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First-world problem? Sure. It's pretty hard to not laugh at the image of the surely brilliant Stanford engineer doing laundry for hipsters in the bay area burbs instead of out curing cancer.

But, think about what happens if this actually works out. Think about the amount of time that will be returned to people, at scale. Think about the amount of capital that will be freed up. Think about the amount of resources that will be more efficiently allocated. Having a washing machine in every household, if you step back, seems more than a little wasteful. Imagine giant uber-laundromats, akin to Amazon's fullfillment centers, that squeeze the last bit of efficiency out of the problem of ingesting dirty clothing on one end and spitting out freshly pressed, super-clean items on the other, and the logistics therein.

It's only a first-world problem because it costs $25 a load, which is absurdly expensive for most families. But what if it were $2.50? $0.25? Free if you watch an ad on your TV? Then it becomes truly disruptive.

Trucking laundry around, having another worker load/wash/unload/iron and then the sorting / tagging / customer service issues associated with that seems pretty inefficient. It just adds overhead without removing any of the original work. It may be that the washing machines can be more efficient at scale but for that to be the dominant factor the process as a whole would have to be super efficient as well and that is very hard if you start by adding a huge amount of overhead over the original problem.

Having the ability to do your own laundry (especially with small kids) is pretty basic.

No kidding!! With two toddlers I do laundry daily, and frequently the cycle is "remove clothes at bath time and put them directly into the washing machine".

If only because if you don't wash it right away it tends to start walking around all by itself, and a few days later it will talk back to you.

I washed my toddler daily and still started walking all by himself and talking back to me :)

That's a warranty issue ;)

I actually don't think that's right. The benefits to the planet of removing 1000 small (household) washing machines and dryers and replacing them with say 10 commercial ones is very very substantial and more than offsets the "work" that's wrapped around providing this as third party service vs doing it yourself.

> The benefits to the planet of removing 1000 small (household) washing machines and dryers and replacing them with say 10 commercial ones is very very substantial

That's not a given without running the numbers. Whole picture statements like these get complicated in a hurry. Manufacturing 1000 small household washing machines creates jobs and so on.

The work to me seems to be such a big factor in this story that all other things being equal you're going to have to make the case either by ignoring a huge number of factors or you're going to have to go by a model that just focuses on the major component of the operation itself (washing).

Household washing machines last quite a long time (10 years or more), are relatively cheap, maintenance free and two steps away from the point of origin of your washing.

Commercial machines are expensive, require frequent maintenance due to increased use, may or may not be more energy efficient and require trucking around washing.

I don't think you can say that the commercial machines are more efficient due to their reduced number because that may not be where the majority of the expense is located.

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