AE 470 – Expression: Air Your Dirty Laundry

Learn Australian English in today’s expression episode of the Aussie English Podcast where I teach you to use AIR YOUR DIRTY LAUNDRY like a native.

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AE 470 – Expression: Air Your Dirty Laundry

So, Nic, very impressive van. You’ve got some washing machines and some dryers in there. What’s it all about?

What we’re trying to do is improve the hygiene standards of the homeless. So, every day this van goes out on the streets of Brisbane and we’ve got two washing machines and two dryers in the van, and we simply wash and dry clothes for free. But we talk about our service being much more. We talk about our service being a catalyst for conversation. So, our van, as you can see, it takes a little bit of time to do the washing and drying, and through that time we’re able to have really awesome chats.


G’day, guys, and welcome to this episode of Aussie English. This is Aussie English, the Aussie English Podcast, the number one podcast for anyone and everyone or wanting to learn Australian English. But if you try to improve your English in general too, this is also the podcast for you.

So, today’s intro scene. Today’s intro scene was a little clip from a video from Totally Wild’s YouTube channel, and this was an interview with a charity called Orange Sky Laundry, which we’re going to talk about in today’s Aussie fact. A link will be in the transcript if you’d like to check out Totally Wild’s YouTube channel and you want to check out the rest of this video.

But Totally Wild there was this really cool kids’ TV show that I used to watch as a kid. I’d get up early. I think it was on weekends or maybe after school on TV, and I used to watch this, and there was a chick called Ranger Stacey who was a wildlife ranger, and she would always have animals and be at zoos and around Australia teaching people about animals. And this is probably part of why I am such an avid fan of animals today. So, Ranger Stacey, if you’re listening, big thanks.

Anyway, guys, the Aussie English Podcast is brought to you by the Aussie English Classroom. This is the online membership site that I have, guys, with courses in there, all the bonus content for these expression episodes and the Australian interview episodes. You get videos about the different expressions I use within these episodes, different vocab, videos about pronunciation, and at the moment I’m expanding the Australian Pronunciation Course in the Aussie English Classroom.

So, if you would like to improve your Australian English or your English in general and get from intermediate to advanced, then I definitely recommend getting in there and giving it a go, guys. It’s just one dollar for your first month while you get used to it, and you can join us in the private Facebook group for members. At the moment, there’s a lot of engagement. People are posting videos, they’re taking part in the weekly challenges, they’re voting on these expressions. So, we’re all having a lot of fun, and these guys are levelling up their English really quick. So, I’d love to see you in there.

Anyway guys, as usual, let’s start with a joke, and in fact, I have two jokes for you today. So, today’s expression was about laundry and that’s why I thought of talking about Orange Sky Laundry, but I also found some jokes related to laundry. Okay. You know, I want to keep the theme consistent.

So, the first joke is: What happened to the leopard that fell into the washing machine? What happened to the leopard that fell into the washing machine? He came out spotless. He came out spotless. Do you get it?

So, a leopard is a large cat. I think these guys are from Africa, right? You got jaguars in South America, leopards in Africa. They’re covered in spots. And if something is ‘spotless’, it’s very clean, right? The idea being that there are no dirty spots on that, usually, piece of laundry. So, what happened to the leopard that fell into the washing machine? He came out spotless.

There was a second joke that was equally as funny as the first one here that was similar, except instead of a leopard, it was about a wolf.

What happens if a wolf falls into a washing machine? What happens to a wolf, you know a wolf, the dogs from Europe and from America, a wolf. He becomes a wash and wearwolf. Get it? He becomes a wash and a wearwolf.

So, obviously, when you wash your clothes you wash them and then you can wear them. And if it’s a wolf that falls in, he becomes a wash and wearwolf. ‘Were’ as in the play on words here to ‘wear’ clothing. But ‘were’ is also used in the word ‘werewolf’, which means… it’s that… it’s when… what is this? Like, a folk lore, folk legend, about a man who gets bitten by a wolf and when there’s a full moon, he turns into a werewolf. That’s a werewolf.

Anyway, I hope you like those jokes, guys. I love puns. I love puns.

Anyway, today’s expression is ‘to air your dirty laundry’, ‘to air your dirty laundry’. I wonder if you guys have heard this expression before, ‘to air your dirty laundry’. This one came from Kel who suggested this in the Aussie English Classroom. Well done Kel.

So, let’s go through and define the different words in the expression ‘to air your dirty laundry’. So, ‘to air something’, ‘to air something air’. ‘Air’ as in, *inhaling*, the stuff that I just inhaled. That’s air. But we can use the verb ‘to air’ to mean to make a room fresher, right? If you allow fresh air to go into a room to a building or house by leaving a window or a door open, you’re airing the house, you’re airing a room.

But in this case, it is in the sense of airing something publicly, which is when you express something publicly like information, opinions, or a secret. You air it publicly. You allow people to know.

The word ‘dirty’. I’m sure you guys have heard the word ‘dirty’. If you’re dirty, you’re covered in dirt, meaning you’re not clean. You’re covered in dirt. So, if you’ve worn some clothes today, by the end of the day, the clothes are dirty, and you need to put them in the washing machine to wash them. So, dirty clothes.

And when they’re ready to go into the washing machine or once they’ve been washed and dried in the washing machine, they are now ‘laundry’. So, that’s what we used the word ‘laundry’ for. This is clothes or sheets, anything that needs to be washed and cleaned in a washing machine that is then dried and usually worn or used on bedding. That is ‘laundry’.

So, let’s go through the expression of what it means, guys. So, if you air your dirty laundry, this is the idea of talking about things, usually a problem or a dispute or some kind of secret, that should be kept secret, or that you would have preferred to have kept secret, but instead you’re making it public, you’re telling other people about it. So, it’s to tell something scandalous or unflattering about yourself, to reveal things about your private life that people usually don’t want to share about their private lives. So, that is to air your dirty laundry. To talk about something private that’s usually a little bit scandalous or unflattering, something embarrassing.

Now this expression was very similar to a recent expression that we did, Episode 454: To Have a Skeleton in Your Closet. So, ‘to have a skeleton in your closet’, remember this means to have a secret that you don’t want other people to know about, something that would be potentially damaging to your reputation if people found out about it. So, obviously if you have a skeleton in your closet, you’ve got a secret you don’t want people to know, and if you air your dirty laundry, that is that you have now shown people or you have now said publicly, you’ve shown publicly, the skeleton that was in your closet, as in your secrets.

So, as usual guys let’s go through some examples. Three examples here of situations where you might hear the expression ‘to air your dirty laundry’.

Alright. So, example number one. Someone’s having an affair, okay? So, they’re cheating on their partner, their boyfriend, their girlfriend, their husband, their wife. They’re cheating on that person, so they have found another person with whom they are having some kind of relationship, whether they’re having sex or they’re emotionally involved with this person, that is having an affair. So, if that is occurring, that’s a skeleton in their closet, in that they don’t want people to know about that secret. But maybe one day, you know, if you’re imagining that this is you who is having the affair, maybe one day a friend finds out that you’re having an affair. Maybe they see you drive off to this person’s house and they see you get together and kiss, and they’re like, “That’s not your wife! That’s not your husband! What are you doing?”. So, they find out about this and they say, “If you don’t tell everyone about this, or at least, if you don’t tell your wife or your husband, your partner, about this shameful and scandalous secret, then I’ll tell them for you.”. So, in this case they want you to air your dirty laundry. They might say you, “You need to air your dirty laundry to your partner. You need to reveal this shameful, unflattering personal secret. You need to make it public or at least tell your wife or husband about this thing. You need to tell your wife or husband about this fact that you’ve been cheating on them and having this affair with someone else. You need to air your dirty laundry. You need to come clean. You need to reveal the skeleton in your closet.”.

So, example number two. In this example, imagine you are part of a sports team. So, the Tour de France is on at the moment. Imagine you are a cyclist cycling around France, the Alps, in the Tour de France. So, you’re on a team, but you’re clean, you don’t do drugs, you’ve never done any blood doping, and you find out, though, that the rest of the team does. If you’re appalled by this fact, you’re ashamed about this fact, you consider this fact very scandalous, and you know, you think it’s a… something that shouldn’t be done, if you think that the team needs to come clean, you think that the team needs to air their dirty laundry. They need to be open and honest about the fact that they’re cheating, they’re breaking the rules, they’re not playing by the rules. They’re blood doping or they’re doing some kind of drugs like steroids. So, they have this big secret, they have this skeleton in their closet, and you think the fact that they’re doing these illicit drugs or blood doping is something they shouldn’t be doing. They need to come clean. They need to air their dirty laundry.

Example number three. So, imagine you are the leader of a nation whether it’s Trump or Putin or Turnbull, you know, all these different nation leaders. Imagine you’re the leader of a nation and you’re at the UN council meeting and you’re being accused by another country or another nation of some horrific war crime, some crimes against humanity. So, maybe it’s genocide or, you know, something like that, where you’ve… maybe bombed your own people, you’ve done something horrible. If you come clean and tell the truth about what’s happened, about these atrocities, that they’ve occurred, you’ve said you’re going to do something about it, you’re airing the country’s dirty laundry. You’re exposing or revealing this secret, this skeleton in the country’s closet. You’re airing the country’s dirty laundry.

So, hopefully guys, you want to send the expression now ‘to air your dirty laundry’, meaning to talk about things, usually a problem or a dispute, something scandalous or unflattering, that would otherwise have been kept secret and you’re allowing other people to know. ‘To air your dirty laundry’.

As usual, let’s go through a little listen and repeat exercise, guys. This is where you guys get to practice your English pronunciation. So, if you’re trying to work on your accent and sound a little bit more Australian, just try and copy me exactly, mimic me and how I pronounce these words. If you’re not trying to get an Australian accent, say it in your accent, but say these words after me. Let’s go.


To air

to air your

to air your dirty

to air your dirty laundry x 5

I’m airing my dirty laundry

You’re airing your dirty laundry

He’s airing his dirty laundry

She’s airing her dirty laundry

We’re airing our dirty laundry

They’re airing their dirty laundry

It’s airing its dirty laundry

Good job, guys. Good job. Now, I was saying that with connected speech, aspects of connected speech that are relatively Australian. I was using a Linking R in there. I was doing a few other things. But I will go over that in depth in today’s video that you will get access to if you’re in the Aussie English Classroom. Remember, to sign up and give that a go, guys. It’s just one dollar for your first month. Get into it. Anyway, let’s get into the Aussie fact before we finish up for the day, guys.

So, today’s Aussie fact I wanted to talk about this or some charity in Australia called Orange Sky Laundry. Now, I heard about these guys a few years back when they won that Young Australian of the Year. So, we have these awards every year, Australian of the Year, I think we have Elderly Australian of the Year or… and the Young Australian of the Year. There’s a few different classes. But these guys won that category. So, that was really awesome.

Why I think they were so cool, and they were obviously relevant to today’s episode, is because they are a charity that cleans the laundry of homeless people for free.

So, this is a story of two 20-year-old guys, Lucas and Nic, and they started the world’s first mobile laundry service for the homeless. They finished high school and they decided, “You know what? I really want to do something. I want to make a change in this world!”, and they decided helping the homeless would be something they could do by creating this free laundry-washing service.

So, Lucas and Nic were only 20 years old when they first came up with this idea, and they were chatting over breakfast one morning on the Gold Coast when they came up with the awesome idea to wash the laundry of homeless people for free.

They launched Orange Sky Laundry in 2014, so only four years ago. And since, they’ve made a massive impact. So, today only three or four years later after they began, the charity operates 21 different mobile vans that service 149 different locations in Australia with over 1,400 dedicated volunteers Australia-wide.

So, their vans wash around seven tons of clothing and bedding linen for the homeless every week across Australia. And besides just washing and drying their clothes, a big part of what they believe in their… the ethos of Orange Sky Laundry is spending time with the homeless, engaging the homeless, connecting with the homeless by talking to them and getting to know them and hearing their stories.

So, that’s why I thought these guys were really awesome and were worth mentioning here in this episode, guys. It costs about six dollars for every wash and dry that they do for one person, so if you guys would like to support them you can check them out at, and you can make a donation that is tax-deductible if you would like.

So, anyway guys, I hope you enjoy this episode, I hope you’re having an amazing weekend, and I will chat to you soon. Peace out.

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