Evils of Laundromats

This week’s column:


starts off “I do my laundry in Medford, Massachusetts…”
Hey! I used to do my laundry in a Laundromat in Medford Massachusetts. It was called “The Laundry”, as if Patrick McGooham as Number Six did his Village Laundry there.

I used it even though there was a washer and dryer in my apartment building. The reason? My cheap landlord hooked up the electric dryer (which needed 220 V) to a 110 V line. It tumbled the clothes but, without heat, didn’t actually dry them. I swear I am not making that up.
In any event, despitye years of using that laundry (and prior years as a grad student and an undergrad using various laundromats elewhere), I suffered no ill effects, aside from occasionally getting laundry ripped off.

Today’s column was a VERY poor response. Despite the fact that apparently extensive research into the possible ills of laundering clothes in a common location turned up problems only in three quite different methodologies from a laundromat, “Unca Cece” leaves us with the impression that washing in a common washer is somehow unsanitary. This is total nonsense. The result of the research should have been to say, “It appears to be perfectly safe, so far as anyone can tell.”

I wonder which particular minion wrote this poor excuse for a column? :mad: :dubious: :rolleyes:

Bah! Today’s column was clearly a well executed mockery of the question asker, just as it should be. If you got the feeling that he thinks laundromats are unsanitary, you may want to reread. :slight_smile:

Oh, definitely it was mocking the question. Dangers of laundromats? Parasitic snails (er… in Ethiopian streams), microbial contamination (Slovenian hospitals), and eye cancer!

While there is humor in the article, this ending is hardly a very successful attempt at poking fun at the concept. If it is intended to be tongue-in-cheek, the bulge ought to be a big bigger. As it is, it looks more like chew.

I don’t think so, personally. I feel like that’s the point. I mean SNAILS! I suspect Cecil’s poking fun at anyone who’d ask such a question, and the fact that likely any report of public wash facilities going awry is going to be enough to make this guy figure out his w/d hook-ups.

However, a friend did point out that maybe the order/timing was off, and that may have reduced the strength of the mockage. I don’t see it, but she did point out that the eye cancer thing occurred in what you’d think of as similar facilities here. Maybe that’s the issue.

I remember a news item about the presence of coliform bacteria in washers because people don’t use hot water and liquid bleach. It didn’t mention any outbreaks of disease due to this.

Here’s a skeptical column about that item.


Well I have this friend, who I don’t see much of anymore. We last got together about a year ago and were comparing notes on a vicious stomach virus that had infected our children, and I was going on about how in the middle of winter, in the middle of the night, I had to wash a load of sheets and hang them out on the clothesline (because it was just that kind of load–this was after I’d washed it twice).

Now I only had one child throwing up in his bed; she had three. And I only have two sets of sheets for this kid–she has more. She enthusiastically described how her kids made such a grisly, slimy mess that she didn’t want to inflict it on her own washing machine so she took it to the laundromat.

So that’s what laundromats are for. Germy, nasty messes that would sully your own laundry equipment. Yuck.

Frankly I would have washed the nasty sheets out by hand before exposing them to the public in any way. (My clothesline is not public. Also I am willing to let certain things hang there for days.) After hearing her story I would wash anything out by hand rather than take it to a laundromat.

Hilarity’s anecdote is why you should look inside the washer prior to using it at a laudromat. Take a sniff, too. Same for the dryers.

Commercial washers may be communal, but at least at the laudromat I use they’re also cleaned at least once a day, which is probably more often than home washers. The front loaders also use water extraction via centrifugical means that until recently I never saw offered with home machines, which pulls a lot more soap, crud, and dirty water out of the clothes than my mother’s top loader.

I’d say, consider the business your taking your business to - there are certainly cesspit laudromats. There are also some decent ones, too.