re concerned about the cleanliness of the drum. Please note, not all machines have this function.)
- Press the button (押) of the cycle you want to run.
- Once you insert your coins, this will initiate the washing cycle you chose, so if you want to clean the drum, make sure you push the drum wash button BEFORE you put your money in.
- You can use the chart below to help you navigate the cycle types on these machines.


combo
Japanese Romaji English
洗濯乾燥機
(せんたくかんそうき)
Sentaku kansouki Washer & Dryer Combo
準備
(じゅんび)
Junbi Prep (put laundry in and close door)
コースを選択してください
(こーすをせんたくしてください)
Koosu wo sentaku shite kudasai Choose cycle
洗濯と乾燥
(せんたくとかんそう)
Sentaku to kansou Wash and Dry
洗濯のみ
(せんたくのみ)
Sentaku nomi Wash only
乾燥のみ
(かんそうのみ)
Kansou nomi Dry only
料金を投入してください
(りょうきんをとうにゅうしてください)
Ryoukin wo tounyuu shite kudasai Please insert coins

When using the Dryer Only function of a Washer/Dryer Combo machine

-Item categories and average drying time
Item categories Average drying time
Lightweight items 20~30 mins
Heavyweight items (like jeans and jackets) 40~50 mins
Single (Twin bed size) blanket 30~40 mins
Double bed size blanket 40~50 mins
Kotatsu blanket 40~50 mins
Note
- For washer dryer combo machines: You can choose wash only, dry only, and wash and dry.)
- For separate washers and dryers: (You don’t have to choose anything, just put in the amount of money for the cycle you want.)
- When the machine is loaded, insert your coins and press the start button. (Some machines start working as soon as you insert coins without pressing the start button.)
- The timer will begin counting down to finish.
- Detergent and water will automatically dispense into the drum.

D. Washing machine for sneakers and other cloth shoes

 
sneaker
sneaker_inside
sneaker_notice
 

* Capacity: 2 pairs of adult size shoes OR 4 pairs of kids’ size shoes

Japanese Romaji English
洗濯機
(せんたくき)
sentakuki Laundry
1.料金を投入
(りょうきんをとうにゅう)
Ryoukin wo tounyuu Insert coins
2.選択脱水層を洗います
(せんたくだっすいそうをあらいます)
Sentaku dassuisou wo araimasu Drum cleaning (press the shower button)
3.スニーカを入れます
(すにーかーをいれます)
Suniika wo iremasu Tightly tie the laces of each shoe and put the shoes in the washer
4.上ぶたを閉めます
(うわぶたをしめます)
Uwabuta wo shimemasu Close the lid and the machine will start (wash cycle lasts 20 min)

* Item categories and average drying time

Japanese English Average Time
ジョギングシューズ Jogging shoes 20 mins
バスケットシューズ Basketball shoes 40 mins
テニスシューズ Tennis shoes 40 mins
子供用シューズ Kids shoes 20 mins

6. After washing and drying.

When your laundry is done, you can use a provided laundry cart or your own basket to move your laundry to a table. Some people fold their clothes on the tables and go home. If you do not want to pay to dry your clothes, you can take your wet clothes home and dry them outside.

Other amenities at the laundromat

Change machine

changer

Table and Rolling basket/laundry cart

cart

Usage chart. Please refer to the note below.

warning

Note:
Please check the usage chart to see what items can and cannot be washed at your laundromat.
Items that may be washed are marked with 〇.
Items that may not be washed are marked with ×.
Items marked with △ may be washed providing they meet the stipulated criteria on the usage chart.

Japanese Romaji Function
洗濯
(せんたく)
sentaku laundry
乾燥
(かんそう)
kansou dry
毛布
(もうふ)
moufu blanket
布団
(ふとん)
futon futon
アクリル akuriru acrylic
コタツ布団
(こたつぶとん)
kotatsu Buton blanket for kotatsu
羽毛
(うもう)
umou down (goose down, etc.)
綿
(めん)
men cotton
羊毛
(ようもう)
youmou wool

(まくら)
makura pillow
カーテン kaaten curtains
カーペット kaapetto carpet
座布団
(ざぶとん)
zabuton cushion
ぬいぐるみ nuigurumi stuffed toys
衣類
(いるい)
irui clothing
ダウンジャケット daun jaketto down jacket
ウール
(うーる)
uuru Wool
シルク/ 絹
(きぬ)
shiruku/ kinu Silk
肌着
(はだぎ)
hadagi long underwear / innerwear
下着
(したぎ)
shitagi underwear, panties
洗濯ネット
(せんたくねっと)
sentaku netto laundry bag (for washing delicate items)

How to use your washing machine



1. Push 入(On) on the right to turn on. To turn off you can push 切 (Off )

switch
Japanese Romaji Function
電源
(でんげん)
dengen Power

(いり)
iri On

(きり)
kiri off
スタート sutaato Start
一時停止
(いちじていし)
ichijiteishi Pause

2. You can choose the cycle by pushing Course (コース) until the desired cycle is lit up.

The default setting is a Standard (標準) cycle. To customize your load, press each the Wash (洗い), Rinse (すすぎ), and Spin (脱水) buttons to the desired wash length, number of rinses, and length of spin, respectively.

course
Japanese Romaji Function
標準
(いちじていし)
hyojun Standard
つけおき tsukeoki Soak
スピーディー supiidi Quick Wash
メモリー memori Save a custom setting
毛布
(もうふ)
moufu Blanket
予約
(よやく)
yoyaku Auto Wash Timer (set number of hours to load finish)
洗い
(あらい)
arai Wash
すすぎ脱水
(すすぎだっすい)
susugi Rinse
脱水
(だっすい)
dassui Spin
風乾燥
(かんそうき)
kazekansou Air Fluff
コース koosu Course/Cycle

3. Press Start (スタート).

Most washing machines will weigh the contents of the drum by spinning it a few times, and then automatically dispense the appropriate amount of water. If you disagree with the machine’s calibration, you can change the water level by pressing the Water Level (水位) button until the desired Liter amount is lit. Then, put in the appropriate amount of soap for the amount of water your machine will use, and close the lid. If you need to stop the machine for any reason, press the Pause (一時停止) button. This will stop the machine and unlock the lid.

water_level
Japanese Romaji Function
ふろ水
(ふろみず)
furomizu Bath water
水位
(すいい)
suii Water level
水流
(すいりゅう)
suiryuu Washing strength

(じゃく)
jaku Gentle

(きょう)
kyou Strong

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