Persil Automatic: the failed washing machine experience from the 1980s

THIS post is dedicated to the men who struggle to understand the workings of a washing machine – men who don’t realise how their dirty clothes gets washed and end up neatly folded…

He wants to look his best, but he’s stressed. The green shirt he left on the floor, can’t be worn outside the front door.

He shouts to his mum for help – “Wear the white one” she says and leaves him in distress.

The green shirt is his desire, but there’s no one else to enquire. Where is the washing machine? The search is underway… no, that’s the oven… and that’s the dishwasher, but third time lucky it’s the elusive washing machine!

The detergent drawer he opens, but what to put in? In his hands, a big box of Persil Automatic. Whilst reading what to do, he tilts the box too, a trail of washing powder, all over the floor!

He yells out “Ohh mum!” Mission impossible, featuring Persil, Mum & Son, is almost done.

Green shirt a non-starter, so white shirt it is, striding down the street, looking rather neat.

Instructions for anyone going through a similar scenario as described above:

  1. Separate colours. It’s not a good idea to put dark and light colours together into the washing machine.
  2. Open the door of the machine. There’s usually a latch attached to the door – if not, look for an open door button on the control panel. Can’t open the door? Leave the pile of dirty laundry by the machine, walk away, forget about it and hope someone else sorts your washing out.
  3. If you’ve managed to open the door, load the clothes inside. Make sure you check pockets for snot-soaked tissues, screwed-up banknotes or that important receipt.
  4. Locate the detergent* drawer and pour some detergent into the middle compartment. Don’t be too heavy handed with the detergent as this will cause excessive swarm of bubbles during the wash cycle.
  5. To keep things simple, select a temperature of 30 degrees centigrade.
  6. Press start.

*detergent means washing powder

Well done if you’ve mastered the six steps above. Next time we’ll cover the more complex subjects like water hardness, temperature settings and the use of fabric conditioner.

Persil Automatic is featured in the fun and factual retro hardback book, Section N Underpass – a celebration of popular consumer brands, entertainment and leisure from the 70s and 80s. Get the rundown here (click the front cover below be transported to the Underpass)

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