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Posted on Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 11:11 a.m.

The best and worst laundromats in Ann Arbor

By Richard Retyi

full disclosure web.jpg

Art by C. Jason DePasquale

It's not unfortunates who do laundry at a laundromat, but it's unfortunate that people have to use them. Don’t get me wrong — in principle I have nothing against sharing economy-sized super washers with the rest of Washtenaw county — but I prefer sharing the boring top-loader on the second floor of my apartment building with the 10 other people I occasional nod to in the hallway.

Since college, I've only been without access to laundry facilities twice. Once was in an area north of downtown Chicago called Ravenswood and the other was in Jacksonville, Fla. The laundromat experience was so wretched in Ravenswood that when I had to seek outside laundry help in Jacksonville, I found a nice place that washed your clothes and charged by the pound.

I don't like laundromats, but I realize people have to use them. One of those people is my pal C. Jason DePasquale. I see him check in on foursquare at one of Ann Arbor’s premier laundromats — Mr. Stadium — every once in a while. His check-ins had me missing the good old days of Ravenswood. I wanted to see how times had changed. I wanted to see if Ann Arbor was different. I wanted to slum it.

Jason agreed to accompany me to three different businesses to give three laundromats a spin. Here is our unscientific appraisal.

Mr. Stadium

1964 S. Industrial, Ann Arbor

Open 24 hours

Sunday night, 8:40 p.m.

I knew this place would be different when I walked through automatic doors (!) and saw a wireless password printed on the wall. After an hour I felt like I was in Vegas. It was hard to tell what time of day it was; there’s the constant sound of coins tinkling on metal. I was compelled to make unhealthy choices — eating two bags of chips, a package of Twizzlers and feeding money into the Sweet Shoppe Grabber, a machine where you steer a claw and grab candy.

There’s even something called the Lucky Leprechaun that sells bouncy balls for 75 cents but proclaims, "Will the lucky leprechaun return your quarters?" The five-foot-tall machine with its cartoon leprechaun holding a giant quarter with a whistle in its mouth would fit right in next to the slot machines at the Tropicana.

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Art by C. Jason DePasquale

Mr. Stadium is big and clean with plenty of places to sit, read magazines or do homework. A family sat in a booth eating fast food while a hipster boy wearing flip flops with ear buds blocking out the world banged away on his laptop.

You can’t escape Mr. Stadium’s tagline — "Since 1972." It's everywhere. On the nine giant floor mats (I counted), on all the walls, on a framed article from the Kevin Costner film The Upside of Anger which featured a few frames of Mr. Costner wearing a Mr. Stadium T-shirt. You can buy your own for just $9!

Mr. Stadium is the Cadillac of Laundromats. Clean, huge, full of candy and with a giant television showing sports. I can see why Jason frequents this place.


Magnum load: $5.75

Super XL washer: $4.75

Triple load washers: $3.75

Maytag top load washer: $1.75

Big driers: Five minutes per quarter

Small driers: Eight minutes per quarter

Specials: Every Wednesday and Friday is Milnor Time — triple loaders are only $2.75

Highlights: Mr. Stadium brand purified water for sale; the internet is strong enough to stream Netflix; even the bathroom is nice.

Lowlights: It's a little disconcerting that there are so many red emergency stop buttons on the washers and driers.

Super Suds

2750 Jackson Ave., Ann Arbor

A handwritten sign says they now close at 11 p.m. I don't recall seeing when they open.

Tuesday night, 8:35 p.m.

A guy climbs into an old Mercedes with the smashed front end and a backseat packed to the ceiling with clothes. In a decent-sized parking lot with just three cars in it, he's parked diagonally across two spaces. When he pulls out, the Mercedes cuts through the night with one headlight missing and a taillight out. That's my frame of reference for who uses Super Suds.

Have you ever stood with a friend in a Laundromat watching Keeping up with the Kardashians on mute while listening to 104.3 WOMC? I have. No wireless at Mr. Suds — rather they have an old blue iMac that was cutting-edge technology in 1998. I'm pretty sure it wasn't operational. Also not operational was the one Coke machine in the place or the vending machine beside it, which was completely empty. A 7-Up machine was lit up and appeared to be working, but I wasn't taking any chances.

Mr. Suds was also pretty gross. The dirtiest thing in the whole place was the "Clean Up Your Own Mess" sign, which was caked in grit, fuzz and hair. I don't think Mr. Suds has been cleaned since 2009 judging by the decor — no fewer than nine Block Ms pointing to a framed Michigan football poster from 2009 featuring Ann Arbor legend Rich Rodriguez.

If I didn’t trust the decor, I certainly wasn’t going to trust the machines. Some had buttons taped off, some were out of order and Jason used the one with a "Slam Door" sign taped to it. We were the only ones in the whole place, and I salute Jason for being brave enough to do his laundry here. I passed.


50-pound Huebsch washers: $4.25

Triple load washers: $3.25

Wascomat Junior washers: $2

Speed Queen top load washers: $1.75

Maytag top load washers: $1.75

Big driers: Seven minutes per quarter

Specials: None listed

Highlights: February 15, 2010 issue of Star Magazine with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp on the cover.

Lowlights: Everything else.

Washtenaw Wash

4890 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor

Open 24 hours

Wednesday night, 8:02 p.m.

Washtenaw Wash is like Laundry University. No fewer than 47 signs cover the walls or hang suspended from the ceiling — everything from "Clothes Extra Dirty? Then Select Special Wash" to an LED board with scrolling messages like, "No running. No horseplay." The signs tell you what temperature will be if you choose a hot drying cycle (190 degrees) and how many loads each machine can handle and offer other helpful tips.

Located on busy Washtenaw Avenue, Washtenaw Wash was the busiest of the three laundromats visited and the only laundromat we visited that had screaming kids in it, but it didn't detract from a mostly positive experience.

This is the place to come if you want to start your wash and then get something to eat. It's next to a Burger King, Tuptim Thai and Smoke House Grill and Pub — and that's just within strolling distance. There’s also a Cash for Checks store attached to the building, which you can access from Washtenaw Wash during business hours. Convenience!

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Art by C. Jason DePasquale

The one knock is very limited seating, but they have wireless, T-shirts for sale for just $5 (the smallest size listed is large, the biggest 3XL) and the vending machine has three trays of Oreos.


Speed Queen small washer: $3

Speed Queen medium washer: $4.25

Speed Queen commercial washer: $5.25 and $7.75

Big driers: Eight minutes per quarter

Specials: Washtenaw Wash advertises daily midnight specials, though the attendant couldn't tell me what the midnight special was.

Highlights: Checked in on foursquare with us at Washtenaw Wash was Cheesecake K from Wayne. He holds 135 foursquare mayorships, many for things involving “yo mama” but shockingly he isn’t the mayor of Washtenaw Wash. "It's kind of heartbreaking that he hasn't written any tips," Jason quipped while perusing his profile.

Lowlights: Lack of seating.

Final Unscientific Analysis
For value, Washtenaw Wash has the best prices, but Mr. Stadium wins out for the sheer number of amenities. If you have a lot of laundry to do and expect to spend a few hours in a laundromat, choose Mr. Stadium. If you have a few loads to do and want to grab some food, try Washtenaw Wash. But don’t go to Super Suds. Ever. Trust me.

Richard Retyi writes the recently infrequent column Lie to Your Cats About Santa and is social media manager at Fluency Media in Ann Arbor. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichRetyi or visiting his website at C. Jason DePasquale lives in Ann Arbor with his wife, two cats, and an unnamed fetus that is due any day. He is licensed to both teach and drive in the state of Michigan, however, he currently does neither professionally. Write to him at


Catherine Zudak

Sat, Sep 15, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

I really enjoyed your article!!! thanks for the info.


Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 2:32 a.m.

I go to the Washtenaw Wash every week, it's great for knocking out homework or even a quiet nap in your car while your stuff dries. Being able to do about 4 loads of laundry in under an hour is a truly great thing. It does have lots of unattended screaming kids though as the writer states. I left my laptop out while folding clothes and some little girl decided to fool around with it which wouldn't have been as annoying if her mom had done something about it. But I guess it's on me to not be 3 feet away from my stuff with my back turned. Either was a bag of famous amos cookies and a book is a nice way to do laundry late at night when it's empty and there aren't any kids.


Wed, Dec 7, 2011 : 1:15 a.m.

Great article Richard...I hope you do more! My laundromat story...The laundromat in Ypsilanti across from the goofy looking cell store...Someone stole my towels....sigh. I hope you enjoyed them you jerk. Ihankfully I have my own washer and dryer now.


Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 10:09 p.m.

I used to frequent Mr. Stadium when it was in it's old location, good memories. That being said, I don't miss the laundromat days except for the fact it was all done at once and I never left clothes on top of the dryer to be folded at a later date. Oh, and check out Emerald City across from the Washtenaw Wash. Nice people and a cool little bar area, plus their food is really good.

Michigan Reader

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 9:47 p.m.

I've done laundry at all three, and to be fair to Super Suds, I don't think they have the resources Mr. Stadium does. S.S. used to be nicer and cleaner, but it's gone through a series of owners since it first opened in 1985, I don't think it's financially viable.

Ryan Munson

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 6:14 p.m.

I'm 29 and still do laundry at the parents since they are so close. It saves $18.00 a month minimally. That's more expensive than a monthly basic cable bill. I'd rather use that to pay off other debts. I'll let my kids do the same if they wish down the road.


Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 5:16 p.m.

I once used the laundromat in my small town and ended up with a comforter stuck in a front loading washer full of soapy water. The "need help?" number I dialed could be heard ringing in the empty office. Never again. Now I drive 20 miles to take my large bedding to Mr. Stadium. The giant spinner greatly cuts down on drying time for only 50 cents (or was it a quarter?). Best laundromat ever!


Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 4:47 p.m.

I was at Mr Stadium recently to wash a giant comforter and there was a homeless guy in the bathroom for over an hour and the attendant was yelling at him. Didn't make me feel very comfortable. Probably won't be going back...

Richard Retyi

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 4:58 p.m.

I'd suggest giving Washtenaw Wash a spin. You can get the spin cycle going for your giant comforter then duck next door to TumTim for some Pad Thai. You're welcome!


Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 4:42 p.m.

I really liked your article, Richard. The cartoons and your descriptions made me laugh. I used to go to laundry mats often in many different towns and enjoyed them. Each one had character. The Super Suds used to be really nice. I always like their pastel folding tables, large front window, and music. I've noticed over the years, though, the accumulation of dirt and broken machines. There was always a handyman working hard in the evenings, but it seemed a tough job to keep up. Thank you for the entertaining article.

Richard Retyi

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

Thanks Lonnie! Mr. Suds is in a decent location and there's a We Buy Gold place nearby so launderers can multitask but, sadly for Suds, Mr. Stadium and Washtenaw Wash are far superior.

Dr. Vag

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 4:39 p.m.

well done!

Richard Retyi

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 4:55 p.m.

Coming from someone named Dr. Vag, that means a lot. Ha!

rusty shackelford

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 3:07 p.m.

Ravenswood is a neighborhood in, not "north of" Chicago. It's actually about as bourgie as most of A2 (though denser). Sorry you didn't like the laundromat.

Richard Retyi

Tue, Dec 6, 2011 : 3:24 p.m.

Sorry, I meant downtown Chicago. And when I lived there in 2000 it most certainly was NOT like Ann Arbor. The neighborhood changed when they took out the Al's Fun in the Bun. Sigh.