How To Use A Japanese Washing Machine

How To Use A Japanese Washing Machine

Japan is full of wonderful, high-tech gadgets and appliances, but when it comes to getting laundry done, sometimes you just want something functional that can deliver.

While this guide to using a Japanese washing machine won’t make laundry day any more fun, it will certainly make things easier for you.

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Basic Functions

Washing Machine Functions

Washing Machine Modes

標準 |ひょうじゅんこーす| hyoujin |standard course

Most of your laundry can be taken care of with this course.

スピード |すぴーど | supi-do | speedy course

Not just for when you in a rush, this mode is also useful for smaller loads. You may also see スピーディー | すぴーでぃ | supi-dei)

ドライ| どらい | dry (cleaning) course

Often mistaken for drying clothes, the “dry” course is actually the “dry cleaner” mode that is best for delicates. Be sure to apply stain remover (if necessary) and use fabric softner (柔軟剤 | じゅうなんざい | juunanzai) before washing clothes.

毛布 |もうふ | moufu | Blanket course

If you have a futon, you’ll rely on this course to get your bedding clean.

洗濯槽洗浄 せんたくそう せんじょう| sentakusou senjou | Drum cleaning course

This function is great for cleaning the drum and inside of your machine.

乾燥 かんそう | kansou | Dryer course

Depending on your model, the dryer course may not get your clothes completely dry.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Are ready to get a new washing machine or even go all put it with a washer dryer combo? You’ll need to get rid of your current unit, first.

Due to Japan’s regulations on garbage disposal, your washing machine simply can’t be thrown away.

Large items are called sodai gomi (粗大ゴミ | そだいごみ) and can be thrown away — for a fee. Contact your municipal office for details and to schedule pick up. Tokyo residents (excluding Mitaka, Musashino, Nishi Tokyo, Nerima Ward, Setagaya Ward, Meguro Ward, Shinagawa Ward) can schedule pickup via the Tokyo Environmental Public Services website (link available in Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean).

As an alternative, try listing your washing machine on a sayonara sale or a Facebook group help out another family.

How To Choose The Right Washing Machine

Select your washing machine based on the number of people in your household multiplied by 1.5 (On average, a person creates 1.5 kg of laundry a day). For example, if there are four people in your household, you’d want to start your search with models that have a capacity of at least 6 kg. However, if you tend to do your laundry on the weekend, or need to wash sheets and blankets, you may want to opt for an 8 kg capacity model.

Recommended Models


Panasonic (パナソニック) NA-FA100H5 — 94,704 yen — Available on Amazon Japan

This model from Panasonic boasts an easy-to-read control panel;  you can even adjust the size of the large digital display. Its speedy mode completes one load in just 20 minutes. This washing machine also goes into self-cleaning mode after every load





Hitachi (日立) Beat Wash BW-V100B– 80,000 yen — Available on Amazon Japan

Available in 4 stylish colors, this model by Hitachi is called Beat Wash. It spins up to 1,000 revolutions per minute ensuring that all dirt, grime, and traces of laundry detergent are removed from your clothes




Toshiba (東芝)  AW-10SD6 — 86,700 yen — Available on Amazon Japan

This washing machine from Toshiba has a maximum capacity of 10 kg. The wood paneling design is a sleek addition to any laundry room or bathroom. It has a noise reduction feature, so consider this model if you are little ones or pets who frighten easily.



If you begin to find build up of mold and spores we recommend purchasing the Ariel drum cleaner. Fill the washer with hot water, pour in a bag and stir for a few minutes, then let it sit overnight. Drain, run an empty wash and you`re good to go. It`s a non-chlorine powder so safe to use.

Amazon Japan: Three 180g bags 868 JPY

How To Use A Japanese Washing Machine

Please see our top-rated posts on Japanese products and how-to guides:

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How to Use a Japanese Electronic Toilet – Features & Function Guide

How to Use a Japanese Washing Machine 

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How To Use A Japanese Washing Machine


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  1. What about front load machines? Why don’t they use them?

    • Hi Keiko, front load machines are also used in Japan, but they are typically more expensive than top-loaders. . -Sandra

  2. This is very helpful, thank you. Now to figure out where to add bleach…

    • Hi Tara, take a look inside your washer drum. There should be an opening near the rim to pour in liquid bleach labeled 漂白剤杸入口. -Sandra

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