When you’re staying in South Korea for a longer period of time, you’ll need to do laundry at some point.
Most types of accommodations like dorms, goshiwons, and sharehouses in South Korea have a washing machine in the building for its residents to use. Many individual accommodations in South Korea like Airbnbs, officetels, and apartments have a washing machine in the room, but not all do.
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If you do not have a washing machine to do your laundry either in your own room or in the building you’re staying, you can use either Naver Maps or Kakao Maps to find the nearest coin laundromat.
To operate the laundry machine, whether you go to a laundromat or use one at your accommodation, you can use the app Papago, which allows you to take a picture and translate the Korean text in the picture to English.
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Where to do laundry in South Korea
You need to start doing your laundry in South Korea sooner or later if you’re staying in the country for a longer period of time.
Depending on where you are living during your stay, you probably have a washing machine in the building you’re staying in, if not in your own room.
Places with shared amenities like dorms, goshiwons (guesthouses), and sharehouses usually have a common washing machine for everyone to use. Check the information given to you by the people that run your accommodation or ask them or another resident to see if your building has one.
If you’re staying in individual accommodation like an apartment, officetel, or Airbnb, chances are that there is a washing machine for you to do your laundry inside the room. Not all these have them, though.
In case you don’t have a washing machine in your room or in the building of your accommodation, then you should head to a coin laundromat. You can find the nearest one on Naver Maps or Kakao Maps by searching for “laundry” or “세탁”.
There are plenty of coin laundromats all over the cities, especially in Seoul and Busan, and most are open 24 hours a day.
How to do laundry in South Korea
While you might think it will be a bit difficult to do laundry in South Korea as you’re out of your regular routine and in a completely different country, it is easy to do, even if you don’t speak or read any Korean.
Coin laundromats usually have laundry detergent and fabric softener for sale for around ₩500 or have it included in the machine when you pay for the program to start.
Accommodations with a washing machine for the residents to use often provide laundry detergent for free, but not always fabric softener, if that’s something that you wish to use. In either case, you can get both laundry detergent and fabric softener at your local Daiso, grocery shop, and sometimes convenience store.
If you’re using a washing machine at your accommodation, there might be instructions written by the host. If not, you can use the Papago app to take a photo of the machine’s programs and choose the one you want. For most clothes, you’ll just want to use the regular program at 40 degrees celsius.
Here are some additional general instructions. While these will not apply to all washing machines in South Korea, most will be similar:
- Turn on the machine by clicking the on-button (전원).
- Add laundry detergent and fabric softener (fabric softener is optional).
- Select the desired program with the slider. Regular washing (표준세탁) will be just fine for most clothes.
- Select temperature (물온도).
- Click the start button (동작).
- Wait for the machine to run the program and collect your clothes.
Some machines also have a drying option that you can choose after selecting the program.
If the washing machine in your accommodation does not have a drying option, there is usually a drying rack somewhere in your room or on the rooftop of the building.
Laundromats usually have instructions on how to use their machines, which you can translate using the Papago app. Otherwise, you can use the Papago app to take an image and translate the text on the washing machine itself.
I have used the Papago app to see what options the washing machines in my different accommodations had several times, and I was able to easily figure it out without needing any additional instructions. I recommend using Papago over Google Translate, as Papago is more accurate for Korean translation.
That’s where and how you can do your laundry in South Korea!
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