Washing clothes in Switzerland

Washing machines in Germany and Switzerland are smaller and more energy efficient than those in the U.S. A normal washing cycle can take as long as 90 minutes, and a deep cleaning can take up to 3 hours!

Here is the room in my apartment building where the washing machines are kept:

The spin cycle of the better machines can reach over 2000 revolutions per second – this is an amount that is so high, in many cases the more delicate clothes cannot handle the stress and they are damaged. Needless to say, after spinning at these high speeds the clothes are effectively dry when they leave the machine.

Here is the little box where you add the detergent and, if you use it, the softening agent:

In my building, the machines were in use nearly 24×7 – and we have 8 washing machines and 8 dryers!  Well, it turns out the machines were not being used by the residents, but rather the friends of residents – whole families even!

So recently they installed a charging mechanism.  You can charge up a little chip here:

Then to activate a washing machine or a dryer, you hold the chip up to this device mounted next to the machine you want to use:

The costs are almost negligible – I think CHF 0.50 to wash clothes and to dry them. But . . . since the charging mechanism was installed, now the machines are only used by people in the building. Generally speaking, there are always at least 2-3 machines available whenever I want to use one!