Laundromat Tips - Get It Done Quick!

Whether your washer is broken, or you don’t own one at all, most of us end up at the Laundromat at some point. There are some advantages to doing the laundry there, like the fact that you can get it all done in one fell swoop.  Some people prefer it for just that reason, but for the most part, we would all like to get in and out as fast as possible.

Here are a few tips from some Laundromat veterans to help get it all done quickly:

SCOPE OUT THE PLACE – Is it clean and maintained? You want to make sure the machines aren’t nasty and that there are clean tables to fold on. Is it in a safe location?

Ask the attendant (if any) or if you see someone who appears to be a “regular” there, what the slow days/times are and try to do your laundry then. Peak days are always weekends and usually Mondays.

SORT AT HOME
Before leaving for the Laundromat, separate your colors, pre-treat stains, empty pockets, zip up zippers, unbutton buttons and whatever else you usually do at the washer, so that you don’t have to take up time doing it there. Having a few laundry bags will make this part easier if you have a bunch of laundry. If you don’t have laundry bags, improvise – pillowcases work too. You may want to pack some extra garbage bags in case of rain.

BRING MONEY – You don’t want to rely on a change machine working all of the time. Some Laundromats use cards, some use quarters, and go prepared.

BRING SNACKS – Laundromats are expensive enough; you don’t want to spend more money on the snack machine!  You will probably be there for a few hours so bringing your own munchies could save you 5 bucks.

CHECK THE MACHINE
Sniff. Yes. Sniff. Does the machine smell like mold or mildew? That will transfer to your clothes. Go to another machine. Do you smell bleach? Leftover bleach will ruin your dark clothes.

Remove any items that might have been missed by the last person – just like home, little things like socks are often missed. What you really want to look for is anything that could damage your load like ink pens, lipstick, oils, gas (no kidding). If you do encounter anything like that and there is an attendant or office there, of course you should tell someone.

DON’T OVERLOAD MACHINES – Stuffing too much laundry in the washer just to save a few bucks will not get your clothes clean. There has to be enough room for the items to agitate and rinse. Same goes for the dryer – everything will take longer to dry and come out more wrinkled if too much wash is crammed into the dryer.

CHECK MACHINE SETTINGS – Before paying/starting the machine make sure the load size and temperatures are correct.

EMPTY THE DRYER’S LINT TRAP-
Gross, yes, but the dryer won’t have to work as hard and it will save you time and money. Don’t over dry your clothes – this may seem obvious, but many people underestimate the power of commercial dryers.

DON’T LEAVE – One of the most annoying things to deal with at a Laundromat is having to wait for an available machine, because some inconsiderate person left for who knows how long. Don’t be that person.  There are plenty of things you can do for while you are there – read, listen to music, some even have wifi.

GET TO KNOW THE MACHINES – Every Laundromat has a dryer that seems to either run longer or shorter than it should. Some washers may not spin/drain as well as others.  Make note and use this to your advantage (wink, wink).  This is a reason to hang around and observe. Now obviously, if you are just making a random trip every now and then, this tip won’t be of much use.

Finally, fold your clothes before you leave to avoid excess wrinkling, and don’t bring hangers – that’s just one more thing to mess with - hang at home.

My GE Top-Load Washer Review

This is about the GE 4.6 cu ft top load washer model GTW680BSJWS.

When I was shopping for a new washer and dryer last year, many of the reviews I read were written within a few days of purchase. Since I’ve been using this machine for the past year, I thought that I would share my opinion, since often times reviews are written by people who have just received the washer, or may have only used it once or twice.

Because of the laundry space we have available, front-loading machines are not an option. I would not be able to leave the washer door open to air out after washing, so it would probably become stinky in no time.

For the past 15 years I’ve had a front-loading washer, and really had not paid too much attention to changes in washer technology. The first thing I noticed on some of the new top loaders was no post (agitator) in the middle. The pitch for these HE top-loaders is that they are quieter, use less water and are gentler on fabrics. Plus, without the agitator, you can fit bulkier items like blankets/comforters more easily. Sounded good - no more mangled underwire bras or stretched out sweaters!

The washer was delivered without an instruction manual, which I didn’t notice until the delivery guys had left. I had just assumed it was in with the dryer manual - oh well. The washer is easy enough to use without instructions anyway. It’s a nice looking, simple machine, with a lot of room in the tub for sure! The tub is so deep that I think if you are on the short side, you might need a step stool to reach all the way down to the bottom. I like the clear lid too – nice to see what’s going on inside.

There are all sorts of combinations of wash settings, temperatures to suit anyone, along with the ability to set “My Cycle” to remember your favorite. There are also optional settings for blood, wine, grass stains, etc, which I have yet to use, since I prefer to handle those things before they get to the washer.

This is definitely not the quietest machine around, but since it is in the garage, it is more tolerable. I would not recommend it for interior laundry rooms. The noise is not too bad during the washing, but it has a wicked fast spin cycle that can sound like a helicopter taking off! Because of the spin cycle, I would also not recommend leaving heavy loads unattended. Even though I am careful to evenly distribute the load in the tub, it does tend to become unbalanced, vibrate and sometimes “walk” across the floor on the spin cycle of heavy loads.

So in using this model without an agitator, I have noticed a few things. Yes, it is gentler on your clothing, but I sort of feel like the agitator played an important role in moving your clothes around enough to help remove dirt and stains. I have found that if the clothes are not too dirty, the HE and no agitator features are not a problem. However, if you tend to have very dirty laundry, then you will probably want to do smaller loads and add more water.

Oh, and about adding more water – this HE model definitely skimps on the water. I always have to use “Deep Fill” and “Deep Rinse” settings to get enough water to cover and properly agitate the clothes enough for a thorough cleaning. Maybe it’s just a mental thing with me, but I like my laundry completely submerged. Again, the clear lid helps to see, without interrupting things.

After some trial and error with this machine over the past year, I finally found a happy medium. Overall I’d give it a 7 out of 10.

I also purchased the GE 7.4 cu ft Electric Dryer at the same time. It’s a match for the washer – nice and simple. The inside is huge – plenty of room for large comforters and blankets. The panel is easy to use, with 12 drying cycles for a variety of fabric types. It is definitely quiet enough for interior laundry room. Laundry loads dry quickly, usually before the times cycle is completed – much faster than my old dryer. Favorite features - Extended Tumble is great if you tend to forget to remove items right away. I have absolutely no complaints about this dryer in this first year.