Should you do your laundry in the comfort of your own home or take it to a self-service laundromat in Brunei?

To learn more about the ‘laundry-math’, ‘Neue’ spoke to two Bruneian families – Fizah, a government sector employee, and her family of 5 , and Azmi, a private sector employee, who is living with four of his cousins.

Fizah, who hails from Kampong Beribi, says she prefers doing her family’s laundry at home rather than at a self-service laundromat.

Azmi, a resident of Kampong Serusop, on the other hand, believes that it’s so much more convenient for his cousins and him to do their laundry at any of the 24-hour laundromats in Brunei.

For this article, we will be looking at this from 3 perspectives – (1) Cost, (2) Time & (3) Experience.

#1. Cost

(Photos: Shutterstock)

The following assumptions are to be taken into consideration:

(1) There is no maintenance cost for 3 years for the washer and dryer that Fizah purchased for her home.

(2) Fizah and Azmi do the same amount of laundry each month – 15 rounds of laundry (9kg) each month (once every two days).

(3) Both Fizah and Azmi come from a household of 5.

How much over 3 years?

First, let’s look at the numbers provided by Fizah who does her own laundry at home and Azmi who prefers going to laundromats.

Doing laundry at home (Fizah):

Upfront cost of installing a washer and dryer = BND 1,200 

Monthly utility bills (electricity & water) = BND 50 

Detergent & softener (for each round of laundry) = BND 1 per wash

Doing laundry at laundromat (Azmi):

Upfront cost of installing a washer and dryer = N/A (cost is borne by laundromat operator)

Monthly utility bills (electricity and water) = N/A (cost is borne by laundromat operator)

Detergent & softener = N/A (cost is borne by laundromat operator)

Cost of using washer (9kg capacity) = BND 4 for warm water option 

Cost of using dryer = BND 3 for 30 minutes (BND 1 for each 10-minute interval) 

Travelling cost to get to laundromat = BND 1 per trip

The table below projects how much Fizah and Azmi would have spent on their families’ laundry over a period of 3 years.

So which is better in terms of cost?

If we are looking at this solely on operational cost, it would be CHEAPER to do you washing at home if you have lots of laundry rather than at a laundromat.

#2. Time

A boy plays with his mobile phone to pass the time at a laundromat

Doing laundry at home:

“I love the convenience of being able to do my family’s laundry at home,” said Fizah. “I do not have to spend about 15 minutes driving from my home just to get to a laundromat.”

Even though Fizah has a dryer at home, she said she prefers drying her laundry in the sun. “The smell of the sun is the best scent,” she said. “However, I often worry about leaving the clothes out to dry because the weather can sometimes be unpredictable.”

When asked how long it would take to dry her clothes, she said, “If it’s a bright sunny day, between 2 and 3 hours on the clothesline outside would do the trick. But if it’s indoors, it could take between 6 and 8 hours.”

Now, let’s take a closer look at the amount of time she spends doing laundry at home.

Washing: At least 40 minutes per round of laundry

Drying clothes (with a dryer): At least 30 minutes per round of laundry

Drying clothes (without a dryer): Between 2 and 3 hours (outdoors) or between 6 and 8 hours (indoors)

Travelling: N/A

Doing laundry at a laundromat:

“I miss the good old days of when my mom would help me with my laundry,” Azmi said. “Ever since I moved out of my parent’s home after I found a job, it has never crossed my mind to invest in a washing machine or dryer.”

When asked how much time it takes for him to do his laundry at a nearby laundromat, he said, “It would take me about 15 minutes to drive there (and to find parking). But this is a ‘small price’ to pay to enjoy the convenience of a 24-hour laundromat.”

Now, let’s take a closer look at the amount of time he spends doing laundry at a laundromat.

Washing: At least 40 minutes per round of laundry

Drying clothes (with a dryer): At least 30 minutes per round of laundry

Travelling: 15 minutes per trip

So which is better in terms of time?

If we were to compare the two solely from the perspective of time, doing laundry at home seems to be the SMARTER OPTION, as you do not have to spend time travelling.

#3. Experience

“Doing your laundry at home will always be more comfortable,” Fizah said. “One reason why I prefer doing it at home rather than at a laundromat is that I can do other things at home such as watching television in my living room or even taking a nap. There’s nothing you can do at a laundromat … you just sit and stare at the machines.”

Azmi disagreed with what Fizah said.

“Anyone who says there isn’t anything to do at a laundromat obviously has no idea what they are talking about,” he scoffed. “You could read a book, watch a TV show on your smart phone, run your errands or if you’re sociable, get to know the people you’re doing your laundry with at the laundromats. After all, they are also waiting for their laundry to be done.”

“You’d be surprised just how many people from your neighbourhood you’d bump into at the numerous laundromats that have popped up across the nation,” he added. “I would even go as far as saying that doing your laundry at a laundromat is therapeutic.”

So which is better in terms of experience?

Judging from what the two said, all signs point to LAUNDROMATS.

Final thoughts

In our opinion, if you are just to be doing lots of laundry, buying a washing machine would be more worth it in the long run.

However, if you do less than 9kg of laundry a week, then it would be better for you to go to a laundromat instead.

We’d love to hear what your thoughts about this.

Where will you be doing your laundry?