Endeavoring to Enjoy Laundry Day Again

Doing the laundry was once my favorite chore. Toss in some clothes, loll around the house, and switch loads at my leisure. But that rosy picture is in the past. 

My current apartment has no in-home laundry unit, so I must regularly visit the penitentiary they call a Laundromat, where I am chained to my clothes lest the machine overflow or the dryer stop working, free only to attempt to read or work whilst perched on an uncomfortable chair while strangers eye my drying intimates. 

My Laundromat anxiety is heightened by my perfectionism. No matter how many times I do laundry out, I always mess up. I forget the towels I wanted to wash at home. I pick the off-balance washer or the half-power dryer. I load my soap and clothes only to realize the washer is broken. And I always drop fistfuls of clean clothes on the ground. Always. 

So yes, Laundromats are horrible, angst-inducing places, but I wanted to change my perception. I wanted to try to see the brighter side of Corvallis’s fine laundry offerings, so I decided to wash my clothes at  every single local laundry.

Here’s what I found. 

Best For Snacks
Campbell’s Laundry & Coffee Bar, 1118 NW 9th St. 

Basics: 

Hours: 5:30 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Capacity: 18 top-load, 9 double front-load, and 25 larger front-load washers, including 2 mega; 42 regular driers

Cost: $1.85 for top-load, $2 for double front-load, $3.75 to $6.50 for larger front-load washes; driers are $0.42 for 10 minutes 

Payment: You have to buy an Easy Card for $0.50. You can load it with cash at the machines or credit during coffee shop hours. Change machines and ATM on site. 

Free Internet: Yes

Bathroom: Requires a key, only available when attendant is on duty

Pros: Campbell’s on 9th, my go-to Laundromat, takes the entrepreneurial spirit award: It’s is the only local Laundromat that is also a fully stocked coffee shop. Plus, there’s free popcorn during coffee shop hours. And while it’s not the biggest Laundromat in town, I’ve never had trouble getting machines, even on the busy weekends.  

Cons: Carpeted floors always make the place feel a bit less clean than it probably is, given that the attendants are always vacuuming. I was a bit miffed that I had to invest $0.50 in the Easy Card, and the driers are spendy. 

Best Aesthetics
Kings Boulevard Cleaners, 9
08 NW Kings Blvd.
 

Basics: 

Hours: 5:30 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Capacity: 48 regular top-loading, 4 regular front-loading, and 8 mega washers, including 1 giant; 35 regular driers

Cost: $1.25 for top-load, $2.50 for double front-load, and $3 for mega-load washes; driers are $0.25 for about 8 minutes (time not clearly specified)

Payment: Cash only; change machines on site 

Free Internet: Yes

Bathroom: Requires a key  

Pros: It’s the largest and cheapest Laundromat on all factors, and especially for large loads. But in aesthetics is where it really wins: massive PNW landscape murals adorn the walls, the mega washers look like they belong on an early 20th Century steamer ship, and everything silver is polished to a shine. 

Cons: I’ve heard second hand that there’s no system for saving left-behind clothes here – if you leave them, they’re gone. I felt certain there was a code regarding which driers worked best that I wasn’t in on, and it was frustrating not to know the exact minutes I was paying for. I also couldn’t find an attendant when I needed a bathroom key, and there’s no ATM on site. 

Best For Peace And Quiet:
Campbell’s Laundry – Timberhill, 2525 NW Kings Blvd.

Basics 

Hours: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. 

Capacity: 17 regular top-loading, 4 regular high-efficiency, and 9 larger front-loading washers, including one mega; 20 regular driers and one mega dryer

Cost: $1.75 for top-load regular washes; front-loading machines range from $2 to $6.50 depending on size and water temp; driers are $0.25 for 6 minutes  

Payment: Cash only; change machines on site

Free Internet: Yes

Bathroom: Requires a key, only available when attendant is on duty

Pros: When I visited on a Saturday, I was one of only two people in the entire place, so minimal worry about people peeping your clothes. Also, I forgot some clothes in a dryer, and when I came back the next day, the attendant had them saved for me in the back. 

Cons: Like the other Campbell’s, it’s a bit spendy. It also has the shortest operating hours, the Internet seemed to only work for certain websites, and there’s no ATM on site. 

Best For Your Brain:
South Side Suds, 1910 SW 3rd St.

Basics: 

Hours: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Capacity: 4 top-load, 15 double front-load, and 2 mega front-load washers; 17 regular driers, 1 mega dryer

Cost: $3.25 for regular top-load, $1.50 for regular front-load, $1.75 for double front-load, and $6 for mega load washes; driers are $0.25 for 7 min.

Payment: Either download the Easypay app, link it to a credit card, and scan QR codes to pay through your phone, or note the number of your washer/dryer and pay using cash at the kiosk. You can also pay directly at the washers with cash, but it’ll cost you an extra $0.50 per wash. Change machines on site. 

Free Internet: Yes

Bathroom: Costs $0.25 or a token, which you can get for free from attendants who are on site for the laundry’s wash-and-fold service M-F 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Sat. 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. 

Pros: Cheapest front-load washers in town. Plus, while you’re waiting, you can look at surrealist art and informative posters on the wall (I learned about the scale of human and geologic time.) I also appreciated the effort put into communication – the bathroom policy is explained in detail, there’s a suggestion/refund box, and signs are provided for patrons to hang on machines they think might not be working. And the attendant took the time to thoughtfully explain their services to me. 

Cons: While I appreciated the many payment options, I found this to be the most difficult payment system to get up to speed on. I wanted to use cash, so to get the best price I used the kiosk, but it was difficult to remember the number of each washer and the type of wash required. There’s also no ATM on site. 

Best for Procrastination:
Suds & Suds, 1045 NW Kings. Blvd. 

Basics: 

Hours: Never

Capacity: None

Cost: N/A

Payment: N/A 

Free Internet: Yes

Bathroom: Included with food/beverage purchase 

I’d heard rumors that Suds & Suds, the bar attached to Woodstock Pizza, was so-named because it actually was a combination Laundromat/bar. And indeed, according to the Woodstock Pizza website: “Suds & Suds also has some other amenities. If you have dirty laundry, you can take advantage of our washers and dryers in the attached laundry room.”

I was stoked to try this little Laundromat and sip a beer while I waited, but when I arrived, the back room looked very out of service. I tentatively poked my head in, and I could barely see the laundry machines and driers through all the empty kegs and bicycles blocking them. I asked the bartender in the next room: is the Laundromat closed? He laughed and said I could try to do laundry in there, but he probably wouldn’t recommend it. Bummer.  

Pros: Not an actual Laundromat. So blow off those chores and order a pizza and beer!

Cons: Not an actual Laundromat. You’re going to have to clean your stinky clothes some other time…

Best For Your Budget:
Your Parents/Friend/Neighbor/Significant Other’s House

Basics: 

Hours: 24 hour

Capacity: Single washer and dryer 

Cost: Free, probably 

Payment: N/A

Free Internet: Almost certainly

Bathroom: Free – just knock before you barge in

Pros: If you’ve got someone in your life who’s willing to let you use their washer and dryer, load up your basket and get over there. A laundry outing typically costs me $10 to $15 – if I do laundry every other week for the entire year, accounting for a few extra loads here and there, I’m spending up to $400 a year washing these clothes! This option, however, will likely cost you nothing more than a coffee or beer for the favor.  

Cons: Feeling indebted to others.

By Maggie Anderson

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*