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The One With The East German Laundry Detergent

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The One With The East German Laundry Detergent
Season 1, episode 5
5th overall episode of Friends
Rachel and Ross do their laundry together.
Episode Information

October 20, 1994

Written by

Jeff Greenstein & Jeff Strauss

Directed by

Pamela Fryman

Episode Guide

The One With George Stephanopoulos


The One With The Butt


"The One With The East German Laundry Detergent" is the fifth episode of the first season of Friends, which aired on October 20, 1994.


Chandler wants to break up with Janice, but he is reluctant to because of the awkwardness. Phoebe offers to break up with her boyfriend Tony at the same time to make it easier.

Rachel is in a bad mood because her father has offered to give her a Mercedes if she goes home to Long Island, and is ignoring the fact that she is independent now.

An ex-girlfriend of Joey's, Angela, comes into the coffeehouse, and Joey is instantly attracted to her again despite being the one who broke up with her, so he decides to go over and talk to her. However, she tells him that she is now dating a guy called Bob. In an effort to go on a date with her, Joey suggests that they go on a double-date, her with Bob, and him with his 'girlfriend' Monica.

Rachel plans to do laundry that evening, and Ross, eager to spend time with her, pretends that the laundromat in his building is rat-infested so that he can join her. Luckily for him, Monica won't be going to the laundromat because of her 'date' with Joey. Chandler points out to him that he and Rachel are practically going on a date, so he advises him to not take his underwear to the laundromat because he doesn't want it to be dirty the first time Rachel sees it.

Joey tells Monica that Bob is Angela's brother, and that she will be the one on a date with him. At the restaurant, she discovers that Joey has never met Bob, and starts to panic about it being a completely blind date. However, when Angela and Bob arrive, she finds him "horribly attractive", so she begins to enjoy herself.

Meanwhile, at Central Perk, Chandler waits for Janice and Tony to arrive and is increasingly anxious. Phoebe, however, is calm and composed as ever and remarks on how it is nice that they are doing something together. When he sees Janice, his anxiety turns to guilt, and things go from bad to worse when Janice tells him that her day has been "supremely awful". While Janice rambles on, Chandler watches Phoebe break up with Tony on good terms, saying goodbye to him with a hug, and cannot believe his eyes.

At the laundromat, Rachel feels optimistic, until a rude, nasty woman (The Horrible Woman) moves the laundry basket reserving Rachel's washing machine and begins to load her own washing into it. Her excuse for doing this is, "I don't see suds! No suds, no save, okay?". Rachel is bewildered and upset about this, and so Ross stands up to the woman and helps Rachel get the machine back. He then teaches Rachel how to do laundry, as she is a "laundry virgin", and her doing it for the first time is meant to signify her newfound independence.

Meanwhile, Monica is left confused when Bob and Angela tell her that they grew up in different places. Joey quickly changes the subject to prevent them from finding out his plan, then tries to subtly put Bob off Angela by mentioning the strange noise she makes when she eats. He then tries to get Bob interested in Monica by claiming that she is too much for him in bed. In the restroom, Monica's confusion increases when Angela tells her how good Bob is in bed.

Back at the coffeehouse, Chandler attempts to dump Janice, but he is drinking too many espressos so he cannot get the words out. When he eventually manages to blurt it out, Janice is on the verge of crying.

Rachel tells Ross that if she can do her own laundry, there is nothing that she can't do. The pair of them are getting along great, but Rachel's mood plummets when they discover that a red sock got caught up in her white laundry and has turned everything pink. She feels like a failure, her clothes are ruined and the horrible woman reappears to laugh at her.

At the restaurant, Angela is cozying up to Bob and has her hand inside his shirt and is making Monica uncomfortable. She realizes that they are not brother and sister and decides to leave, until Joey convinces her to stay and help him break Angela and Bob up.

An over-energized Chandler is continuing his mission to break up with Janice, but he accidentally flails his hand outwards and hits Janice in the eye. Phoebe tries to calm him down, but she realizes that he can't break up with Janice, so she goes over and does it for him. Janice leaves Central Perk, but not before smiling and waving at Chandler.

At the laundromat, the horrible woman steals Ross and Rachel's cart, but Rachel finally stands up to her and, feeling victorious, kisses Ross. In shock, he bangs his head on the door of a washing machine and falls over.

The closing credits feature Phoebe admiring Rachel's "idea" of dying all her clothes pink and making everything match. Monica and Joey return, triumphant because they successfully broke up Bob and Angela. Rachel asks where Chandler is, and Phoebe responds that he needed time to grieve, before looking out of the window to see Chandler running up and down the street yelling, "I'm free!"

Cast and CrewEdit

Main CastEdit

Jennifer Aniston - Rachel Green
Courteney Cox - Monica Geller
Lisa Kudrow - Phoebe Buffay
Matt LeBlanc - Joey Tribbiani
Matthew Perry - Chandler Bing
David Schwimmer - Ross Geller

Supporting CastEdit

Camille Saviola - The Horrible Woman
Kim Gillingham - Angela
Jack Armstrong - Bob
Maggie Wheeler - Janice


Directed By:
Pamela Fryman

Written By:
Jeff Greenstein & Jeff Strauss



  • This is the first on-screen kiss of Ross and Rachel in the series.
  • This is the first appearance of Janice in the show.
  • Ross's detergent Überweiss is German for "above white" (Though nonsensical, über is often mistakenly believed to mean "super", likely leading to the reason for the name).
  • The executive producer credits are moved to the end of the opening sequence, with the creator credits preceding them.
  • First on screen appearance of Joey and Chandler's girlfriends - Joey's ex Angela and Janice.


  • A sign in the laundromat reads "lost cloths" not "lost clothes", though a surprising number of laundromats have the same spelling error.
    • Although it's possible that they actually do mean cloths and it is not a spelling error, assuming that people wash more than just their clothes.
  • Rachel tells Ross that she can't even send back soup, but she sends back a drink in "The One With The Flashback" (S3E6), which chronologically was a year earlier. However, Rachel's personality changed drastically since then - she used to be very outgoing and extremely snobby and girly, but when she came to New York, she became more down-to-earth and shy.
  • In this episode, Monica says she sees Ugly Naked Guy laying kitchen tiles. However, it is impossible for Monica to see into his kitchen. As we see in Season 5 when Ross gets that apartment, the kitchen is in the upper right of the screen with a door, and in "The One Where Everybody Finds Out " (S5E14), when Phoebe finds out about Chandler and Monica, a straight on shot of the window in that apartment shows it is impossible to see the kitchen.
  • When Rachel yells to the horrible woman and says "You're gonna have to take me with it", Ross is mouthing the line.
  • Monica, confesses to Angela (Joey's ex-girlfriend who he's trying to get back with) in the ladies room, "Wow. My brother never even told me when he lost his virginity." However, in the previous episode, "The One With George Stephanopoulos" Ross clearly says that he told "Everyone" about his first time of being intimate with Carol, which we later find out was his "first time ever" with a woman. Monica, especially remembers this fact and the date (October the 20th). This means that he did tell her about when he lost his virginity.


Horrible Woman: Hey, hey, hey, there aren't any clothes in it!
Rachel: Hey, hey, hey, hey, quit making up rules!

Episode NavigationEdit

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Preceded by
"The One With George Stephanopoulos"
"The One With The East German Laundry Detergent" Followed by
"The One With The Butt"

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