If you have your own place or live with your parents, own a washing machine and / or a spin dryer, and have ample space for drying clothes – then you have no problems when it comes to laundry.
However, if you live in an apartment or dormitory—I fully understand if laundry is an issue at times. Fortunately, there are a lot of laundry shops in the metro nowadays that offer washing, drying, and either folding or ironing for your clothes. The wash-dry-press package is typically more expensive than the basic wash-dry-fold package, due to the additional labor required. However, these laundry shops wouldn’t help if you need clothes on the same day. There is still a waiting time of about two to three days before you obtain a freshly laundered batch. During my one and a half year stay in a dormitory back in college, I would leave my clothes for laundering on Friday afternoon at the neighborhood laundry shop. My clothes will then be waiting for me the moment I return on Sunday evening.
Enter the coin laundromats, straight out of the Land of Milk and Honey. Coin laundromats have been commonplace in America for a matter of years now, but it was only introduced recently in our shores—to a warm reception. They provide a more convenient, more affordable, and faster laundry service for people with a lot of laundry items. Coin laundromats typically use front-loading commercial-type washers and spin dryers that have a larger capacity than the ones used in homes. This enables larger items such as stuffed toys, comforters, and pillows to be washed without any fuss. A few days ago, I tried having my soiled clothes washed at a newly-opened coin laundromat along Kamuning Avenue…and some initial thoughts came up on the pros and cons of the service.
1. Coin laundromats are cheaper for heavy loads
Coin laundromats follow a fixed pricing system when it comes to capacity: small for loads 8 kg (kilograms) or less, medium for 10 kg, and large for loads 12 kg and up. Regular clothes are classified under small load, while larger items like pillows fall under the large load category. On the other hand, typical laundromats charge by the kilo. A minimum load weight, typically 3 kg, is required for a laundry job to push through. In addition, some laundry shops offer a higher rate for different types of items like comforters and curtains.
2. You can choose the detergent and fabric softener to use
The beauty of coin laundromats is that you can use basically any detergent and fabric softener suited to your liking. Some laundry shops use strong detergents that aren’t favorable to people with sensitive skin. Hypoallergenic laundry products can be added to the washing machine to prevent this—something you can’t do with regular laundromats. They also carry a few brands of detergent and fabric softener, but you can also bring your own. Washing machines in coin laundromats have a hatch at the top to accommodate detergents and fabric softeners. Do note, however, that this hatch can only hold products in either liquid or powder form. It doesn’t accommodate Tide Pods, sorry.
3. Clothes are washed and dried on the same day
Coin laundromats pride themselves on a delivery time of less than an hour, no matter how many clothes you wash. Both washing and drying cycles range from 19 to 25 minutes, with one full rinse already included in the last five minutes of the wash cycle. The machines have a timer to indicate how many minutes remain in the process, so you can attend to other tasks. A few coin laundromats offer free Wi-Fi, so waiting customers can surf the Internet right in the premises. There are even tables near the dryers, so you can fold your clothes neatly after the drying cycle.
1. Heavy items do not dry completely
The large drum in commercial spin dryers can do a great job with basic cotton shirts and other articles of clothing made from light materials. Coupled with additional heat treatment, clothes come out of the dryer warm to the touch—and ready to be worn again. However, it doesn’t do the same for heavier pieces such as pants and jackets. Put them in, and expect them to be dried only around 90%. Three pants I washed did not completely dry out after the spinning; I hung them in the attic when I arrived home, as the sections near the pockets and zipper were still wet.
2. You still need to separate white and colored clothes
This is a given when doing laundry; in fact, this is a fundamental step in the process. Nevertheless, if it forces you to get a separate washer for white clothes—then separating clothes becomes a problem. I understand the need for this, as separating whites from colored ones prevent the risk of staining and color mixing in the wash. A lot of people may find loading both white and colored clothes in the same machine tempting, but I tell you: resist the urge to do so.
3. Coin laundromats cost more for small loads
I learned this lesson the hard way, alongside my first attempt in a coin laundromat. A few articles of clothing that weigh under 8 kg cost me around P250. This is already equivalent to around 10 kilos of laundry in a regular service, but it would not be accepted since it falls under their minimum load requirement. It would not have made any difference if I included small items like underwear, socks, and handkerchiefs. Coin laundry is best availed when you have at least a week’s worth of soiled clothes, in order for you to get the most value for your money.
There you have it. Coin laundromats have their respective benefits and disadvantages, but it’s up to you if you wish to avail of this service. If you have sufficient budget for regular laundromats or the coin-operated variant, go ahead and choose the service that fits your needs. A few shops have wired their machines to a central computer that handles operations, eliminating the need for inserting coins in the coin slot altogether. Friendly staff members do assist first-time customers every step of the way (in my case), so you need not worry.
Until the next post, happy washing!