Back in our country, if we could afford the service, we had the househelp do our laundry. Here in Switzerland, you get to do it yourself. Either you do it for free if your flat already is furnished with a washing machine or for a fee if your flat has none and your building has a common laundry facility. Our flat is not furnished with a washing machine, I do my laundry in the common laundry area. With just a few instructions from the building manager, I easily got the hang of it. So how does paying the washing machine work? Here's a step by step instruction:
Step 1 Get a pre-loaded or prepaid laundry card from your friendly neighbor building manager. I usually load it with 40CHF monthly. I do laundry weekly and it costs me around 14CHF-20CHF per week. 20CHF will be enough for six washes of 5 kilos worth of laundry and 2 drying runs.
Step 3 After loading the card, choose the laundry settings. Examples of settings are Automatic - chooses the right setting for the volume of laundry loaded, Synthetic - for clothing that needs gentle washing, Blanc - For white clothes, Couleur - For colored clothes. Load your laundry after choosing your desired settings. DO NOT PRESS THE START BUTTON YET.
Step 4 Place your laundry detergent in the designated slot. It usually is the middle space. For guidance, our neighbors told me that pre-wash detergent is poured on the 1st slot on the left, main wash in the middle, and the fabric softener in the last slot. When all is set, PRESS THE START BUTTON, the monitor on the washing machine will indicate how many minutes it will take to wash your clothes.
Step 2 After getting the pre-loaded card and preparing all your laundry essentials (e.g. segregate by color, segregate by make, prepare your detergents), try using the card by inserting it in the gadget located near the washing machine, or in other cases, directly into the washing machine card slot. Follow the instructions on the monitor of the laundry card gadget. The monitor may only flash the instructions in either french or german. Here's my crude translation....insérez la carte - insert the cardcharger le linge - load the laundryretirez la carte - remove the card fermer la porte - close the door
Step 5 After the washing machine is done washing your clothes, DO NOT IMMEDIATELY takeout your laundry. Start the process of taking out your laundry by inserting your laundry card in the card slot. The reason for this is because the washing machine or the gadget will give you the change for the money you paid only if the volume of your laundry is smaller than the limit. The machine initially deducts 2CHF or 3CHF from your card. If the actual cost of the laundry is less, then it gives you back your change. SMART washing machines.