I am blessed with 1) a washer and dryer in my home and 2) a house that is large enough to accommodate a washer and dryer. So please know that I am writing this from the perspective of a person (ie: me) who doesn’t have to use the laundromat very often. Thankfully.
I am admittedly not a huge fan of the laundromat. Honestly, I see it as a hassle and something that disrupts my daily life. And it’s just hard logistically. For those of you who frequent the laundromat on a weekly basis, you have my respect as it’s not easy to manage at times.
If you have a washer and dryer in-house, why would you need to go to the laundromat?
– your washer or dryer is broken
– you are on vacation and must have clean clothes
– every article of clothing your family owns is dirty and you need it washed quickly
In my experience, there are a few things you can do to make the whole experience easier:
- Gather up every article of clothing that could possibly be dirty.
If it is going to be awhile until you are able to wash clothes again, add everything that could even be remotely dirty to the pile. If you are going to go to the trouble of washing at the laundromat, you may as well get it all clean!
- Sort your clothes before going to the laundromat.
This is such a vital step. Laundromats are not necessarily the cleanest places in town, and you don’t want to sort your big piles of clothes on their floor. Bleh. And if you sort at home, it is an enormous time saver. The laundromat process goes so much smoother when you can streamline it as much as possible.
Sort clothes into as many washer loads as it takes and then transport them all separately in trash bags, laundry baskets, or whatever you’ve got available.
- Treat all known clothing stains at home.
By treating stains at home, it gives the stain remover longer to work. Also, you don’t have to lug another bottle with you. Which leads to…
- Ensure you’ve packed all of your detergents, laundry boosters, etc.
The mark-up on those little boxes of Tide in the laundromat are ridiculous. It is so much cheaper to buy laundry detergent on sale and take it with you!
- Change your bills for quarters before you get to the laundromat.
Don’t depend on the laundromat’s change machine to work. Stop at a convenience store on the way – trust me. It is no fun to haul all of the laundry inside the laundromat along with small children, only to find out that the change machine doesn’t work and you must go elsewhere. No fun.
- If you are taking your children, bring plenty of things for them to do.
Sometimes the television at the laundromat can’t be turned off or there are things going on I’d just rather them not see. So I make sure I have an overabundance of interesting things to hold their attention: new stickers, Memory, snacks & drinks, books, baby toys.
- Also if you’re taking children, allow them to help you.
If they are old enough, allow them to put the detergent in the machine, or drop in the quarters, or fold the clothes once they are dry. Again, anything to keep their attention with me and not on…other things.
- Go ahead and dry your clothes there also.
If you are at the laundromat only because your washer is broken, do not make the mistake that I did and bring all of those wet clothes home to dry. It took forever to dry all of those loads of clothes and it was way too hard to physically carry 5 baskets of laundry. Wet laundry. The financial savings was totally not worth it and I’ll never make that mistake again.
Do you battle the laundromat very often? Do you have any tips that make your laundromat experience go smoother? Share them in the comments!
Angie @ Many Little Blessings
The two washers and two dryers in our first apartment were in a really scary area (a very, very secluded basement), so for the first year and a half we were married (until we moved and had a washer & dryer in our apartment), we went to the laundromat once a week. I have such happy memories of doing it. Sometimes I did it by myself when Eric worked nights, but we often did it on a Friday night. We’d get take out and do school work (or just visit) while we did the week’s worth of laundry.
Seems like life was a lot more simple then, even though we had very little extra money and lived in a less than 500 sq ft apartment.
Also when we had to use the laundromat I would always take Lysol and spray the drums before washing/drying – just made me feel better 🙂 – I don’t think you appreciate a washer/dryer in your house until you have done years at a laundromat – I don’t know how I did it with babies – but it was a great memory of a simplier time
I have never used a laundromat. The first apartment we lived in had a washer in the basement, after that we have had our own.
My washing machine broke down about 2 weeks ago, so I have to go to the laundromat with my 5 and 4 year olds today. It’s not fun, but I do get done very quickly. Another time when the machine went out, I was throwing my laundry in the machine and then trying to run errands while they were washing or drying, but I would just be rushing to get back and not really getting anything done. So my advice is to just grab a good book and stay with the laundry.
Ann, I totally agree – it is best just to stay there and try to occupy the little ones and yourself! Laundromat washing machines are usually on a quicker cycle than home washers anyway. So the clothes are washed quickly!
Sorry about your broken machine. 🙁 Hope you find a solution soon!
I used to have to go to the laundromat. I would avoid it as long as possible, waiting until every stitch of clothing was dirty and I had nothing to wear the next day. Then I would sort into multiple categories. I didn’t just have ‘colors’ and ‘whites.’ I had: Blue&Purple, Red&Pink, Black (2 loads), Yellow&Light Colors, Whites, Towels&Socks (bleach added – as many as 3 loads), Bedding, Delicates, and Jeans. (I think that’s it.) I didn’t dry shirts, so when I went to the laundromat up the street I would run home to hang them while everything else was drying. The greatest part of laundry day was that EVERY SINGLE THING was clean!
Rachel, I love that organized approach! And that is a LOT of loads of laundry!
How happy is this mama when every stitch of clothing is clean! 🙂
I VERY RELUCTANTLY went to the laundromat for the first time today (broken washer) the first time in almost 15 years…my how things have changed!! This was a hi-tech place where you cash in for a card, and the place was less than a year old.
I am a sort-of OCD-type/allergy-prone so this was difficult for me….I brought some wipes and hand sanitizer. Everything went OK: I washed things twice in HOT water, reason being it looked like there was too much soap. The second time I washed I used NO soap – still way too many suds and after all was said and done, my laundry smelled like fabric softener – which I don’t use because of alleriges. I left feeling like my clothes were not rinsed properly.
BOTTOM LINE: No matter what kind of soap you bring with you, you end up getting soap and fabric softener from others who used it (residue). NOT GOOD for people with allergies to conventional soaps/fabric softeners……..I hope my washer is fixed this week………
Using a laundromat can be a little inconvenient, but it can also be a big help. You have some good tips here to make sure it is a help. It is a great idea to take every article of clothing you think might be dirty, just to get it all clean, thanks for the advice!
Curious if anyone has any tips on going to laundromat with a 3 month old? I have so much laundry piled up because my guy works all hours and I’m all alone with my baby!
Oh Alanna! Bless you! Normal jobs around the house seem so much more demanding when you have a very little one and are managing mostly alone. Big hugs.
I would just go early in the morning before it’s crowded, bring lots of food for you and the baby (if s/he’s not nursing), and just settle in for the whole morning. It won’t be easy logistically just because there’s only one of you.
But you’ll be so happy when it’s done!!
Best wishes and congratulations on your new little one!