Europe 2016 Day 9.1: Lavaxpres

It’s Friday again, and I am supposed to take a break from Europe-blogging because there are less readers on weekends. But this post is… is not about sightseeing or food. In fact I think it is kind of boring. I only want to write this is a reference, and maybe be of some help to people who might… who might need the information that I will be sharing. So let’s do it today anyway…

Today I am going to tell you about using the laundromat in Barcelona!


[7 MARCH 2016, MONDAY]

I left it till the day I was leaving (today) to do my laundry because I wanted to maximize the load to wash and hence maximize the value for money I spend for doing laundry.

I was initially extremely frustrated when I was researching this city prior to coming, because my Google searches on coin laundry Barcelona, laundromat Barcelona, laundry shop Barcelona did not yield satisfactory results. I was going to be here for a week, and I was worried that I could not get some dirty clothes washed while I was here. That would royally suck, because I’m not used to wearing the same t-shirt more than 1 day, and I do not exactly have very many t-shirts to pack.

Turns out I have been searching the wrong terms. Laundry is called Lavanderia in Spanish, and Bugaderia in Catalan. So if you search for Lavanderia Barcelona or Bugaderia Barcelona, you will get infinitely better results.

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Actually, you don’t even need to bother. Barcelona is very much like the rest of Europe (Western Europe at least). There are laundromats (self-service laundry) littered all over the city that you will surely come across at least a few if you pay close attention when doing your sightseeing. So, washing your dirty clothes can be done rather cheaply.

I went to the one closest to my hotel. The laundromat is called LavaXpres (Lavanderia Express?). I think this is a laundromat chain as I came across quite a few of them during my walks around Barcelona. Of course there are laundromats of other names, but they work more or less the same.

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These laundromats typically opens from 8 AM – 10 AM daily, and they are entirely self-service. Some of them probably accepts only coins, but the one I went to accepts either coins or bank notes.

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Washers and dryers and chairs for you to sit and wait

It is actually very easy to use the machines here, I would say almost idiot-proof. There’s only buttons to set temperature (which you can ignore if you want default setting) and the Start button on either the washers or the dryers. Then there’s 1 centralized cash point (payment machine) where you pay and select the machine number to operate.

There is no such thing as 100% idiot-proof because, well, idiots will be idiots so they will invariably fuck up regardless of how easy you make it for them.

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Cash point/payment machine

I’ll tell you how to make things work here…

Washing

  1. Load your clothes into an empty washer and take note of the machine’s number.
  2. Go to the cash point, select language, then select [Wash or buy products].
  3. Buy detergent and softener first, they cost 1€ each for a one-load packet, and will be dispensed through the hole below. This step is optional and can be skipped if you have your own detergent.
  4. Select [Wash], press the correct machine number, and pay the indicated amount by cash.
  5. Take your detergent and softener back to your washer machine, pour the contents into the right compartments (or just pour them all onto your clothes inside the machine, like me), and close the lid.
  6. Set your preferred temperature (optional), then press the Start button.
  7. Washing takes 40 minutes to complete. The poster indicating 30 minutes is a lie. A 9kg load costs 4€ to wash (as of March 2016).

This is the recommended step-by-step to do it. Of course, you can always go to the cash point to pay first, then buy your detergent, then load your clothes into the machine last. That would be the most efficient way in terms of number of steps you have to walk back and forth. But I read in forums that sometimes when there are many people in the laundromat,  there might be assholes who will peek over the cash point to see which machine you are paying for, then load their clothes into your washer and run away while you are still in the process of buying detergent. If you load your clothes first then it becomes inconvenient for those assholes to steal your machine.

Drying

Same steps as Washing, but minus the detergent stuff and select Dry instead of Wash. Drying takes 45 minutes to complete. A 14kg load costs 4€ to dry (as of March 2016). Don’t ask me why the washing and drying capacity is different, I don’t know, it is what it is…

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If you are an idiot, you will ignore this sign, then wonder why your shoes is ruined

You could of course sit here and wait for the washing and drying to be done. It’s 40 minutes and then 45 minutes.

Not me. I loaded the clothes for washing, then went off to explore the La Boqueria market (next blog post) for a bit, came back to switch my load to drying, saw that I was still the only user and decided that I could afford to be late a bit to come back to collect my dried clothes later, so I went off to have my baguette and churros breakfast at Granja M. Viader

I made it back about an hour later to collect my clean and dry clothes. Nothing was missing, so it was all good. Total cost for me was 9€ (4€ wash + 4€ dry + 1€ detergent). I never understood the purpose of softeners so I did not get it. Last time when I was in the US, I used softener for a few times and did not find any additional softness in my clothes.


Also, I just realized that today is actually a Thursday and not Friday! But I’m too lazy to edit the beginning of this post…

Meaning I have to go to work tomorrow! And I have to think of something else to write for tomorrow!

Fuck! Why did I think today is Friday??!!

16 Comments

  1. It is interesting to hear coin laundry washing is still a thing in Barcelona. Haven’t see too many laundromats in Australia. Great that you don’t have to watch your clothes while it is being watched, and it doesn’t sound like people are there to steal your clothes.

    I am more than happy wearing the same shirt and pants for three days in a row. But certainly they need a wash after that 😀

    • Not just Barcelona, I think it is still quite popular throughout western Europe and especially the US. Apparently Japan too. How to budget travelers do their laundry in the Oz I wonder 🙄 … Or maybe there’s not very many budget travelers in the Oz to begin with…

  2. Is Friday today ya!!

    Normally I would pick those hostel got laundry services, so that I can wash my clothes, I always happy to do that, because that’s the moment when I can sit down loitering around in the hostel talk to people from all around the world, hehe!

    • I don’t think I would go for hostel again when I travel. It would be either hotel, or AirBnb… I’m a hermit, so I don’t prefer to make small talks with many people 🙄 …

  3. Not boring at all. I read every word and learnt how to do laundry in a laundromat, something I’ve never done before. It makes more sense to load your washing first before paying like what you did.

  4. Actually… quite a useful post! One of the worst things about traveling for extended periods is having dirty clothes. I’d rather be able to pack light and do a load or two while away.

    • Same here. I prefer to pack light, because… well… you never know if you will grab some nice clothes where you are going, and who knows what else you might buy, so better to go as light as possible.

  5. You must be wishing tomorrow you don’t have to go to work so you thought today is a Friday.

    Thanks for this detailed post. Very informative.

    Was there a weighing machine there for you to weigh your clothes to ensure they did not exceed the load capacity of the machines? Do you know what is the weigh of your clothes you put into the washing machine?

    Luckily you realised that today is not Friday else tomorrow you don’t go to work thinking it is a Saturday and your boss will call you then, haha.

    • My way was more accurate than weighing machine. My washing machine at home is 7kg capacity, I have been washing identical loads in it for 2 yrs without problem, so it most definitely is not over 9kg hahaha! I’m not sure if there is a weighing machine there or not, I did not notice it… 🙄

      I wonder if I could use “I thought today is Saturday” as my excuse to skip work or not. 🙄

  6. How I really wished that today is Friday already. It has been a lousy week at work.

    How heavy was your luggage of clothes?? I have seen idiots washing their canvas shoes inside the machines. The loss is theirs but I guess the machine owners are worried on the damage possibilities by bigger shoes.

    After traveling for many years and finally carrying just a cabin bag each to save time, we tried to do laundry at the hotel in Japan for the first time recently. We had very minimal clothes to rotate, so it was necessary to wash since nearly all Japanese hotels have washing machines with dryers and iron boards for all to use. Oh my god, their washers are so damn slow!! After almost 1.5 hours, my pants were still damp.

    • My luggage with everything was 14 kg when I left KLIA and 22 kg (limit) when I came back. My clothes alone, probably a few kg. Definitely not hitting the machine’s limit…

      You mean hotels in Japan have those coin laundry rooms too? That’s news to me! I’ll take note of this crucial info! Thanks!

      • I dare say 99% of capsule, budget and up to 4 star Nihon hotels have coin operated laundry machines with iron boards! You can view all their facilities photos when you click any hotel booking websites. Many have coin operated vending machines for assorted drinks and snacks too. These are very thoughtful hotels as most of their guests are office workers on business trips who retire at midnight and leave before sunrise. I often paid attention to their hectic and pitiful lifestyles when they soaked in the onsen while waiting for their laundry! Most of them could only carry laptop bags with the clothes & suit they wear. Their business culture would not see the visitors lugging their suitcase to meetings unless they are high positions. Oh well, I have worked in Japanese companies before so can show off sikit here… ahem ahem…

        • This is really good news to me, I mean the coin laundry thing. I know how pitiful the Japanese office workers are, after all I am currently working directly with some of them. 😐

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