You’re going to need quarters—lots of them
New York City laundromat machines run on quarters. As it turns out, however, so does your neighborhood bodega, grocery store, and sidewalk stand. Rather than relying on nearby businesses—or even less dependable, the laundromat’s change machines—for coins, exchange your cash for quarters at the bank before laundry day. On average, one load will cost you $2.25 to $3.50 to wash, and 10 to 15 minutes of drying time will run you about 25 cents.
You don’t have to wait around for your laundry to be done…
Between waiting for an available machine and the wash and drying cycles to complete, doing laundry takes time; thankfully, no one expects you to remain trapped in the laundromat the whole while. Once your load is good to go, so are you. Many locals will use this time to run other errands, relax at a nearby café or restaurant, or, if they live within a few blocks’ radius, even wait out their wash in the comfort of their own home.
…But be sure to be there when it’s finished
While it’s socially acceptable to leave your laundry as it’s washing or drying, you’re going to want to be there by the time your load has finished—partly to be considerate of others who may be waiting to use the machines and partly because New Yorkers tend to be impatient. At some point, you’ll likely see a load of clean laundry that an irked neighbor has removed from a machine and dumped haphazardly around the laundromat—don’t let it be yours.
We’ve covered the cruciality of quarters, but you’ll need to prepare for your laundromat visit in other ways as well. In order to avoid paying more for materials such as detergent and dryer sheets, bring your own with you rather than purchasing these items at the laundromat, which will hike up prices. Once you’ve saved money, save time by sorting your laundry into whites and darks before you get to the laundromat.
Consider timing when planning your trip
The best times to use a laundromat—when you’re likely to find more free machines and fewer people—are weekday mornings and afternoons. If you can’t avoid a weekend trip, time your visit for as early in the day as possible.
Some laundromats make even the most boring chore enjoyable
In typical New York City style, many laundromats boast unique features designed to make errands entertaining. Do your research before choosing a laundromat, and you may find some rewards, such as complimentary wifi, a massage chair, retro arcade video games, and even free brunch.
There’s more than one way to use a laundromat
From grocery shopping to driving, New Yorkers love to outsource. For busy locals, laundry is no exception, and many laundromats offer services, which allow you to drop off your laundry and pick it up after it’s been washed and folded. Most businesses charge by the pound, with additional costs for heavier items, such as comforters and towels.