This story was one of NZ Herald Lifestyle's top stories for 2021
A woman in the United States has asked the internet to "please explain" why Australians hang clothes out to dry – only to be met with some classic responses in return.
US TikTok star @mirandaknows posted a video revealing her surprise at learning Australians don't just throw washing in the dryer.
"Here in America when we do our laundry days we put everything in the washer and then take it out and put it in the dryer. And then within 20-30 minutes everything is dry and you just put it away in the closets and stuff," she said.
"In Australia almost every single influencer I see that does laundry day takes it from the washer and then hangs it up throughout their house on these drying racks."
Miranda questioned whether it was because clothes dryers were "not a thing" for environmental reasons.
"Is it like a pollution thing or something? Please let me know if you're like living in Australia and you don't own a dryer, is there a reason for that?" she said.
"I just don't understand."
Her video attracted thousands of comments, mostly from Australians who were baffled that Americans didn't air dry their clothes.
"OMG what? America doesn't hang their clothes on the clothes line … I thought everybody did," one person wrote.
"The real question should be why do Americans use a dryer when the sun and wind is free?" another comment read.
Another person said they hung their clothes to dry as it's "free if you use the sun and it's better for the planet", while another said it was "cos we ain't lazy".
"The sun is the dryer mate. It's free and won't make ya clothes shrink," one person wrote.
"We have dryers, we just like the environment," another Aussie clarified.
In a follow-up video Miranda explained that "some Americans" do use a clothes line but "it's not really common unless you're living in like a rural area".
She said that she used her dryer and washing machine "one to two times a day" and it "doesn't really make a difference" to her electricity bill.
Why don't Americans air-dry clothes?
According to a 2010 BBC article the reason most Americans don't have a clothes line is because of rules imposed by community associations.
And Wall Street Journal columnist Michelle Slatalla wrote in 2019 that "Americans have a reputation for being anti clothes line" as she documented her own quest to air dry her clothes in the front yard.
"More often than not, the rules governing associations were put in place by developers and builders when the communities were being built," Community Associations Institute spokesman Frank Rathbun told the BBC.
"In most cases, the decision is based largely on community aesthetics. Developers and builders are trying to sell homes, and I think most would tell you that clothes lines could detract from the overall appearance and kerb appeal of the community, and therefore sales.
"Regardless of the issue, appearance and kerb appeal have a direct impact on property values and the sale of properties. I think it's safe to say that most associations have kept these rules in place for those very reasons."
In response, today more than 19 American states now have rules giving people the right to air dry clothes.
But it's not just the Americans
The issue made headlines in this country too in 2019 when residents at Hobsonville Point in West Auckland complained about other residents air-drying their clothes.
The Hobsonville Point Residents Society said at the time that complaints were frequent about washing being hung out to dry on lines rigged up outside people's homes in the planned community.
"It looks so messy and is not a good look for people to see when they drive or walk along our streets," one complaint read.
The rules for the society - which all homeowners must be a member of - state that residents should ensure their washing lines are "as much as practicable are not visible from a street, right of way or pathway".
The committee suggests residents make the most of sunny days and hang their washing outside - and out of sight - or use a dryer.