With such high quality of life standard in Switzerland, you might be shocked to find out that in a large majority of apartment buildings, you have to share a laundry room with your neighbors.
In many countries, you might not have your own laundry machine, but at least there are plenty of 24/7 laundromats that allow for doing laundry whenever you desire.
The unique thing about Switzerland is that there is a stringent system for even the menial task of doing laundry. If you are a renter in an older apartment complex, you are likely not to have your own laundry machine.
The low-down on shared laundry rooms in Switzerland:
- The roster on the left-hand side is from a more liberal laundry room. It shows all the available slots for tenants to claim.
- In most Swiss apartments, though, tenants are assigned a particular laundry day (“Waschtag”) or time slot. This could be every Wednesday, every other Wednesday, or every other Wednesday from noon until midnight.
- The frequency of laundry days (or lack thereof) can cause imminent back-ups. Think about the amount of gym gear sets, kids’ clothes or work shirts one needs… (Zalando, here we come!)
- It is not uncommon for Swiss to schedule their social activities or home office days around their laundry slots.
- On the right-hand side is the code of conduct, mandating one cleans the laundry machine after use, removes any lint from the dryer or sweeps the floor.
- You can imagine that neighbors failing to comply are a source of conflict...
Thus, you have to conform with the system and sign up for a certain date and hour of day to do your laundry.
Can you imagine how inconvenient it might be to be left with Tuesday mornings from 10 AM until noon? It all depends on your landlord, but most places will only allow you to do laundry once per week (I have even heard stories of only twice per month)...
My point is:
1. Washing your clothes in the same laundry machine as your long-haired neighbor is not fun.
2. To follow such a tight schedule can be a pain, especially for those who work, are into sports, or have kids (or all of these!)
This video depicts the reality of having to share a washer with neighbors:
Portable washing machines for apartments
Interestingly, enough renters seem to feel the same because there is a niche market for tiny, portable laundry machines in Switzerland. Advertised as "minimum size, maximum throughput" or "fits anywhere", these Port-O-Laundro's will easily fit underneath your bathroom sink...
Just so we are clear though, this perceived, new-found freedom should not be abused with late night laundry parties, as most apartments have (surprise!) strict noise policies...