Many people who come from Europe will find it a bit bizarre, but a significant share of rental apartments in Canada have no washing machines. Instead, landlords offer a public laundry somewhere in the building. In a high-raise buildings it could be on one of the lower floors, in low-rise buildings it is usually in a basement.
A public laundry is a room where washing equipment is installed. What equipment? Normally it is a number of washing machines and dryers:
Many people don’t know what a dryer is, but I guess it is clear from the word ‘dryer’… Hmm… it is supposed to dry your clothing! In fact, from user’s standpoint it works pretty similarly to a washing machine with one exception though: you don’t put a detergent into it 🙂
So, how do these laundries work? It’s simple and sometimes it requires you to have some spare change in your wallet. Both dryers and washers have a device like this:
You put coins into it and push the lever. The washer eats your coins and allows you to start it 🙂 It seems like America has solved a problem of coins accumulating in a wallet… Sometimes though they put a bit of technology in a laundry and make you to buy a card to run washers. Basically you put $5 on a card and put in into a washer every time you need to run it. Once you started your washing, the card is debited by an amount the washing costs. In this case you would probably need a piggy bank to offload coins from your wallet 🙂
Dryer is another interesting thing we met in Canada. In Russia we used to put wet clothing on dryers to let it dry naturally. We bought the same simple dryer in Vancouver, but we found that clothes dry very slowly due to a very high humidity. It takes forever to dry anything as large as bed sheets. So electrical dryer is handy here 🙂
Dryer also takes coins to work, but generally costs a little less than a washer.
Some people say public laundry is not something they would like to live with. My wife initially said the same, but after she saw it a couple of times in different buildings she agreed to give it a try.
The main point of a public laundry is probably that you can run multiple of them simultaneously and wash way faster than you would do in your apartment with your only washer. One washes black clothing, another washes white bed sheets… So if you have a lot for a laundry, especially if you have kids… This might be a good way to save some time.