A Cost Comparison of Home Laundry and Laundromats

A few weeks ago, I put out a call on Twitter and on Facebook for detailed posts that people would like to see. I got enough great responses that I’m going to fill the entire month of July – one post per day – addressing these ideas.

On Facebook, Alyssa asks “Is it worth investing in a washer & dryer or is it more economical to use a laundromat?”

Few people would argue that, over the long run, a washer and dryer will save you money. The question really comes down to how long that long run really is. Let’s take a look at some real numbers and see what we find.

The Raw Data
First of all, let’s look at basic costs for a laundromat.

Cost to travel to and from laundromat: $1 per trip (this is highly estimated, but there is some cost involved here)
Number of loads per trip: 8 (Again, estimated)
Cost of washer load at laundromat: $1.50 (I called three different local ones and averaged)
Cost of dryer load at laundromat: $1.50
Cost per eight loads of laundry at laundromat: $25
Cost per load at laundromat: $3.12

What about the basic costs of a home washer and dryer? This varies a lot based on how you use your washer and dryer.

Energy cost per washer load: $0.04 – $0.68, averaged at $0.36 (source)
Energy cost per dryer load: $0.31 – $0.49, averaged at $0.40 (source)
Water cost per washer load: $0.11 (40 gallons per load, using this chart)
Cost per eight loads of laundry at home: $7.76
Cost per load at home: $0.97
Savings per load at home (excluding equipment costs): $2.15

Now, let’s talk about appliance costs and lifespans. Using this data:

Average washing machine cost: $700
Average clothes dryer cost: $600
Lifespan of washing machine, one load per day: 9.5 years
Lifespan of dryer, one load per day: 11 years
Cost per load for average washing machine: $0.20
Cost per load for average clothes dryer: $0.15
Cost per load for average equipment: $0.35
Savings per load at home (including equipment costs): $1.80

One final factor – recouping the cost of the equipment:

Total equipment cost: $1,300
Savings per load at home (excluding equipment costs): $2.15
Number of washer and dryer loads to recoup washer and dryer cost: 605 loads

Conclusions
The break-even point on having an average washer and dryer in your home is around 600 loads, according to my calculations. There are lots of areas where one could quibble with the numbers used in the calculation, but no matter how much you quibble, you’ll end up with an estimate somewhere reasonably close to that number.

The real question then becomes how long you’re going to be living in your current residence. If you do a load of laundry each day, you’d need to live there two years to start really recouping the cost of a washer and dryer. If you wash less frequently, the time frame would be longer. We wash a bit over a load a day on average (two adults and three children), for comparison’s sake.

If you own your home and intend to live there more than a few years, a washer and dryer are solid additions. Even if you do not, a washer and dryer included with your home might recoup some of the value when you sell. If I owned a home, I would probably invest in a washer and dryer.

On the other hand, if I rented a home, I would probably not invest unless you have some form of long-term lease or arrangement with your landlord. Without that, the troubles you may run into with installing and then (possibly) quickly removing the equipment undoes the benefit you’d get.

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  1. Wiley says:

    I think there is a value that can be placed on sanity that might push a renter over the edge as well. Being able to do laundry while doing something else. Being able to run off with a load in progress. All definitely provide value.

  2. Cheryl says:

    And if you wash a load or two at a time, you may be able to hang dry instead of using a dryer. What about the cost of your time to hang up and take down the clothes vs the cost of tossing them in the dryer and running it?

  3. Michelle says:

    Possibly quickly removing the equipment? In your mind do renters just move out in the middle of the night? Seriously?

    We’ve rented for years (we’re military) and have always moved our washer and dryer with our household goods. We’ve loaded it up onto the truck, then unloaded it at the new house. 10 years, 5 moves, and they are just now starting to need replacing. We’ll probably get a few more months out of them before we replace them with a fancy new front loader HE model.

    The implication that, renter = on the verge of homelessness, is quite offensive.

  4. Canan Onat says:

    My mom gave me her old washer (a front loader) when I moved out about 13 years ago and got herself a new one. The old washer I have is still in great shape and is 26 years old! Every three years or so, I call the service to have them check the machine and they keep telling me I should never replace it since they no longer make such good machines anymore. It does use more electricity and water but since I got it for free, I do not mind. Besides I am single and wash may be three loads a week. I only wish it had shorter cycles. I never owned a dryer. Nor did my mom. Dryers are not popular in Turkey. I have a rack that I use in my spare room. I use an octopus like thing with clothespins attached to every limb(?) that I got at IKEA for undies and socks. It is a tremendeous space saver.

  5. jdp says:

    Always a renter. I’d schlep MY washer and dryer with me during all moves. Just for the reason Wiley mentioned. That and I only paid about $50 for the pair from someone who DIDN’T want to move them :)

  6. Andrew says:

    As Wiley mentioned, convenience is often worth more than just a few dollars saved. The ability to take care of other tasks around the house, or even leave the house as needed without worrying about the load in progress.

  7. Other Jonathan says:

    Don’t discount the time factor. While on the one hand, you can do multiple loads at once at the laundromat (assuming you can find multiple “trustworthy” machines available), you pretty much have to sit there until they’re done – an hour or two at the laundromat, at a minimum. At home, you can spread your laundry over the whole day or multiple days. You can leave it for a while after it’s done washing (or drying) without anyone stealing it.

  8. Jennifer says:

    Convenience is worth a lot. Especially with a potty-training preschooler and a toddler that’s just starting to self-feed. If I only did laundry once/week I’d have a lot of stains that never came out. Or I’d be in the laundry mat every day. And forget about entertaining kids in a laundry mat. I know mine would be pressing buttons and turning knobs on everyone else’s machines.

  9. valleycat1 says:

    I don’t see what the length of time you plan to stay in a home has to do with this. I’ve always moved my washer & dryer with me, when renting & when owning homes. I lived in a couple of rentals where the w/d were provided, so I sold the old one, then bought used ones when moving into a place without them. Our w/d are both at least 15 years old and going strong. We do 3-5 loads a week, so based on Trent’s estimate of 600 loads, we broke even more than 12 years ago (as we didn’t spend 1300 on them).

    The few times I’ve lived where we had to go to the communal laundry room or commercial laundromat, it was easy to get into the routine of doing a bunch of loads in an hour or two; I was fortunate that the nearby laundry was clean & safe. On occasion if we’ve let the dirty laundry pile up, or have a bunch of activities scheduled in a week, we’ll still go to the laundromat to knock it all out in a short amount of time.

  10. sarah says:

    I fully agree with the other commenters that buying a washer and dryer as renters is a great move for both sanity and cost savings. I am also surprised that Trent didn’t factor in opportunity time cost.

    However, purely looking at the $, it’s possible to find new machines that will pay off in much less than 600 loads. Using Trent’s numbers for savings per load and a cost of $450 for a basic washer/dryer set, and you have a breakeven point of 209 loads. This is the actual amount I spent on a new set four years ago (purchased on sale at Sears…no special crazy shopping) while in a rental.

    Based on an assumption of one load per day, this pays off in less than a year. I wash approximately 3 loads per week, so it still paid off in less than two years. Considering they’re both still going strong, worth every penny!

  11. Kerry D. says:

    Our washer and dryer are now over 20 years old and going strong… their original cost was pretty average, maybe $1,000 for the washer/dryer back then… so…maybe $50 per year to own!!! I’d say this has been cost effective. :)

  12. Steve says:

    What the heck about “quickly removing the equipment”? What about the rest of your stuff, in this hypothetical “24 hours to move” scenario – do you leave all your furniture behind too? Or I suppose you wouldn’t buy e.g. a bed at all – if you use an air mattress then you can take it with you at a moment’s notice.

  13. beth says:

    I’m not sure how this came to be, but a washer & dryer set is something that I have never purchased new. I have had several that have moved with me or been sold when I didn’t have hookups at various rentals, and the cost of a used set (through a dealer, Craigslist, or friends who were moving) has always been so low that it didn’t make sense to *not* buy one.

    As others have mentioned, add in the time savings of being able to do laundry on your own schedule (and with your own heat/delicacy settings) cuts the net cost way down.

  14. 2million says:

    I’m in the “Time is Money” camp. I think that is the biggest expense associated with the laundromat usage and makes the w/d break even point much earlier. Even if your talking a value of a few $/hour for your time.

  15. Vicky says:

    I’ve never bought new machines…

    I bought my first set for $75 on CraigsList, it lasted 3 years … and then I replaced them with a slightly better set from a person who buys dead ones to fix for $150… and they’re both going strong.

    I did the laundromat while living in an apartment… and I hated it. It’s always hot and stuffy and muggy in laundromats, and you can’t very well leave. You have to sit there. I don’t have time to go multiple times a week, so I’d have to wait until I had 5-6 loads then go all at once, hog all the machines, and sit for two hours or so. Then lug it all home. Not a fun time :(

    At home I pop it in, do other stuff, and get it out when it’s done. And as others mentioned, I also frequently line-dry clothing. I think for sanity’s sake, owning your own set far outweighs the costs. However, I do greatly appreciate the time you put into this research!

  16. Katie says:

    I live in an apartment where I can’t have a washer/dryer. I live walking distance from several laundromats (walking distance in the sense of a couple of blocks). I pay $1/lb to have my laundry done. Not the most cost-effective option – and I would rather have one in my home – but dear God, is it worth it in terms of time and sanity.

  17. jackie says:

    I bought my washer and dryer at a neighbor’s garage sale, $100 for the set. They lasted 5 1/2 years before the washer needed a several hundred dollar repair. Replaced the washer with a low end model for less than $350 and several months later replaced the dryer too, again for less than $400.

  18. SMB says:

    I’m surprised that no one has mentioned how truly depressing laundromats can be. There’s always at least one weirdo in there.

  19. JS says:

    One factor that didn’t get addressed for renters is that, in our market at least, properties that have washer/dryer hook-ups are generally more expensive. In our situation, renting a place with a hook-up would have cost about $200/month more than our nice-but-not-fancy apartment. Considering that it’s just me and my husband and that we plan to move to another state next year, it doesn’t make sense for us to buy these appliances just yet. I hang a lot of clothes to dry and our apartment complex laundry room has good quality machines that we can walk to, so it works out to be less than $2.50/load. I’d love to have a washer/dryer in our home, but I don’t feel deprived without one.

  20. Gretchen says:

    Anyone who would debate this has never had to schelp a week’s worth of clothing to the laundromat, and I don’t even have kids.

  21. Lesley says:

    I’ve never been in a laundromat where my clothes would dry in one load. It always takes two dryer cycles–that increases the costs.
    And used washers and dryers are very easy to find–I’ve never bought new and I usually sell at cost to the next renter. And you can find discounted brand new machines if you do a little research or buy floor models. I’m sure the audience for this blog is willing to put in the time to save money!

  22. Julia says:

    Buying a washer in dryer is only an option for renters if your place has the hook-ups.

    As a renter I’ve had to estimate these costs to decide if it’s worth an extra $50-100/month to rent a place with washer/dryer. Of course it’s never an apples-apples comparison (the places w/out are usually smaller, have less community amenities, lower quality, etc) so the numbers are never the same from one move to the next. But having a washer/dryer is generally more important to me than square footage or having a pool on site.

  23. Brianne says:

    I rather liked doing the laundry at the laundromat because I can do six loads at a time. Schlepping that much laundry in my hatchback was never a big deal.

    But I also appreciate how easy it is to do the laundry and keep working around the house now that we have our own. We spent a lot of money on really good machines so hopefully they’ll last a long time.

    I don’t know anyone that leaves the washer and dryer behind when they move or sell their home. Our current house didn’t even come with an oven, much less a washer and dryer.

  24. Maureen says:

    Many years ago I lived in an apartment building with a laundromat in the basement. As long as you didn’t do your laundry on a weekend you could usually find enough working machines to do all your laundry at once. You really had to stay there and babysit your machines. Theft was a problem. Sometimes a ‘neighbour’ would see your running dryer, remove your soggy load and replace it with their soggy load for free. Grrrr! I certainly don’t miss that.

    I was ecstatic to have my own washer and dryer when we moved to a house. That washer and dryer lasted for over 20 years. They weren’t particularly fancy. Just good solid machines. I have never heard of anyone leaving their appliances behind when they moved, unless they planned to buy new ones at their new home. I really appreciate the convenience of owning my own machines.

  25. krantcents says:

    There is value on convenience. You can do laundry at home and do something else.

  26. Riki says:

    I am absolutely, no-doubt-about-it, madly in love with my washer and dryer. I’ve only had my own machines for 2 months . . . previously I would lug my laundry to my parents’ house every 2 weeks. Not fun.

    Laundry is a pleasure now! And I really enjoy using the clothes line now that I can.

    I wouldn’t go back to the laundromat (even chez parents) for anything.

  27. bogart says:

    I cannot imagine owning enough clothes that I could wait until I had 8 loads stored and then do them (even after factoring in some loads of towels and sheets, I’m basically out of work-clothes-appropriate-to-the-season once we’ve got 2 loads waiting to be done).

  28. con says:

    I can never imagine someone thinking you can’t take your washer and dryer with you. Maybe I am missing something. Like someone said earlier, why would it matter how long you lived in the house. The washer and dryer is yours and you simply move it with the rest of your furniture.

    By the same token, I have lived in many apartments where you have your own washer and dryer and, then again, if you have your own, you take it with you to another apartment or house. Whatever. If the apartment you might rent doesn’t have hookups, you sell it or, depending how old it is and it is working, leave it on the curb. Someone will always get them before you call the “bulk” pickup.

  29. What’s the opportunity cost for the time spent in laundromat and for the trip time? You have to factor in that too

  30. Amy says:

    I, personally, do not own a washer and dryer, but it’s starting to sound like I’m in a unique situation. My apartment does not have the connections, so choosing to have a washer or dryer would require moving to someplace with slightly higher rent (perhaps further away from work). My complex has 9-12 washers, slightly more driers and I have never had a theft problem. I do all my laundry at once and walk back up to my apartment while it’s running.

    Again, hearing about people schlepping loads to laundromats or having others “steal” their dryer time makes me appreciate that I may be unique.

    If my apartment had connections, I do think it would be worth it. But I think that if one is looking for places to live, it shouldn’t necessarily be a deal breaker.

  31. deRuiter says:

    The convenience of having the washer at home can’t be overestimated. The ability to pop on a load and then do other tasks at home or to go out it valuable. I dry everything outdoors in nice weather, and hang inside in the winter. A used washer can last years and years and cost only a few dollars. Buying used (I’m tiresome on this topic but it’s true) is better for the environment. When your washer or dryer gives up the ghost you can drop one or both at the local metal recyclers and they will pay you for the steel. Trent’s figures of $700. and $600. for washer and dryer strike me as high. Basic, sturdy new machines can be bought for approximately half that.

  32. almost there says:

    I purchased new an off brand dryer made by a major dryer maker for about 1/3 of the price of the branded model. All parts are the same under the skin. This was after I had purchased used and the dryer gave up the ghost after 3 1/2 years. Getting rid of used was easy. I called the guy that repairs and sold it to me to come pick it up if he wanted to fix and sell it again.

  33. Beth says:

    I agree that if someone (especially a single person!) has enough clothes that they can collect enough for eight loads and still have something clean to wear to the laundromat, they should be worried about moving their clothes to their next rental accomodation, not their washer!

  34. Cyde Weys says:

    Don’t forget to factor in time too! Time spent traveling to and from a laundromat is entirely wasted, and time spent at the laundromat waiting for your clothing to finish is mostly wasted. On the other hand, none of my time is wasted when doing laundry at home. Even if the equipment costs aren’t repaid in two years, I feel like the equipment would’ve already paid for itself in six months just in time savings.

  35. Luke G. says:

    After having been approached years ago by someone high on drugs asking for money while I was all alone at a 24-hour laundromat, I realized that there is a certain value to safety that one gains by having their laundry facility at home. Especially so for youths or for single women. It’s a dangerous world out there…

    I also was approached by two youths in business suits trying to convince me (17yo) to buy a giant hardback story book of the three little pigs at some obscene cost. I was 17, and I explained I had no kids or loved ones who would benefit from such a purchase. Still they insisted that I should buy one…because…at 17 I should be reading at that level? Seriously?

    I’ve also been huddled in the bathroom at the same 24-hour laundry place with about 8 others during a tornado…

    Some dryers work, some don’t…some will burn your clothes, some will run too cool and take 4 or more cycles to dry. You never know quite what you’ll find as far as equipment! Some washers may even break down with your laundry held hostage inside, due to the automatic locks.

    Boy, I’m glad to have my own washer and dryer now!! :D

  36. Jonathan says:

    One trend I noticed in the comments is the idea that the time spent waiting at the laudromat is wasted time. There is no reason that has to be true. Students can do homework while waiting. Bloggers can write while waiting. I would imagine that post everyone could find some way to be productive while waiting.

    Location also plays a major factor. I’m not even sure if there is a laudromat in the small town closest to us. If we had to travel to the closest decent sized town that would mean travel time of 1.5 hours (total) and $5-%6 in gas, which has a major impact on the cost effectiveness of using a laudromat.

    As for Trent’s equipment costs, I don’t think that $700 is an unreasonable number to use for the washer. A quick glance at Lowes shows more washers priced at $800+ than those priced below $800. We paid about $700 for our Fisher & Paykel washer, and it was well worth it.

  37. Tom says:

    While it’s a good point about the increase in rent that comes with having your own washer and dryer, I can’t think of an apartment complex in my area that doesn’t have W/D included. I guess that’s the market, as soon as one place offers it, they all do. I had a crappy college rental for cheap (like $600 month) that came with a stackable.
    A place my family lived 10 years ago, at that time they had laundry rooms, but scrapped them and remodeled with in-unit W/D. The biggest problem we ever had was other people not promptly moving their clothes along. Because of this, I do know of two laundromats nearby :).

    With a question like this, I think the generic answer is, if someone runs a profitable business providing the service, it probably would be cheaper for you to do it yourself.

  38. Alice says:

    I bought a used washer and dryer from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $110. Seriously, $50 for one, $60 for the other. I rent, but live about 10 miles out of town so going to the laundromat would be very inconvenient. I like the ability to wash a load and throw it in the dryer before going to bed or just the convenience of doing other things while the laundry is on. My time is worth a lot to me and having a washer and dryer on site is valuable.

  39. littlepitcher says:

    I spend $50 per unit, $100 per pair. I check the pump for leaking gaskets and make sure all the controls work. Cheaper than repairs, and I change my own belts.
    Few, if any, laundromats now have dryers which will do an average load on one run of quarters. I actually could purchase a local laundromat, but at current electricity, gas, and water prices, it would be impossible to profit. Without the investment capital, owners have to dumb down the dryers to break even, and many facilities have closed entirely.

  40. Jenna says:

    I am on a very tight budget, but having a washer and dryer is a top priority for me. I am squeamish, and read a number articles saying that washers and dryers harbor things like e coli from dirty underwear, etc. even after emptied. Ugh, when you go to a laundromat you never know what was in there before. I take spray disinfectant and a rag, but still worry.

  41. Georgia says:

    I have always had a w/d and couldn’t do without them. Our costs were about $350 each, but that was at least 10 years ago.

    I do only full loads. My dryer has 2 settings – one for the whole time and one for half the time. In the winter, I throw in a very big dry towel with the wet clothes and put on the halfway mark. When done I let it sit for an hour or so while the dryer still holds heat. All my clothes are permanent press, so I just have to hand press a few of the items. It has cut my electric bill some and I love it. I also line dry in the summer.

  42. Roberta says:

    This is another area which is very dependent on your personal situation. If you have babies or small children, or do serious exercise on a regular basis or have someone living with you who has health issues you may need a washer and dryer more than those who don’t have any of those situations.

    I’m dont’ want to live without a washer and dryer and owned them even before marriage and children. Even as a single person I had sheets and towels, sweaty workout gear and everyday clothes, plus I’ve always tried to buy washable work clothes to save on dry cleaning. How can people get by with only one or two loads a week? Unless you send everything to the dry cleaner? When I change the sheets on our bed weekly, that’s a full load (husband is over 6 feet tall so king size is the only thing that fits us both) and with three of four kids in queen size beds due to their size (all over six feet as well) that’s another two loads right there. Towels and other bathroom linens get changed once a week so that’s two loads for six of us. I use cloth instead of paper towels to do almost all the cleaning, so that’s another load right there – adds up to six a week before I’ve even started on clothing. We both work out and our kids play sports and those clothes get sweaty and smelly – do I keep them around for a week to go to the laundromat? My mother in law lived with us before she passed away, and since she had health problems I had to change her sheets several times a week. When your babies throw up – do you keep those burp cloths around for a week? It seems to me there are health and sanitation concerns here as well.

    I save on dry cleaning costs and chemicals by washing everything at home that I can. I save by doing full loads, and using cold water when possible. Hanging outside to dry is not an option as we have a homeowner’s association which doesn’t allow it.

    I would love it if we could work out a sharing situation with neighbors so we own a lawn mower and they own the washer and dryer and someone else owns the ladder, and we all swap as needed, but I don’t live in that kind of neighborhood.

  43. Allie says:

    “How can people get by with only one or two loads a week? Unless you send everything to the dry cleaner?”

    Well, this is another area which is very dependent on your personal situation. If you *don’t* have babies or small children – or any children at all – it’s quite easy and reasonable to get by on only one or two loads a week.

    My husband and I also buy washable work clothes. We send nothing to the dry-cleaner. He ends up with one load a week (he does not separate the colors), and I have two loads that could easily become one if necessary since the load of whites is so small.

  44. Amanda says:

    We have two small children (2 and 4) and have never owned a washer dryer or lived in an apartment where that is possible, but always had access to several machines in the basement. And it is possible to do only 3-4 loads a week – we have never done more than that. Kids clothes are very small and do not take up that much room, really, nor do their bed linens when they are in toddler beds. And anything really vile (big stains, vomit, other bodily fluids) gets at least partially hand washed and dried before going in the laundry basket. It is not the ideal situation, for us, for sure, but there is nothing with W/D hookups anywhere close to where we live. We save a lot of money by renting an apartment over a house. And in terms of time, going to the basement doesn’t require too much time, especially when we only do laundry once a week on multiple machines. It probably consumes less of our time than those with their own units.

  45. Larabara says:

    When I was a young wife, we shared a 2-bedroom duplex with another married couple. I bought a washer, and they bought a dryer. We shared for 2 years until they moved out. I think I got the better end of the deal because when they moved out, they had to buy a washer–but I could still wash my clothes and air-dry them.

  46. Debbie M says:

    This happened to two people I know: the hose between the washer and the wall broke, thus causing a huge flood, in one case on the ground floor and in one case on the second. In both cases, the fixes were extremely time consuming and inconvenient (floors and walls pulled up and re-done). I think insurance helped with the repairs; not sure.

    And if you don’t clean your drier vent periodically, you might burn your house down.

    So, do inspect your washer hose and clean out your drier vent if you want these calculations to be at all relevant.

    (I do have a washer, and I have no drier connections, so I air dry my clothes. I have take clothes to a laundromat, even on a bus, where you want to make sure a towel is covering your unmentionables. I looked forward to reading while I was there, plus getting a small workout carrying all my clothes. Note that your thinner and synthetic clothing dries quickly–if you pull that out halfway through the cycle, the rest of the stuff is more likely to be done by the end of the cycle.)

  47. Shell says:

    We have never bought new washers or dryers unless the discount and rebates made the price comparable to a used one. We get a lot of mileage out of them, because we take good care of them. That being said, we only use the dryer as a last resort. I have lines strung on our patio that can be folded away when not in use and I also have a drying rack that can be folded when not in use.It helps if your appliances are energy star rated. If your figures are accurate. We save $76.00 a year. We also only wash after 7:00 0’clock at night, as it is cheaper. We wash about 4 loads a week, sometimes just three. We wear some clothing more than once and we use our towels at least twice. We have them hanging where they can completely dry inbetween. Another savings is dryer sheets, if you even use them. I haven’t had to buy any in forever.

  48. Luke G. says:

    @Debbie M

    “And if you don’t clean your drier vent periodically, you might burn your house down.”

    At first I read this to mean that you were talking about cleaning out your lint trap. If someone can’t handle doing that after every load, then they probably shouldn’t be living on their own…

    But, it’s true that the outside vent is often overlooked. Some places sell a cleaning tool that is basically a giant pipe cleaner that you can stick in the vent and use to move the debris out (also works for getting out stuff around the lint trap too).

    Another thing that can help reduce danger of a vent-based fire is to replace the flexible vent tubing that is often used with smooth metal vent tubing. The crinkles in the flex tubing can catch gobs of lint and even with the giant pipe cleaner you may not be able to reach it.

  49. AnnJo says:

    If you don’t overload your dryer and if you protect the airflow, there’s no reason it shouldn’t last 25-40 years. Mine is 31 years old and works fine. Just clean the filter before EVERY use, make sure the vent is the smooth metal tubing Luke G. mentions and is cleaned periodically, make sure you’re not running it in a room with inadequate air inflow, and vacuum under and behind it once in a while. Also, never dry fabrics with volatile substances on them (paint thinner, gasoline, kerosene, solvents, etc.).

    I’ve always dried pretty much everything on the low setting, since it’s gentler on the clothes and less likely to shrink things. I don’t know if that has also contributed to the longevity of the dryer.

    Please DO NOT leave your dryer going when you leave the house or when you go to bed at night unless you are truly compulsive about the above maintenance practices. There are some 15,000 dryer fires a year. If you’re at home and awake, there’s a chance you can limit your property damage. If you’re home and asleep, you or your kids might end up one of the dozen or two people who die each year.

    It’s also not a good idea to leave a washer going unattended, in case a hose should happen to break and flood your place. Rubber degrades with the passage of time. With car tires I know it’s seven years, I’d guess with hoses it is probably longer if you use only cold water, maybe the same if you use hot. If you do have to get a washer serviced for any reason, ask the technician if, given their age, it might be a good time to replace them.

  50. Marie says:

    When you own your own machine, you know what goes in and what comes out. If you leave something behind, it’s easy to retrieve it. Also, no worries of someone accidentally dumping a cup of bleach in the detergent dispenser before deciding to use another machine. Also, no worry about gum melded to the inside of a commercial dryer that may or may not find itself glued to your clothing. Also, you can control the temp and agitation much better with your own machine — keeps clothing looking new longer IMHO.

  51. Terri Sue says:

    my husband and i have been married over 30 years and have bought two washers and driers. the first pair lasted 23 years and 3 children in cloth diapers. now that adds a lot of loads to the figures. we had to replace it during our last move, when moving it jarred some rusted pieces loose and it leaked terribly the first time at our present home. considering we got more than our money’s worth out of that machine. the drier died the next year. the last three years i have taken to line drying. we didn’t put much money into that as we didn’t get an outside clotheline. we instead just screwed in big eyelets into our trees and strung line between them. i have 8 lines and can hang a weeks worth of laundry on the lines. since we use no dispsable paper goods except tp napkins, rags, and handkerchiefs take up a lot of room. thus the eight lines. the only time i use the drier is during times of extrem rainyness when i can’t hang things out.

  52. Brittany says:

    Man, I’m with Amy #30. Would I like to have an in-unit washer and dryer for convenience’s sake? Sure. Is it anywhere worth the money? No. I’ve been using laundromats for about 6 years, and I have never stayed with my laundry nor had any problems. The worst I’ve ever has is someone taking my clothes out of the washer or dryer and putting them on the (clean) table when I was late coming to switch them over (and that was a problem that was entirely my fault for being late). I think a washer and dryer definitely makes sense for a family with kids, but for a single person? If it makes sense, it’s from a personal preference and not financial perspective. It costs me $3.30 every 3 weeks or so to do my laundry (2 loads to wash, 1 to dry, hanging work clothes). At an average of $1.10/week, it would take about 3 years for me to even see the break even point on used equipment (equipment alone, ignoring in-home costs and ignoring that getting an in-apartment hook up is about $30 more a month in rent here). Not worth it.

  53. Brent says:

    why is my post still awaiting moderation? is there something offensive?

  54. Brent says:

    weird my post questioning why my other one is waiting moderation went through quickly, a resubmit of my last one and that is awaiting moderation. Please okay my other post and delete these Trent. There must be some filter that makes longer posts await moderation or something.

  55. Brent says:

    While this article is useful for someone trying to analyze getting a BRAND NEW washer/dryer alot of us choose to get old ones. There are many available on craigslist for under 100 bucks but there are also many in all sorts of price ranges. I created a chart which shows a break even number of loads for the cost of the washer/dryer based on trent’s anlysis of cost per load at laundromat and cost of the load at home but ignoring the cost per load on the washing machines and dryers since we are after all buying these things to run them to the dirt and this helps someone to decide how many loads they will be able to get out of a potential buy. I paid 100 bucks for my set from a stranger on craigslist and have been using them for the last two years no problem, so old appliances can be the way to go for some people. Anyways, my chart is at bit.ly/ptqCVT, its a published google doc that is interactive and will allow someone to view the data by hovering the mouse over the graph.

  56. Brent says:

    it was the hyperlink that makes it await moderation, thankfully that’s cleared up.

  57. Nikki says:

    I use a drop off/pick up service. I have a washer hook-up, but to install a dryer would cost at least $400 (electrician). I live in an apartment complex that has one area that’s fairly decent, but another that’s rather sketchy, and the laundromat is right between them. To do my laundry there costs approximately $7.50 and 2 hours. The service is approximately $20 and 10 minutes, and they fold and hang. Totally worth it to me, YMMV.

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