Jul 7, 2016

Amazing Antiques ~ Teak / rosewood Laundry bins

I grew up seeing this piece of furniture, called mail daan or laundry basket. They were used in homes in the Tamil Nad, Andhra and other parts of the country.  These smart looking, well designed bins were made of teak or rosewood, and used to store/pile clothes until laundry was done.

The design is quite similar to that of a post box with the exception that the top is a lid with a latch. Soiled clothes were dumped from above and collected from a slot/door below. 
source : local seller

Type of furniture: Laundry Bin
Country of origin: India 
Year/era: most over 100- 60 years old
Wood: rosewood or teak 
Design era: Art deco/mid century style clean lines / colonial with cane or carvings
Dimensions: 3' x 1' x 1' (generally)

Hand washing and line drying clothes are daily rituals in Indian homes. Such bins fill in a single day given that most were joint families with at least two or sometimes three generations living together. 

There is another story of why these bins/basket were very popular - there were times when many families relied on a dhobi (washerman). And the bin came in handy to manage soiled clothes until the washerman came in to collect clothes on the laundry day.  There could be slight variations to the design but the overall look and feel remains same. However, lack of space makes it difficult to have such pieces at home :) nowadays. 

PS: I keep finding them on reselling and craigslist kind of sites. And get so tempted in getting one home


  1. Hi Sudha, Its good to know about this. First time, I came to know such things existed, a wooden laundry bin. WOW!

    1. glad u like the post S. yes they are a unique piece of furniture and so utilitarian

  2. Hi Sudha nice to see wooden laundry bin,still in my mother's house they have this wooden bin,we used to call this bonibutta in Telugu.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Rani. I would love to see a picture if possible :)


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