Taking your laundry to the lavanderia is truly one of the small luxuries in life. The smell and, most importantly, the convenience are little things I truly treasure. Thankfully Mérida offers a number of affordable laundry services. When you consider how inexpensive it is to take your clothes to a lavanderia, you will never want to do laundry again. Read on to learn how much is laundry in Mérida.
Here is the actual cost ⤵️
15 pesos per kilo is the going rate with a minimum of 3 kilos. You will pay a bit more for towels, sheets, blankets, and other items that may take a little more time to wash or dry.
A typical trip for me runs between $80 and $95 pesos or $4.25 to $5.25 USD which is about 2 weeks’ worth of clothes. This bargain is actually quite surprising especially when you consider how much time and energy you save by having someone else do it for you.
Neighborhood lavanderias can be found all over Mérida with some offering pickup and delivery services.
The best part?
The clothes smell wonderful and it is literally a breath of fresh air to open up one of these laundry packages!
What is the difference between a lavanderia and a tintoreria?
A traditional lavanderia has a woman who will receive your clothes, weigh them and ask you if you want any additional services like ironing. Some of them offer pick up and drop off services for a nominal fee depending upon the distance of your house from the location.
A tintoreria is our version of a dry cleaner. You will have to search a little harder for this service as they are not as prevalent in neighborhoods as a lavanderia is. Just as in the U.S., they will charge you according to the type of garment and the service you need.
Very infrequently, you will come across a location which offers both of these services. This is a great find.
These are the coin-operated laundromats. You can google auto lavanderia to find the locations.
They are more likely to be on the outskirts of the downtown/Centro area in the more local areas of the city. You will also want to verify the times they are open as they close quite a bit earlier than U.S. laundromats.
News flash –
For a true laundromat, the name should end in lav or lava such as Mayalav or Merilava.
You might be wondering, can you take everything to the lavanderia in Mérida?
Yes, you can. You can literally take everything to the lavanderia and just drop it off.
However, I don’t drop everything off at the lavanderia.
Here’s what I don’t take :
- I do not take any of my underwear, bras, or cotton tank tops. I prefer to wash these items in my kitchen sink and hang them out on my clothesline to dry.
- Items that need a little special handling are best done by my own hands.
- Sometimes, I will get dark t-shirts back with little bits of white lint on them like they had been dried with towels. This is not a problem but can be a bit annoying.
- If you have a favorite pair of socks, you may consider washing these at home. I have had random pairs of socks in with my return load, rarely, but it has happened.
The Glorious Dryer Called The Sun
If you are one of the fortunate few who has a washer, chances are you may not have a dryer.
There are some combination units sold here which have a washer and a dryer together. I had one of these machines when I lived in London and it was very convenient although a bit odd.
Truth be told, there is nothing better than drying your clothes using the glorious, bright, and warm sun.
Around town, you will see numerous lines hanging with freshly washed clothes whether on a rooftop, a backyard, or by an open window.
On a normal weather day, which is hot and sunny, in Mérida, clothes will dry within an hour or two of putting them up.
Remember to turn your clothes inside out so as to minimize sun bleaching.
Just like the fragrance of the clothes from the lavanderia, the aroma from clothes hanging in the sun and breeze is fresh. It’s a memory from the past that is wonderful and unique.
What about using a clothesline?
The best clotheslines are the synthetic ones with the plastic clothespins which are easily found in most grocery stores.
String it between the hammock hardware outside or from a fence and a cactus, if needed. Make sure your line is sturdy and anchored well. You won’t like it if your line sags causing your freshly laundered clothing to touch the ground. Most importantly, ensure the clothespin is clipped securely.
Get this . . .
If you want a good laugh, here is a funny story about flying underwear: Motorizado se accidenta por calzón volador en La Ceiba.
An Interesting History of Laundry
The inventive Romans took the basic concept of washing clothes and turned it into a commercial industry.
The shift from homespun fabrics to more cheaply produced garments allowed for larger wardrobes and more frequent toga changes. This called for more frequent and efficient washing techniques.
Roman cleaners were called “fullers” who dyed, washed, and dried clothes of all varieties and who were indispensable to Roman life. Fullers were the ancient equivalent to lavanderias.
An important cleaning agent in Roman times was ammonia. Human urine was a good source of ammonia so it was collected from public restrooms. Others would sell their urine to laundry businesses with the exception of the poor. They did not have pots to transport and sell their urine. Hence the term, ”they’re so poor, they don’t have a pot to piss in.”
This cleaning agent was called chamber lye and was used to dissolve grease, loosen dirt, and bleach fabrics. I can’t imagine the fragrant aroma that must have exuded from the clothing!
Soap would not become widely available until the 19th century.
Not all lavanderias offer tintoreria (dry cleaning) services like this one.
Back to Your Local Lavanderia in Mérida
Most women that work in lavanderias are extremely hard working. At times you will have something go missing, it is just part of the process. Then, your missing item will show up a week or two later. If I find things that are not mine, I will return them on my next visit. Typically, each person’s laundry is washed all together. However, if it is a small load, it may be combined for efficiency.
Ok, I know what you’re thinking . . .
Tipping is not normal but most places have a tip jar. People that work in laundry places work for very low wages and tips are helpful. Use your own judgment when tipping.
Rocio, the lady at my lavanderia, would not take a tip the first time. The next time, I told her “no cambio” translated as no change when I paid my ticket.
One more thing, if you are a regular customer, I fully recommend a small tip. If you need something sooner rather than later, this is especially helpful.
Join us at Life in Merida: Visitor & Resident Hangout for more great info . . . I’ll see you over there!
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