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Laundromats are public laundries that are used by many people who do not have a washer and dryer in their living space. Many of these laundries are maintained well and are fully sanitary. However, not all laundromats are maintained properly and may in fact be very unsanitary. Here are some tips that will help you determine if a given laundromat is sanitary and thus safe for use.
One of the more common signs that a laundromat is likely to be sanitary is the presence of an attendant during the hours of operation. Generally, the attendant will be responsible for cleaning the washers, dryers, folding tables and other elements of the space each day. This means washing out the washers and dryers to make sure there is no detergent residue remaining, remove any ink stains that may have been caused by a pen accidentally left in a shirt pocket, and checking and cleaning out the link trays. A disinfectant is applied to the folding tables each day, helping to minimize any germs left by other patrons. The attendant is also likely to vacuum or sweep the floor on a daily basis, and may also arrange to have the tile or carpeting professionally cleaned from time to time.
Attended laundromats may not receive the same level of attention as laundromats with an attendant on duty. The washers and dryers may not be cleaned as frequently and the floor is more likely to show more dirt. Because there is no one present to clean the space throughout the hours of operation, the level of laundromat sanitation suffers greatly, even if a cleaning crew comes in after hours once or twice a week.
Another indication of sanitary laundromats is the level of light in the space. A clean laundromat is more likely to have ample light over the folding tables and other work areas of the space. The light will be bright, making it possible to see every nook and cranny of the room. Laundromats that are not well maintained is likely to have fewer lights, making it harder for patrons to see any grime that has accumulated.
One sure sign of laundromat cleanliness is the general scent of the space as patrons walk in. A clean laundromat will have an aroma made up of the scents of detergent, bleach, and fabric softener that hints at freshness. There will not be an underlying smell of anything that is dirty or deteriorating. The general impression is that even if all the washers and dryers were not in use, the laundry would still have a clean smell.
A sanitary laundromat will also feature clean restrooms. If the men’s and ladies’ rooms are not maintained properly, it is a sure bet that the washers and dryers are not cleaned with any regularity. This means the possibility of picking up more germs while using the laundromat are increased significantly.
While there is no specific laundromat disease, the lack of proper sanitation in a laundromat may expose people to germs that lead to colds or other short-term health issues. Choosing to look for signs that the space is clean and well-maintained before using the laundromat will help to minimize the chances of picking up any unwanted bugs.
You can't see bacteria. Something might appear clean yet be riddled with ecoli from the previous person's underwear that lives in the washers. Studies have been done to prove it. Sometimes it can also survive the dryer. The only thing that kills it is extremely hot water. So to say that washers are clean because they appear clean or clothes come out clean, is not to say you haven't picked up germs that can make you sick.
An attendant isn't bleaching the machines between customers, or the counters and those wheeled baskets that people use. Those aren't sanitized between customers either, so there will be bacteria that is transmitted from the washer to the tables and baskets and then to your hands and clothes.
Studies prove that there is a high count of bacteria in home washers. Can you imagine how much higher that is in a public laundromat?
Where I live, there are very few coin operated laundromats. None of them are 24 hour laundromats or have full time attendants and they all smell of laundry detergent with a slight mildew odor. I have had to use a laundromat on several occasions when my dryer was on the blink or when I had a tremendous amount of laundry and was too impatient to do it at home. Although I have not found them to be extremely clean, I have been satisfied with the cleanliness of my laundry. I have often wondered how often the dryer lint traps are cleaned out and what type of bacteria they might contain.
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