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October 5, 2018

Vending machines that do your laundry arrive at London subway stations

by John_A

Time-pressed Londoners now have an easy way to get their laundry done thanks to a new vending-machine service launching there this week.

The brainchild of local startup VClean Life, the first “VDrop” machines are being installed at subway stations across the capital where your deposited dirties will be cleaned, folded, and ready for pickup within 24 hours.

To use the service, you need to sign up online to receive a QR code unique to you. When you reach the VDrop machine, all you do is flash your code to receive a bag, shove your garments inside, and drop it into the machine (or hang it up if it’s something more delicate).

In the following 24 hours, the garments will be collected and taken to VClean Life’s depot where they’ll be gently cleaned using biodegradable detergent and conditioners before being returned to the machine for collection, again by using your QR code.

VClean Life has even incorporated a tracking system into the process, so if you’re keen to learn about the status of your shirts and pants, you can log into the app and find out exactly how they’re doing and when they’re ready for pickup.

A standard-sized garment costs 3 British pounds to clean — that around $3.90 according to current conversion rates.

VClean Life

“There is nothing else like this on the market,” said Nick Harris, managing director and founder of VClean Life. “In just 24 hours, customers will receive a premium service at ridiculously cheap prices, with 200 machines being rolled out across London in the coming months, before going national.”

Many of the new VDrop machines will be appearing in the parking lots of subway stations rather than actually inside the premises. The first one has just started operating at Epping station in north-east London, with imminent launches lined up for others in Woodford, South Woodford, Loughton, and North Greenwich. More of its vending machines will soon be found at gyms, shopping malls, and offices, the company said.

VClean Life is going up against brick-and-mortar laundromat and dry cleaning services, as well as those that provide home collection. It’s hoping its convenience and environmentally friendly cleaning methods will help it to quickly win fans.

To help give it the best launch possible, VClean Life has produced (or over-produced) an absurdly dramatic promotional video in which the protagonist apparently reveals his penchant for a spot of cross-dressing. Or have we got the wrong end of the stick here?

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