Laundry is a normal part of everyday life. If you use laundry services and you’re unsure whether the proper term for the facilities is laundry mat or laundromat, you’re not alone. Indeed, many people use these terms interchangeably. Even so, only one of them is correct. To find this out, it’s best to first take a brief look at the history of laundry services.
Back to Basics
Contrary to what you may think, laundry facilities are not recent inventions since they have been around for more than 80 years. Initially, self-serve laundry facilities were referred to as washaterias, and the first one was opened in 1934 in Fort Worth, Texas.
In the first few years of operation, self-service laundry facilities were not that popular. However, there was a notable resurgence during the 1960s. This was driven by technological advances, which saw the introduction of coin-operated washing machines. Besides, laundry enterprises started to offer conveniences that were previously unheard of, including TVs, seating, and soap dispensers.
What’s the Proper Spelling?
As mashing machines evolved, a name change also came about. Thanks to one George Edward Pendray, washeterias started being referred to as laundromats. The word is believed to be a combination of “laundry” and “automat,” with the latter word being a description of restaurants where customers obtained drink and food via vending machines.
To date, several names are still used to describe self-service laundry facilities, including laundry mat, wash and dry, and launderette. However, the correct term for a facility that houses washers and dryers for use by the public is “laundromat.” The widespread use of the term laundry mat arises from the fact that “laundromat” often gets misspelled.
Depending on your city, you may also hear other terms. In Texas, for instance, these facilities are still referred to as washeterias. Today, most laundry facilities are coin-operated and are typically located on residential buildings. Companies that offer laundry services have taken things a notch higher by doing all the cleaning for you, thus negating the need to visit such facilities whenever you need to have your laundry done.