Travel Adventures

Laundry Day!

That’s right, it’s laundry day! Laundry day dawned grey and dreary, with many a cloud in sight. Rather than let that get me down, I decided to look at this as an adventure. Now that I’ve spent some quality time with the laundry room, I would like to share the process with you.

Swedes don’t do laundry the same way we do in the United States. Most apartment buildings have shared facilities, but chaos does not reign. Rather than go about this haphazardly, I will describe the process from start to finish and include pictures 😃 Enjoy!

The first step in utilizing the laundry room in your apartment building is to reserve a time slot. In our particular building, there isn’t actually a laundry room… My first step involves going to the building next door (really, just 20 or 30 feet); then up some steps, then down some steps, then into the laundry area. I understand now how Swedes stay so fit…

Reserving time slot

Upon arrival at the laundry area, I found a large board that had little numbered locks. After wracking my brain, I finally remembered our lock number and selected a day and time when I would want to do laundry. Laundry slots last for 4 hours each. There is an extra hour padded in at the end where you may continue to use the drying facilities. So, technically if your slot is 10am to 2pm, you are able to use the facilities until 3pm.

Today, I headed down to the laundry room door, turned the key, and there it was…a tidy and efficient laundry room. There are two washing machines and one very large dryer. These are free for all residents to use, as is customary throughout the city (I can’t speak for other cities, but I’ve been assured this is true throughout Göteborg).

After loading the machines, I inevitably try to understand the guide for which setting to use (of course in Svenska…). Thankfully, the temperatures, times, and spin speeds are display so I just pick quick cycles at the right temperatures. One caveat I’ve discovered is that if a washing machine here says there is 6 minutes left, or even 1 minute left, that minute may just last a half hour. Kind of like American football 😉

Once the loads finish, it is time to dry! Those items that can be dried in the dryer should at this point be entering the industrial sized dryer…but that is not necessarily the case. I’ve noticed that dryers in both the UK and the Sweden, aside from those at laundromats, do not dry as quickly as I am accustomed. Why does it take 2.5 hours to dry a load of laundry??? This makes no sense. The time does decrease slightly with my wool dryer balls, but it is still in excess of 1.5 hours.

At this point, I find myself grasping for ways to minimize the amount of clothes entering the never ending dryer cycle. Also, you may be wondering about the clothes that cannot go in the dryer. Clearly I can’t leave the laundry hanging overnight in the laundry room. That would be a mess. Then again, our apartment is much too small to crowd it with a bunch of laundry. Swedes anticipated this! Let me introduce you to the torkrum.


This clever room is full of hanging rods with air vents that will literally blast warm air into the room to dry your things in record time. More gentle than the dryer and faster than having them hanging throughout the apartment. Genius! I’ve discovered that most laundry is dry within one to two hours of sitting in this room. That’s less time than the dryer in our old house required! By far, my favorite use of this room is drying our waterproof mattress cover. Anyone out there with a toddler or even just an expensive mattress knows the value of a waterproof cover for the bed. Unfortunately, most of them advise against drying in the dryer and they take FOREVER to air dry. This room makes drying that cover quick (quick is relative here people!) and easy. The only negative to the torkrum is that it is designed with Swedes in mind. I’m probably about 8 inches shorter than the average Swede, so jumping is required😛

There is one downfall to the torkrum that I feel compelled to share. You know how towels get super crunchy after drying outside in the sun? The torkrum creates this same phenomenon. I am not a fan. Thusly, I try to throw the towels into the dryer for about 10 minutes after they are dry, just to remove the crunch.

As an interesting aside, we were one of the few families I knew in the UK with a dryer. Most families seemed to have drying cupboards, drying racks, or drying lines in their homes. This may be part of the reason there is such a prevailing acceptance of damp (mold). Being a bit pampered, I was unable to get on board with this way of life. One of our first purchases was a condenser dryer from John Lewis. Best money I spent the entire time in the UK. I put a link here to one on for you to check out. Condenser dryers don’t seem to be as common in the US, so the US site doesn’t show many styles. It’s a shame. As much as they are super slow on drying, there is something pretty cool about not needing a vent tube and just emptying out a tub of water every few loads. The freedom of sticking a dryer wherever you want is pretty awesome.

I hope you enjoyed this trip through our Swedish laundry room.

Until next time…


One thought on “Laundry Day!

  1. Pingback: The Human Family | Toddling through Europe

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