Renting in Canada [#8]: Washer and dryer

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

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9 Responses to Renting in Canada [#8]: Washer and dryer

  1. I have an opposite problem – I need to go to some store like Bartell Drugs to get some coins: while I have my own washer and dryer, I need coins to pay for vacuum at a car wash service. Because I usually pay with credit card, I don’t have a lot of change. Hardly few coins in the wallet. So the idea with a card is a good one for me.

  2. Krum Bakalsky says:

    This looks like something beyond my (current) capabilities of understanding ๐Ÿ™‚ I find the idea of showing up with my big basket full of my dirty smelly clothes at the same place with other people’s big baskets, full of other people’s dirty smelly clothes … somewhat too intimate. Pros is that you can socialize better this way, no doubt. But what if I want to [cook/get a bath/do smth else] while the laundry is running ? In other words, why should I be forced to stay there and attend my belongings until the machine is done – actually, am I ๐Ÿ™‚ ? Or what if I want to use my favorite kinds of cleansing detergents ? Am I allowed to configure the public machines according to my needs ?

    By the way, this is a fantastic blog! I’ve been reading almost everything here, and your advices are priceless and much appreciated ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Well, a few points, Krum ๐Ÿ™‚

      First of all, I wouldnโ€™t say there is so much of laundry traffic there. It is not like 5 people are staying in a line waiting for one washing machine and socializing in a meantime.

      Second, you might consider washing your clothes a little more often, so people donโ€™t hold their noses every time you pass them with a laundry basketโ€ฆ :))

      Youโ€™re not forced/obligated to stay while laundry equipment is running. Put your stuff in there, start machine and go home to do anything you want. Just get back in time and pick your clothes. The strong side here is that in big apartment buildings you can start 5 washing machines simultaneously and wash everything in an hour, while running such a big wash at home will fill your entire day.

      You have to have your own detergent to put in there, but they are often liquid detergents, not a powder.

      Machines are dead simple to โ€˜configureโ€™. You basically select the mode and push the button.

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