Battle in the laundry room


Most Swedes have never visited a public laundromat. Never had to carry their laundry on the bus to get to the nearest one. Never had to stand in line to wait for a machine. Never had to remain in the laundromat with the loaded machine for fear that the clothes might get stolen.

This is because, as a fantastic standard, all Swedish apartment blocks have their own laundry room and many Swedes also have a washing machine in their apartment. The communal laundry room is included in the service charge that each resident pays and, in most places, is a constant source of irritation and discussion. Typical bones of contention are:

– that it’s difficult to get a wash time
– that people steal each others was times
– that people use/borrow/steal washing powder
– that people don’t empty the driers of their clothes
– that people are noisy
– that people don’t clean up after themselves

There’s a lot to get irritated about and people really seem to enjoy fighting over the laundry room.

Swedes in general strike me as a cleanly people. It seems like the washing machines are in constant use and the driers are always humming. But sometimes this can go a bit over the top.

A family in the town of Karlstad have recently been in court because their neighbours complained they were too clean. Apparently, the couple were regulars in the laundry room – as much as 11 times per month. This created a lot of noise and made it difficult for the other residents to get access to the washing machines. The court ruled against the happy washers – in the eyes of law, they had washed too often.

It’s amazing what people take to the courts. And it’s even more amazing that there is a ‘law’ about what’s an appropriate amount of times to do the laundry in a communal laundry room.

I guess if you’re a clean freak and you live in Sweden, the conclusion is obvious – get your own washing machine!

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