Men can do everything – except wash clothes, according to an international study carried out by household appliance firm Bauknecht.
In around 80 per cent of households it is women who take care of the laundry, says Bauknecht Switzerland, which hopes to redress the balance by teaching men how to wash.
The company, a subsidiary of the Whirlpool Corporation, is organising courses to show men how they can transform a mountain of dirty washing into a wardrobe full of neatly laundered clothes.
Participants will learn to separate their whites from their coloureds and their delicates from their synthetics. And to avoid shrinkage by washing everything at the right temperature.
The course assumes no prior knowledge, but Bauknecht Switzerland's communication manager, Barbara Haas, denies that it is patronising to men.
"For us women it's almost inconceivable that washing can cause such problems," Haas told swissinfo.
"But the main problem men have is not normally in operating the washing machine but in sorting out the dirty laundry. The course will give them support in various areas: separating different fabrics, care symbols, detergents, types of washing machine and different wash programmes."
Out to impress
Haas said the idea came from Germany, where similar courses met with a good response. The company hopes Swiss men will respond as enthusiastically.
Asked why previously undomesticated men should suddenly decide to embark on a washing course, Haas said there were various reasons.
"There are older men who have decided to learn after years of having their washing done for them by their mother, wife or girlfriend. And young men leaving their parents' home who are suddenly faced with the need to do their own laundry.
"Then there are those men who want to impress the other sex," Haas noted.
The one-and-a-half-hour course contains both theoretical and practical components. After receiving instruction in the art of washing, participants will be given a laundry basket filled with jeans, wool jumpers, silk shirts and lace bras and other items of clothing which they have to sort correctly.
A group discussion then takes place on what wash programme is appropriate for each bundle.
Finally a written test checks who's been paying attention. Students who manage to get no more than one wrong answer are rewarded with a certificate.
Although there is a serious point to the course, it's intended to be fun, said Haas. After all the work there's a male bonding session with drinks and a chance to win a washing machine.
Women are not excluded, but Haas is clear that the courses are not designed as singles' nights.
"The course is for men and taught by men," she said. "Women can attend, but only as 'guests'."
swissinfo, Morven McLean
Bauknecht AG is running washing courses for men in October and November at its centres in Lenzburg, Bern and Dietlikon.
The courses, lasting 90 minutes, combine practice and theory.
Similar courses have met with great success in Germany, according to the company.