Washing machines at launderette

How to Use a Launderette – Complete Guide

Launderettes have got your back in a pinch. Whether your washing machine is down, you’re away from home, or you just fancy having someone else do your laundry – the launderette’s industrial machines will speedily wash and dry your load.

Most launderettes are coin-operated, so you should bring various coins. You should also bring laundry supplies, although many launderettes sell washing powder for a fee.

To use a launderette, choose an empty machine, insert your coins and washing powder, and select a wash or dry cycle. You can wait in the launderette or leave until the cycle is complete.

I’ll thoroughly discuss the different steps of using a launderette in the rest of this article, including how to use the launderette’s washing machines, tumble dryers, and services.

Let’s get your fabrics laundered without any snags!


What to Bring to the Launderette

Before rolling up to the launderette with an armful of dirty clothes, you need to gather some equipment. Each launderette varies, but it’s best to come prepared with these items.


Machines at launderettes are typically coin-operated. To use the self-service washing machines, you should bring a mix of 50p and £1 coins.

The launderette’s tumble dryers usually cost 20p for a set amount of minutes, which can be topped up to extend your laundry’s drying time.


Other payment methods

If the launderette offers a service wash, you’ll probably be able to pay for this by card. A few self-service launderettes may also take card payments, but I’d recommend bringing coins to be safe!


Washing powder

Measuring Scoop of Washing Powder

Launderettes may sell individual branded packets of washing powder or dispense powder into a cup, typically sold through a coin-operated machine or an attendant.

Regardless, washing powder at the launderette costs you more than it would at the supermarket, so try coming armed with your own. Make sure you have enough powder for your load.

The same goes for detergent, but I’d recommend using powder since washing machines at the launderette will usually do a prewash. This means you’ll have to add detergent twice, whereas powder will wait in the dispenser until it’s required.


Fabric conditioner or dryer sheets

If you condition your laundry, you can bring your own fabric conditioner or dryer sheets to use at the launderette.

Like washing powder, fabric conditioner is usually sold at the launderette for an inflated price – be economical by bringing your own.


A laundry bag

You could always just shove your laundry into a bin bag if you’re pressed for time, but a cloth laundry bag is the stylish option for transporting your loads.

Using a plastic or metal laundry basket is an option, but it’ll be bulkier and make it harder to navigate the launderette. Instead, bring a durable laundry bag like these Urban Villa natural cotton drawstring bags.

The launderette will probably also offer communal laundry baskets if you need them.


Your laundry

While this title should serve as a reminder to bring your laundry to the launderette, I also recommend sorting your laundry before you go.

If you’ve got more than one load, you can save time by separating your laundry into colours and fabrics at home. Transport the loads in separate laundry bags to avoid faffing about at the launderette, especially if it’s a busy time.


How to Use the Self-Service Washing Machines

Seeing a massive row of industrial washing machines can be confusing. Follow these easy points for a seamless washing experience.

1. Pick your washing machine(s)

The launderette will have self-service washing machines available in different sizes. The bigger the machine, the bigger its price, so stick to the smallest machine that your load will fit in.

Once you’ve picked your machine, check that it isn’t being used. If there’s a load in there, you’ll need to wait for that customer to finish their laundry or find a different machine.

Also, if an item has been left behind in the drum, you can tell an attendant or leave it on top of the washer.

If you have two or more loads to do, you can leave multiple machines running at once to save time. It’s best to make sure your washing machines are next to each other, both to keep an eye on your laundry and to avoid hopping around the launderette.

If the launderette is busy, it’s considered rude to take up multiple machines, and you should probably just stick to one.


2. Load your washing machine(s)

Fill the drum of your chosen machine(s) with your laundry, ensuring it’s got enough space to turn. If you’re using multiple machines, fill them at the same time.

Pour your washing powder or detergent into the dispenser or soap compartment, using your normal amount. You can also pour fabric softener into the softener dispenser tray at this point.


3. Pay and select your cycle

Make sure the washing machine’s door and compartments are shut, then gather your coins.

Insert the correct number of coins into the slot on the machine, then select your wash cycle depending on your load’s colours and fabrics. Typically, the cycle will be selected with a dial and begun with a “Start” button, but this depends on the machine.

There should be instructions on the machine itself or on a sign within the launderette. If you’re having trouble figuring out the machine, ask an attendant or another customer for a hand.


4. Wait for your cycle to finish

Waiting for clothes at launderette

If you’re not the patient type, you’ll be pleased to know that the launderette’s washers and dryers are a lot speedier than domestic machines. A standard wash might only take around 35 minutes, compared to over an hour at home.

Still, you don’t need to wait within the launderette. You can run some quick errands or go for a walk while your cycle runs, but make sure you’re back in time to unload it – other customers will want to use the machine.

If you’re waiting in the launderette, there are usually folding chairs or benches to use. Bring a book or listen to the relaxing white noise of a spin cycle.


5. Unload your washing machine

Taking clothes out of launderette washing machine

When your cycle ends, you’ll need to unload your laundry. Sort your loads back into their respective laundry bags, double-checking the drum for stray socks.

With that, your laundry is clean. If you have the means, I’d recommend drying your laundry at home for a cheaper experience. Otherwise, you can use the launderette’s tumble dryers.


How to Use Tumble Dryers in a Launderette

The launderette’s professional tumble dryers are powerful, and they’ll blast your clothes dry far quicker than a domestic dryer. They’re also easy to use, just follow these steps!

1. Pick and load your tumble dryer

The launderette will probably have tumble dryers with different capacities. Pick a dryer that suits your load and leaves room in the drum for the air to circulate.

To save money, you should use a dryer after another customer since it’ll take less time to heat up.

After choosing your dryer, clean the lint filter if necessary, load your wet laundry into the drum, alongside any dryer sheets or dryer balls, and close the door.


2. Pay and select your cycle

Like the washing machine, your tumble dryer will probably take coin payments. There should be a guide indicating the cost for set amounts of minutes.

You should insert coins equal to the amount of drying time you need. For example, £1 may amount to 10 minutes of drying time, so you would insert £1.40 for 14 minutes.

Coins can be inserted throughout the cycle to extend the drying time if you think your clothes need longer.

The launderette’s tumble dryers are usually gas-powered and can get hot very quickly, so you might only need 20 minutes to dry sheets or 30 minutes for thick material.

You can select your cycle’s temperature using a dial or screen. Be sure to read the drying instructions on your items; some fabrics can’t handle high temperatures.


3. Unload your dry clothes

Drying cycles finish quicker than wash cycles, so you’ll have less time to wait, but you can still leave the launderette while your laundry dries. Make sure you’re back in time to unload the machine!

Once finished, unload your dry laundry from the drum, ensuring no sneaky socks have escaped your notice.

Some launderettes may want you to clean the lint filter as a courtesy, which can be found at the bottom of the tumble dryer.


4. Fold your laundry and store it

The launderette will have tables available for folding clean clothes – these may be folding tables. You can use these to fold your dry clothes before you store them back in your laundry bags.

Otherwise, shove your dry clothes back in their sack and you’re done!



How Much Does It Cost to Use a Launderette in the UK?

The price you’ll pay to have your clothes cleaned at a launderette will vary depending on several factors.

These include what part of the country you’re in, how popular the launderette is, what size machine you use, how much laundry you have, the length of the cycle, whether you use an independent launderette or a chain, and if you need to buy any cleaning products on the day.

As a quick guide here are some figures for you (these are averages prices):

  • A small wash (using a small machine with a 10 kg capacity) can cost upwards of £3 per load.
  • A large wash (using a large machine with a capacity of about 18-22 kg) can cost upwards of £4.50 per load.
  • Dryers can cost £1 to run for 10 minutes. But you’ll be looking at spending at least £2 to £3 on this service to make sure your laundry is dry. You may also have to add additional money to the machine to top up the minutes.

Tip: It would be beneficial for you to find a launderette in your area and get a price list from them. You can then work out roughly how much this type of service is going to cost you. The above figures should be used as a guide, and are subject to change.  


How to Use a Launderette Service

A launderette probably won’t just have self-service machines – it may also offer various washing and drying services. These aren’t only for businesses, so you can leave your domestic laundry with a professional.

If your launderette offers services, you can simply turn up with a bag of unsorted dirty laundry. An attendant will sort, wash, dry, and fold your items, ready for collection later that day or the next.

Payment varies depending on the launderette, but you should be able to use your card to pay when you deposit the load.



Using a launderette is designed to be as painless as possible, and its machines should have instructions like these to guide you through.

No launderette is the same, so this guide won’t cover everything. If you’re having any trouble, ask an attendant or another customer for advice.

You could also phone the launderette or contact them online before visiting if you have specific questions.