HouseTalk: Learn Thai Washer and Dryer Phrases

HouseTalk: Learn Thai Washer and Dryer Phrases

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Thai washer and dryer phrases…

The last laundry post focused on mostly useful laundry phrases. It also introduced Thai manners and a few more things such as do not and must.

Amongst the laundry phrases in this post you’ll find the difference between can’t, don’t, and forbidden. And you’ll soon see that the differences are important to know.

Instructions on operating a washer and dryer…

I like keeping life simple. My clothes last longer that way. To simplify the laundry I instructed my new housekeeper to use the B setting (coloureds) for the washer and to push the GO button for the dryer. So she either puts the few things she does wash on those simple settings or the items are hand washed and air dried. Nothing much in between.

There are many more washing machine options reflected in the phrases below. Personally, I’m not in that comfort zone yet. I’m still thinking about a favourite shirt that died under the iron last week and the beige towel turned green the week before. But some things take time and patience. I know.

HouseTalk: Learn Thai Washer and Dryer Phrases


If you want to get fancy you could match the Thai to the English and print them out. And maybe I will. But for now, here are three variations you can use.

This needs (to be) washed on alphabet A (B, C, D…)
นี่ ต้อง ซัก ด้วย ตัว A (B, C, D…)
nêe dtông sák dûay dtua A (B, C, D…)

This one adjust to A (B, C, D…)
อันนี้ ปรับ ไปที่ A (B, C, D…)
an-née bpràp bpai-têe… A (B, C, D…)

Adjust to A (B, C, D…)
ปรับ ไปที่ A (B, C, D…)
bpràp bpai-têe A (B, C, D…)

Avoiding mildew, rot, and wrinkles…

Do you have a problem with laundry left mildewing in your washing machine? Then the following instructions should keep clothes free from rot and unnecessary wrinkles.

Do not leave clothes in the washer or dryer.
อย่า ทิ้ง ผ้า ไว้ ใน เครื่องซัก หรือ เครื่องอบ
yàa tíng pâa wái nai krêuang-sák rĕu krêuang-òp

Wash only what you have time to finish.
ซักผ้า เฉพาะส่วน ที่จะ มี เวลา ทำ จน เสร็จ
sák-pâa chà-pór-sùan têe-jà mee way-laa tam jon sèt

Clothes left in the washing machine might mildew.
ผ้า ซัก แล้ว ทิ้ง ไว้ ใน เครื่อง จะ ขึ้นรา
pâa sák láew tíng wái nai krêuang jà kêun-raa

Do not put too many clothes in the dryer. They will wrinkle.
อย่า ใส่ เสื้อผ้า เยอะ ไป ใน เครื่อง, ผ้า จะ ยับ
yàa sài sêua-pâa yúh bpai nai krêuang, pâa jà yáp

It’s ok to leave the mop top in the dryer.
หัว ม็อบ ทิ้ง ไว้ ใน เครื่องอบ ได้
hŭa móp tíng wái nai krêuang-òp dâi

Keeping your whites white…

Some of you might not mind your laundry changing colours but I do. Especially when a dear friend gifts a beautiful set of cream towels and one shows up a butt ugly army green. Oh yeah. So these instructions should give your clothes a fighting chance.

These clothes fade, must wash (them) separate.
ผ้า นี่ สีตก ต้อง แยก ซัก
pâa nêe sĕe dtòk dtông yâek sák

Do not wash with other clothes.
อย่า ซัก รวม กับ ผ้า อื่น
yàa sák ruam gàp pâa èun

This (is) colourfast.
นี่ สีไม่ตก
nêe sĕe-mâi-dtòk

This (is) not colourfast.
นี่ สีตก
nêe sĕe-dtòk

Pattern: This noun + adjective.
__ (noun) นี่ __ (adjective)

Sample: These pants are not colourfast.
กางเกง นี่ สีตก
gaang-gayng nêe sĕe-dtòk

Noun 3: shirt: เสื้อ /sêua/, pants: กางเกง /gaang-gayng/, dress: ชุด /chút/, evening dress: ชุด ราตรี /chút raa-dtree/, jacket: เสื้อ กันหนาว /sêua gan-năao/, nightgown: ชุดนอน /chút-non/, tablecloth: ผ้าปูโต๊ะ /pâa-bpoo/

Adjective 2: colourfast: สีไม่ตก /sĕe-mâi-dtòk/, not colourfast: สีตก /sĕe-dtòk/

How to use can’t, don’t, and forbidden…

The difference between can’t, don’t, and forbidden is one of degrees. Can’t is the softest, added to the end of a sentence. Don’t and forbidden are stronger and get more emphasis by being placed at the beginning of a sentence.

Can’t, ไม่ได้ /mâi-dâi/ is the gentle version so it’s not necessary to use the polite particles at the end to soften the demand.

Polite particle (f) นะคะ /ná-ká/
Polite particle (m) นะครับ /ná-kráp/

Don’t, อย่า /yàa/, is one step up from can’t so the polite particles come at the end of the sentence to soften the demand.

Use forbidden, ห้าม /hâam/, sparingly. Like, when your housekeeper puts a $200 silk blouse in the washing machine and you’ve replaced the blouse and now want to emphasize that THIS SHIRT is forbidden to machine wash. But even though you are not happy with the situation, you still soften the harsh(er) order by adding a polite particle at the end.

Another way to soften demands/orders is by softening your voice at the end of a phrase instead of using the polite particles (another softener, ให้ หน่อย /hâi nòi/, is explained further down).

Can’t machine wash.
ซัก เครื่อง ไม่ได้
sák krêuang mâi-dâi

Don’t machine wash.
อย่า ซัก เครื่อง นะคะ / นะครับ
yàa sák krêuang ná-ká / ná-kráp

Forbidden (to) machine wash.
ห้าม ซัก เครื่อง นะคะ / นะครับ
hâam sák krêuang ná-ká / ná-kráp

Saving your maid’s time…

I don’t like make-work. As a practical traveler, a number of my clothes are wash and wear. They are either permanent press of some persuasion, or fashionably rumpled. But if left in the dryer they will then need to be ironed = time wasted.

These are permanent press.
พวกนี้ เป็น ผ้า รีดสำเร็จ
pûak-née bpen pâa rêet-săm-rèt

Machine wash on permanent press setting.
ผ้า รีด สำเร็จ นี่ ต้อง ซัก ด้วย เครื่อง
pâa rêet-săm-rèt nêe dtông sák dûay krêuang

Pattern: Machine wash ___ on (alphabet) A (B, C, D…)
___ นี่ ต้อง ซัก ด้วย ตัว A (B, C, D…)
___ nêe dtông sák dûay dtua A (B, C, D…)

Sample: Machine wash pants on A (B, C, D…)
เสื้อ นี่ ต้อง ซัก ด้วย ตัว A (B, C, D…)
sêua nêe dtông sák dûay dtua A (B, C, D…)

Noun 3: fabric: shirt: เสื้อ /sêua/, pants: กางเกง /gaang-gayng/, dress: ชุด /chút/, evening dress: ชุด ราตรี /chút raa-dtree/, jacket: เสื้อ กันหนาว /sêua gan-năao/, nightgown: ชุดนอน /chút-non/, tablecloth: ผ้าปูโต๊ะ /pâa-bpoo/

Take permanent press out of dryer right away and hang up.
เอา ผ้า รีดสำเร็จ ออกจาก เครื่อง อบ ทันที แล้วแขวน
ao pâa rêet-săm-rèt òk-jàak krêuang òp tan-tee láew-kwăen

Hang up permanent press immediately from the dryer…
ผ้า รีดสำเร็จ ต้อง แขวน ทันที หลังจาก เอา ออกจาก เครื่อง อบ
pâa rêet-săm-rèt dtông kwăen tan-tee lăng-jàak ao òk-jàak krêuang òp

… and check for wrinkles.
ระวัง รอย ย่น ด้วย
rá-wang roi yôn dûay

Spot iron if needed.
ถ้า เห็น รอย ย่น ก็ รีด เฉพาะ จุด
tâa hĕn roi yôn gôr rêet chà-pór jùt

Pattern: ___ (verb) only if needed.
___ เฉพาะที่ จำเป็น
___ chà-pór-têe jam-bpen

Vocab: This pattern is a grab bag so choose from the vocabulary below, wait for the HouseTalk series vocabulary post to come out, or crack a Thai dictionary. Possibilities are: wash windows, clean kitty litter, water plants… up to you.

Do not iron permanent press unless needed.
ผ้า รีดสำเร็จ ไม่ จำเป็น ต้อง รีด นอกจาก ที่ จำเป็น
pâa rêet-săm-rèt mâi jam-bpen dtông rêet nôk-jàak têe jam-bpen

Thai vocabulary for all things laundry…

The below downloads include the Thai script, transliteration, and sound files to this post. These two past months have been crazy busy so I’ll add the vocabulary sometime later.

Pdf download 446kb: HouseTalk: Learn Thai Washer and Dryer Phrases
Sound download 2.3mg: Washer and Dryer phrases

Please note: The materials are for your own personal use only.

The Thai HouseTalk series…

Once a month or more I’ll share one of the subject below. One after another. Until they are done. If you have any suggestions (other than speed up the process 😉 please drop me a note in my contact page.

Connecting posts:

A special thanks for this post goes to Thai Skype teacher Khun Narisa. If you want to learn more about patterns please contact Khun Narisa as she’s the queen of Thai patterns!

4 thoughts on “HouseTalk: Learn Thai Washer and Dryer Phrases”

  1. My mom has a new housemaid from Thailand, I’ll show her your post, I think it might come out really helpful! thanks!!

  2. Snap, whenever I rent a flat on vacation I have to go through the same. When I was in Norway recently my wash went through many cycles before I figured their instructions out. They were in Swedish.

    Those phrases don’t come up every time but when you need them, you need them asap. What I really need to do is to create an iPhone app…

    I didn’t have to do laundry with the previous housekeeper but I’m more than ok with the tradeoff. Comparing, my present housekeeper hasn’t been able to get all of the laundry done so I’ve taken that on. Now she just does sheets and the odd last load. But, she does a quality job at what she does do (which is why it takes more time). She’s very good and I’m chuffed to have her. She’s honest, sweet, funny, diligent, etc. And she does the kitty litter. What more can a women ask for?

    Just like in English, in Thai a lot is inferred so as a response I’d use it as is. But if it’s important I’d add the verb (just to cover your bases).

  3. Catherine, I’m so glad that I only have to drop my laundry off. Now that I’ve got the ‘wash, but don’t iron’ down pat, its all good. Of course sometimes items (honestly) get misplaced an I have to revise how to say ‘white shirt, or black pants’ then return to the shop to retrieve them…no problem, I’m just glad I’m not doing the washing myself 🙂

    Washing machines have become so fandangled over the years, I leave instructions on simple settings for our house sitters when we go on holidays…in English 😉

    Could you use เฉพาะที่ จำเป็น (only if needed) as a reply to a question or do you need the verb?


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