How does a shared laundry facility work?


Written by Annamaria

22 May 2022

Maybe you are thinking like what is this girl doing writing about laundry. Well, I’m writing the post for those who don’t have many experiences with doing their own laundry or using a shared laundry facility in Sweden because when I first came to Sweden, I was surprised to see how popular a shared laundry facility – ‘tvättstuga’ is. I thought at first that it might just be the case in the dorms but later I found out that you can find such facilities in the basements of many apartment buildings. So when you’ll move to Sweden, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll have to use one of these and that’s why I made this little guide. Not all laundry rooms look the same but the system is usually very similar.

Booking a time slot

Yellow table for booking time slots using lock and key.
Photo: Patrik Moravcik

In certain facilities, you might be able to book a time slot digitally through an app or a website. But in many buildings, it’s a simpler ‘old way’. You get a key and a lock (based on your room number) which you move around a table depending on when you’d like to do your laundry. On our board, you can pick a 5-hour time slot anywhere between 7:00-21:00 but typically you don’t do your laundry for 5 hours. Don’t worry! 😉 The option is also to skip this step and just do your laundry whenever a slot is empty. But if you decide to book a time slot, it is necessary that you do your laundry on time because if you are late, someone can ‘steal’ the washing machine. And also keep in mind that the washing machines are usually shut down after 21:00 until 7:00 the next morning.

Shared laundry room

In our apartment building, we have 2 laundry rooms that you can see in the picture. Each laundry room contains instructions on how to use the washing machines and the dryer. But often in Swedish, so get ready to do some serious Google Translating.

A girl standing in the middle of a room with two washing machines and dryer.
Photo: Patrik Moravcik

Washing machines

Each of our laundry rooms has two washing machines with many programmes with different temperatures depending on what you’re washing. The most commonly used temperatures are:

  • 30° Celsius – this temperature is typically for clothes that are more prone to shrinking (like silk or wool)
  • 40° Celsius – the most popular temperature used for most of your everyday clothes
  • 60° Celsius – recommended for your underwear and for towels (and similar laundry when you want to kill the bacteria)

Luckily, on most laundry, you can find which temperature is recommended to wash it at but it’s also good to keep in mind these little tips.

Two blue washing machines.
Photo: Patriik Moravcik

Of course, for washing you also require some detergent (and softener). You can get it in both liquid and powder form in Sweden. I prefer to use it in the form of capsules that you throw directly inside the washing machine. You can get a box for 20 washes and it costs about SEK 45 depending on the brand. For me, it’s the easiest detergent to use but there are also many other affordable options.

A 3 in 1 capsule detergent.
Photo: Patrik Moravcik

*Tip: Make sure you leave nothing in your pockets. And also, white and red don’t go together in the washing machine, unless you really love pink. 😀

Drying the laundry

Our facility also includes 2 dryers and a drying room. On the dryer, you can also choose the programme and temperature. My advice would be not to use a very high temperature because it is bad for your clothes. There are also certain things that you should not put in a dryer. I listed some of them for you below:

  • bathing suits
  • rubber-backed bathroom rugs
  • activewear
  • bras
  • delicate fabrics
  • sweaters
  • silk stockings
A dryer and trash can.
Photo: Patrik Moravcik

If you are wondering about the costs, the shared laundry room is usually for free or part of your rent, so typically, you do not pay for it additionally. Hopefully, this guide makes your shared laundry experience a little easier and also shows you what to expect. Laundry time is a big deal in Sweden, so get ready for it!

Bye for now… I gotta do my laundry!

A photo taken from the inside of a washing machine when a girl is putting a towel into the washing machine.
Photo: Patrik Moravcik

Written by Annamaria

22 May 2022