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Your washing machine could make you money with an ‘Uber for laundry’

By Oliver Smith 28 November 2016
Summary

Would you want to save money, space and time by renting a neighbour's washing machine?

Buying a washing machine is a huge household investment, for something you probably only use for a few washes each week.

But what if you didn’t have to buy a washing machine (or walk to a launderette), what if you could just rent time on a neighbour’s machine when you need it, all through an app?

That’s what the world’s second-largest manufacturer of home appliances, Electrolux, is looking into.

An ‘Uber for laundry’?

If the idea sounds similar, that’s because it’s basically what Uber is trying to do for cars.

Electrolux CEO Jonas Samuelson told the Financial Times that the idea of creating an ‘Uber for laundry’ is among a few he is exploring to create the next generation of home appliances.

“We have a few fun ideas we are testing, like: how about a laundry Uber, where people share their unused laundry time? But there are enormous complexities such as what happens if the clothes come out and are ruined?”

There’s also the challenge of adding “intelligent communication in the machines” as well as creating a service that would link everything together and let users request a wash.

But the company, Samuelson said, is “very open to experimentation”.

Would you use it?

Just like cars, it does seem crazy that we pay hundreds of pounds for something that takes up a large amount of space in our homes, that we only use a fraction of the time.

So would you give up the modern luxury of a washing machine to save money, space and time by renting time with your neighbours?

Work from home? Looking after a new kid? You could even start making cash by renting out your washing machine.

If Electrolux can come up overcome some of the logistical issues – how do I pick up my washing if my neighbour’s out? – I imagine there are millions of people who would be interested.