Monday, 17 February 2014

Why Go to a Laundromat?

Why I Love the Laundromat 

 It’s not that I couldn't afford a washing machine or that I don’t have space at home to install one – I could and I do. So why the heck do I go to all the trouble of taking the laundry to the Laundromat and using coin operated commercial washing machines when I could just do it at home?
Better, Faster, Cheaper at the Laundromat!
Image courtesy of Gregory Szarkiewicz /

Well, there are lots of reasons – and all of them good enough to have convinced me it’s the best way to get the washing done. Let me explain…

I’ll come clean with you – I don’t enjoy doing the washing. When the day came round and I’d see that over-flowing laundry basket, I used to heave a sigh and hope to find some excuse to put it off. One of the reasons is that it used to take so long. But that was back when I had a washing machine at home. Now that I use the Laundromat I begin to eye the wash basket with secret longing and leap out of bed excitedly on washing day full of joy and anticipation. Okay, I'm exaggerating but I don’t mind washing now.

7 Reasons to Go to the Laundromat

You know, the drums are so small in the domestic models– even the larger domestic models – when compared to the massive, belly-of-the-whale cavity that a commercial monster-machine offers.

  • So there’s reason number one why I love the Laundromat: washing that used to take all day and back-breaking toil loading and unloading and reloading the washing machine is now all done in one, or maximum two, loads - and it takes just forty minutes. 
    Commercial Washing Machines are bigger.
    Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono /

Another factor for me is that I'm concerned about the impact that we have on our natural environment and I try to live a low impact, low energy, low consumption lifestyle – I grow my own food (well, some of it) and I go to thrift stores. I re-use things rather than throw them away and if I have to get rid of something I like to do my best to make sure it will be recycled. Above all, I try hard to reduce the materials and energy I consume in the first place.

  • Which brings me to the second good reason for using the Laundromat; it is way, way more energy and water efficient than a domestic washer. Studies have shown that a communal self-service laundry uses two thirds less water than washing at home. Two thirds less water wasted. That’s a good reason to love the Laundromat.

And here's reason number three:

  • The large commercial washing machines are also well-maintained, regularly serviced and much more energy efficient because businesses want to be sure they’ll be cheaper to run. So I'm also saving electricity when I use the self-service wash. 
    The laundromat machines are always well-maintained.
    Image courtesy of stockimages /

Because I have to take the laundry to the Laundromat and push those coins into the slot it keeps me conscious of how much it costs and how often I really need to do it. So I do all the washing once a week. Studies have shown that the average household washing machine is switched on and cycling for at least an hour, for two hundred seventy days of the year. Reason number four:

  • So that’s a massive saving I'm making on the electricity costs – even taking into account all those coins chinking into the public machine. And I never get freaked out thinking that a jet plane is suddenly taking off in the kitchen when the thing goes into spin cycle.

Reason number five:

  • I never have a broken washing machine problem and I never have any repair costs. It’s all covered by the Laundromat.

The sixth reason is this:

  • I can still use my own preferred brand of eco-friendly, biodegradable washing powder. Detergents are made from molecules with a water-attracting end and a grease-attracting end. That’s how they work. They get dissolved in the mix and one end grabs up all the dirt, the other hooks onto the water molecules and when you rinse the laundry out, the dirt goes out in the water. But where does the water go?

The truth is that most detergents are made from toxic by-products of the petrochemical industries and while it leaves the washing clean it makes a polluted mess of our rivers and streams and can have a really negative impact on our wildlife.

But there are detergents you can choose made from renewable plant sources and that are fully biodegradable, vanishing away without a trace harmlessly into the natural cycle of life. Ain’t that the better choice?

And finally, reason number seven:

  • Also, I get quite a bit of writing and reading done while I'm at the Laundromat and I always have a friendly chat with anyone else who is down there. So it’s social and productive and cheap and good for the environment and well…

That’s why I love the Laundromat!

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