The task of taking care of the washing and drying of clothing is indispensable to the human race and is as important an industry as any other in existence today if not more so. What are laundromats? Laundromats are the modern solution to this important need.

Laundromats, coin laundry or coin washes as they are sometimes known, exist in every major city today and are essential to the livelihood of many urban dwellers who must keep professional presentations in the most time efficient manner.

Following are some of the features and services of a typical modern laundromat:

-A large storage facility featuring washing machines capable of much larger laundry loads than your typical home washer makes the perfect example of the modern laundromat. Because customers will typically bring the laundry in a sack or hamper and wet laundry can be tough to lug around one part of the facility to the other, metal carts and baskets are there to facilitate movement.

-In addition to the washing machines, a good laundromat will have an array of appliances for full fabric care. Driers are placed nearby so your wet laundry will only have a small distance to move from one machine to the other.

-Once the laundry has been cleaned and dried, you may want to press certain pieces. There are tables and ironing boards for handling this final stage of the process.

-While there are staffed laundry services, the vast majority of laundromats today work with a coin operated system.

Types of Laundromat Services

The modern laundromat is large ventilated room filled with various types of washing machines. These can be your average coin-slotted machines with a 10 – 15 kg capacity all the way to industrial sized washers that cater to hotels, restaurants and other businesses that require regular fabric care.

The most common type of laundromat is the one found tucked away in the corner of an apartment building. In addition to the vending machine style machines, customers will find the typical rolling carts, baskets, hanging racks and a few other utilities. These facilities are highly convenient to people living away from their families and home services. A few quarters is a small price to pay for the temporary use of a communal machine.

Many laundromats across the globe hire a full-time staff to provide this service. This could be a single person in charge of the maintenance and care of the location as well as the task of providing laundry soap, fabric softener and other cleaning agents to paying customers.

Other locations could have a full-staff that will collect dirty laundry from their regular customers and returns the laundry cleaned, dried, pressed ironed, starched or fluffed depending on the services provided by the specific locations. Some locations run a mending service as well. Others will include a service that collects dirty laundry and drops off the clean laundry at the customer’s residence. Additional services are a good way for these businesses to increase revenue.

These comprehensive laundromats are more often referred to as a Wash-n-Fold, Fluff-n-Fold, service wash, bachelor bundles or simply the drop off.   Many people wonder, “what are laundromats” simply because there are many different names for this service. There are an estimated 35,000 laundry services in operations throughout the United States today.

What are Laundromats? The History of the Laundromat

The term “laundromat” was first coined by George Edward Pendray working for the famous Westinghouse company in the US. But another name for the laundromat is “wash-a-teria”, although you are not likely to hear this term used outside of the State of Texas. John F. Cantrell opened the very first Wash-A-Teria in 1934 in the Texas city of Fort Worth.

Mr. Cantrell’s Wash-a-teria featured several large steam-powered washing machines. These machines had only been recently invented and the cost of a single unit was far beyond the reach of most US citizens.  Like many others in the business at the time, Mr. Cantrell made a small fortune by renting these machines to various customers.

Today, the vast majority of laundromats in the US are automated and unstaffed. Many of these are open to public use 24/7.

Advantages of the Laundromat

Laundromats today offer many advantages to a fast-paced society that doesn’t tolerate poor personal care and hygiene yet hardly gives you a minute to yourself. Here are some of the biggest benefits of this convenient path to a well-kept appearance.

Efficiency –perhaps the largest advantage of the laundromat is to take on much larger washing load capacities at one time. This means big savings on electricity, water, and gas (if you have a gas heater for your water supply).
One for All — One laundromat with 10 to 20 machines can provide services for 500+ people meaning that they are a cost-effective solution to everyone buying their own unit.
Heavy-Duty Appliances — the machines, driers and pressures found in your typical laundromat are durable, and often equipped with washing options you won’t find on your typical domestic washing unit.
One stop shop — you will find all you need for clothing care at your local laundromat. This is often the most time-efficient way to address all aspects of this regular task in one simple procedure.

In conclusion –keeping clothes cleans has been a popular activity since appearance first became synonymous with the civilized human being. While the task of keeping laundry is not always the most enjoyable, laundromats provide a hassle free solution and a little time to catch up on a crossword puzzle, strike up a conversation or simply read a book while the bubbles go round and round.