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Japanese For Washing Machines And Dryers

japanese for washing machine and dryers (1)

Confused with all the kanji on your Japanese washing machine and dryer? Here’s a cheat sheet with Japanese for washing machines and dryers so nobody else has to help you with your dirty laundry!

Nom after which country you are in or what you are doing, one thing you’ll always have to do is laundry! 

Laundry is not my favorite thing to do so I know how annoying the whole process can be especially if you don’t understand what buttons to press to get the washing machine or the dryer going! 

Well, if you’re planning to travel or move to Japan for a while, you’ve got to learn some basic kanji to understand which buttons to press! 

Related: Here’s a crash course on how to use a Japanese washing machine. Check it out!

You can choose to have a separate washing machine and dryer or have a two in one thing going on. This guide to Japanese for washing machines and dryers so you can master these appliances without breaking a sweat!

Japanese for Washing Machines and Dryers

Here’s a cheat sheet with Japanese for washing machines and dryers for quick reference:

Washing Machine Settings 

Laundry Products

JapaneseRōmajiEnglish translation
洗剤senzaiDetergent
柔軟剤nyūnanzaiFabric softener
柔軟剤配合nyūnanzai haigōLaundry detergent containing fabric softener
漂白剤hyōhaku-zaiBleach

Related: Here’s a crash course in Japanese home and kitchen!

Washing Modes

JapaneseRomajiEnglish translation
電源dengenPower
iriOn
kiriOff
洗濯/洗いsentaku/araiWash
すすぎsusugiRinse
排水haisuiDrain
脱水dassuiSpin dry
つけおきtsukeokiSoak
送風乾燥soufuukansouDrying
すすぎ1回susugi ikkaiOne rinse cycle
予約yoyakuTimer
残り(約)分nokori (yaku) bunTime remaining (approx.) min.
行程kouteiCycle
スタートsutaatoStart
一時停止ichiji teishiPause
一時停止ichijiteishiStop
洗濯コースsentaku kōsuWashing course
ふたロックfutarokkuCover lock
チャイルドロックchairudorokkuChild lock
標準hyōjunStandard
わが家流wagaya-ryūPersonalized settings
お急ぎoisogiFast/Speed Wash
毛布mōfuHeavy (blankets/linen)
手洗い/念入りtearai/nen iriGentle wash (can be used for delicates)
洗濯のみsentaku nomiWash only
乾燥のみkansō nomiDry only
洗・乾切替arai・inui kirikaeSwitching between washing/drying
香りしっかりkaori shikkariFragrance saver
槽カビ予防ukekabiyobouWashing basin mold prevention
槽洗浄ukesenjyouWashing basin cleaning
水量suiryouWater volume

Related: Here are some basic Japanese words to use to have easy conversation!

Water

JapaneseRōmajiEnglish
冷水reisuiCold water
温水onsuiWarm water
水量suiryōWater volume
水位suiiWater level
給水kyūsuiWater supply

Dryers and Washers

JapaneseRōmajiEnglish
乾燥kansōDry
洗濯~乾燥連続運転sentaku ~ kansō renzoku untenContinuous wash to dry operation
ソフト温風sofuto onpūSoft warm air
高温kōonHot/High temperature
室内干しshitsunaiboshiIndoor drying / Hanging clothes inside
送風sōfūCool air
控えめhikaemeLow temperature/Controlled drying

Drying Clothes in Japan

Drying clothes has a whole set of rules in Japan. In an upscale apartment, you are permitted to dry your clothes on cloth lines strung from end your end. 

But then again, there are apartments that will only allow you to dry your clothes on racks where the neighbours can’t see. It is a kind of etiquette to follow.

For homes that don’t permit outside drying, they will be provided with another alternative to dry their clothes. 

Luxury homes and smaller apartments come with a community dryer and washer for the building residents or each home is fitted with one. 

If it’s not, you can rent a dryer (considering how expensive it can be) from the Tokyo Lease Corporation or its counterparts. 

These people assist especially those who are expats in the country. Arrangements to sell the dryer can also be made if you decide to buy the dryer.

After the reproachful few comments about Japan’s lack of technology when it comes to washing machines and dryers, there is actually one thing that I found convenient about some Japanese homes.

Considering the limited space that Japan homes have, installing a dryer seemed like an obstruction. 

So, Japanese bathrooms have a ventilation system within the bathrooms that has multiple settings, allowing you to leave washed clothes on the hander to dry for a few hours.

The vent has a road that can even accommodate a light drying rack to make more space for even more clothes.

Japanese Laundry Products

First things first, we’ll begin our guide to Japanese for washing machines and dryers it laundry products! To get your clothes all nice and clean make sure you have the appropriate detergents to make that happen. 

You can easily find them on Amazon Japan like this Attack zero detergent.

laundry products in japanese

But it can be especially confusing considering how the language on the bottles and jars of the detergent is in Japanese. It can be hard to decipher what you’re buying at the supermarket.

JapaneseRōmajiEnglish translation
洗剤senzaiDetergent
柔軟剤nyūnanzaiFabric softener
柔軟剤配合nyūnanzai haigōLaundry detergent containing fabric softener
漂白剤hyōhaku-zaiBleach

Operating a Japanese Washing Machine

Next, on this guide to Japanese for washing machines and dryers we’ll talk about the settings on the washing machine.

The second step in the process of laundering clothes will involve figuring out how to use the complex washing machines of the Japanese. In reality, they are like any other washing machine. 

The challenge only arises when you see that all the buttons and instructions are in Japanese with no English translations. This is where this guide comes in handy. Below, you’ll find some of the most basic words and terms found on the top panel of your washing machine. 

If you’re having  a hard time even after seeing this table, I have a few alternative solutions for you to use:

1. Try to think of it as a pictorial game and remember the signs. 

2. Bring along a Japanese friend with you who would explain everything to you. 

3. Make waterproof labels in English and paste them on your machine.

4. Or better yet, carry this article on your phone in your pocket and keep using it as a reference.

JapaneseRomajiEnglish translation
電源dengenPower
iriOn
kiriOff
洗濯/洗いsentaku/araiWash
すすぎsusugiRinse
排水haisuiDrain
脱水dassuiSpin dry
つけおきtsukeokiSoak
送風乾燥soufuukansouDrying
すすぎ1回susugi ikkaiOne rinse cycle
予約yoyakuTimer
残り(約)分nokori (yaku) bunTime remaining (approx.) min.
行程kouteiCycle
スタートsutaatoStart
一時停止ichiji teishiPause
一時停止ichijiteishiStop
洗濯コースsentaku kōsuWashing course
ふたロックfutarokkuCover lock
チャイルドロックchairudorokkuChild lock
標準hyōjunStandard
わが家流wagaya-ryūPersonalized settings
お急ぎoisogiFast/Speed Wash
毛布mōfuHeavy (blankets/linen)
手洗い/念入りtearai/nen iriGentle wash (can be used for delicates)
洗濯のみsentaku nomiWash only
乾燥のみkansō nomiDry only
洗・乾切替arai・inui kirikaeSwitching between washing/drying
香りしっかりkaori shikkariFragrance saver
槽カビ予防ukekabiyobouWashing basin mold prevention
槽洗浄ukesenjyouWashing basin cleaning
水量suiryouWater volume

Settings on the Japanese Dryer:

JapaneseRōmajiEnglish
乾燥kansōDry
洗濯~乾燥連続運転sentaku ~ kansō renzoku untenContinuous wash to dry operation
ソフト温風sofuto onpūSoft warm air
高温kōonHot/High temperature
室内干しshitsunaiboshiIndoor drying / Hanging clothes inside
送風sōfūCool air
控えめhikaemeLow temperature/Controlled drying

I’m just going to explain some of the less self-explanatory buttons that can be seen on the  washing machines and dryers in Japan.

  1. Speed wash: Enables a quick washing mode.
  2. Automatic: For those who prefer not to bother themselves with customized settings. Perfect for regular everyday wear clothes that don’t need much attention.
  3. Delicate/Gentle wash: Has smaller rotations to prevent garments from snagging and prevents friction that causes wear and tears among delicate garments.
  4. One rinse cycle: A regular wash cycle uses two rinse cycles to get the detergent thoroughly off of the clothes. This selection would limit it to one.
  5. Fragrance saver: Indication on the machine that it is time for you to add the fabric softener to your laundry load. The indication will be in the form of noise.
  6. Blankets: This setting will involve the usage of more water. Additionally, it will take more time also. The blanket setting can be used for other large items like rugs so that they can be fully washed. The basin ensures that the huge items of clothing/draping don’t get entangled.
  7. Soak: A setting that lets the laundry load sit in detergent mixed water for a bit for tough stains and grime to get off.
  8. Washing basin cleaning: There is a lot of washing machine brand approved detergents that can be put in the detergent drawer for the cleaning of the machine from time to time.
  9. Washing basin mold prevention: Japan is a humid country so it is susceptible to mold in damp areas. For that reason, this setting, with the right detergent, makes the machine self-cleaning. This should be done on regular intervals.
  10. Ventilation Drying: Some delicate clothes can be damaged by dryers, But for those people who have no other option but to put it in the dryer, this system allows slow drying.


I know that the list is a bit too extensive, and not all machines have these settings but we want to leave no doors closed for you. In fact, there are typically two different types of machines commonly seen in Japanese homes. 

Front-loading and Top Loading Japanese Washing Machines

This guide to Japanese for washing machines and dryers will be incomplete if I don’t give you a refresher course on the type of washing machine for you to choose from!

Most of the washing machines seen across Japan are top loading. Front loading machines are a bit hard to find but they exist. Naturally, top loading machines are cheaper than the front loading washing machines. 

There is one off-putting thing about top loading machines, though. They wrinkle clothes easily and also consume more water in a single cycle.

Here is some more insight into the water settings on a Japanese machine:

JapaneseRōmajiEnglish
冷水reisuiCold water
温水onsuiWarm water
水量suiryōWater volume
水位suiiWater level
給水kyūsuiWater supply

Dry Cleaning in Japan

The Japanese have their own dry cleaning needs too. 

There are a plethora of dry cleaners in Japan, one possibly on every street, but often you’ll find that they might not know English. 

There are hardly any dry cleaners across Japan that cater to its customers in English, except a select few.

Although, the language shouldn’t really be an issue. If your dry cleaner doesn’t know the language, it doesn’t change the simplicity of the process. 

Just know how much it costs you to dry clean the particular garment. 

A simple suit shirt, commonly known as a Y-shirt in Japan will cost you anywhere between  ¥250 and ¥500. 

But then again, the costs depend on the quality of the dry cleaning and the location as well.

Coin Laundry in Japan

I think I can speak for everyone when I say coin laundry is the least preferred method of doing laundry. 

But sometimes, it’s inevitable and you just have to use it. Especially during the monsoon season where you have no place to dry your clothes.

Coin laundry also comes in handy when you have to wash your futons or rugs. 

Some laundromats these days have specific machines just for sneakers. Regardless, using these machines is quite inexpensive. 

For  ¥200 to ¥400 you can run your clothes in the machine for 40 minutes at room temperature water. 

Additionally, ¥100 will let you use the dryer for about 10-15 minutes. Point to be noted: Japanese dryers are not powerful and may require more time than you are used to.

Well there you have it! All the Japanese you need to know to run a Japanese washing machine or Japanese dryer in Japan!

I hope this guide to Japanese for washing machines and dryers was helpful. I’m going to know an extra mile and link out a PDF of the cheat sheets for you here. Click here to download or print the PDF cheat sheets of Japanese for washing machines and dryers. 

What is the Japanese word for washing machine?

The Japanese word for washing machine is Sentakki (洗濯機)

Where to put detergent in Japanese washing machine?

For top loading Japanese washing machine, add the laundry detergent directly on top of clothes. 

How to clean Japanese washing machine?

Japanese washing machines are cleaned using Sentaku Sou Kabi Kiraa or Washing machine tub cleaner. Turn on your washing machine. Pour the washing machine tub cleaner in your washing machine.  Select the highest level of water. And select the standard course. And hit start. The washing tub cleaner will clean your washing machine. The washing machine will stop automatically when the course is over. 

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