Free Laundry Hack

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For you university students (or those using laudromats), you are probably very familiar with those coin-operated washers and dryers. Fortunately, there is a way to get around paying these steep prices in under one minute.

Step 1: Obtain the Materials (1)

all you need for this hack are ordinary plastic coffee shop stir sticks. I find that the thinner they are the easier they are to use. Thinner can also mean that they break easier, so if you are worried about leaving evidence behind (i.e. only to have your grumpy landlord to find out), then try to find slightly thicker ones.

In the end, you will need as many stir sticks as you will need coins, so a wash of $0.50 requires 2 sticks, as long as there are two 25c slots for quarters. It is important that the sticks fit within the slots, otherwise your instructable promptly ends here.

The stir sticks in the picture here are probably too round but they give you an idea of what I'm referring to.

Step 2: Moment of Truth

now that you have your sticks, stare the washing machine down until all worries are pushed aside. First experiment with the metal coin inserter mechanism where you normally place coins on. When it is empty, push it in until it stops (about half way).

Hold it in position while you grab your stir sticks. Slowly pull the tray back no more than 1cm and hold it there. One at a time, insert a stir stick into each slot at a 30-35 degree angle and push it in until it fits snugly into its position. (I find that it works best when its less than 45-degrees).

Once each stick is each coin slot, push the tray in a little bit more so that it's almost all the way in, and hold it there.

This is the tricky part. You will need to gently push the sticks further into the slot, still keeping them at 30-35 degrees. At first, it may seem like they don't go in further, but with practice and some adjustments, you will find that they can ease another 0.5cm or so deeper. Do this for each stick. (This step took me ~5 mins the first time I tried).

Step 3: Paydirt

Once you are convinced that ALL sticks are sticking out 35 degrees from the horizontal (without having to hold them), start to push the tray all the way in. If you did the previous step properly, you should be able to push it as if it has coins, meaning it should go all the way in (farther than if you had no coins on it).

The stir sticks shouldn't break, but be sure to pull the tray out quickly so that you can salvage the sticks.

Hopefully at this point the washing machine is promptly filling up with water :)

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    47 Discussions

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    agentcow007

    9 years ago on Introduction

    I made a really awesome tool out of a coat hangar.  It's fully adjustable so I can spin a prong back if I don't need it (my machines are $1, and 75c to dry, so I can use the same tool for both) and they slide around in case the coin slots aren't adjacent, which mine aren't.  I can also pop open the ring and add more prongs in case they increase the price.  The ring also acts as a torsion rod, so that you can push all the prongs upwards simultaneously with ease.

    To make the prongs,  I cut equal lengths of hangar, straightened them, and then made a P shape loop at the end.  It's important that it's just big enough to wrap around another hangar wire, loose enough to spin but there should be no play, or else they wont sit level on the torsion ring.  I then took a long piece of hangar and bent it into a rectangle.  I made a hook shape on mine so that I can pop it open later to add more prongs, and I spent some time gently bending it so that the rectangle was flat, and that when all the pins were sitting on the ring, that they sat level.

    Please wear eye protection when bending and cutting hangar wire!  Also be aware of your hands and don't use too much force in case your needle nose pliers slip and take a chunk out of your finger!


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    jullee41agentcow007

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I know this is an old thread but if you go to the dollar store and purchase turkey lacers, it comes with six thin metal pieces. These have been a life saver for me. They have worked the first time on every machine I have tried.

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    nofencesagentcow007

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I love this little tool you've built and I've been trying to fashion my own, but I'm not quite able to get it working yet. I've filed my straight pieces to make them a bit thinner in hopes that it might lead to success but still no luck. I'm starting to wonder if my lengths aren't long enough and was wondering if you might be able to tell me how long yours are?

    Thanks!

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    MaXoRagentcow007

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I second that... we need one of these instructables designed for the type that closes off the coin slot when you push the tray in.

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    MaXoRagentcow007

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    You're my hero..... ***throws handful of coffee stir sticks over shoulder, and heads for the closet**

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    KFM

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Man, that's messed up. This is theft, and it's upsetting how many of you want to do this. I can't believe that you guys think this is a cost-cutting technique and justify it as a hack. This is the same as 'hacking' a soda machine to get free sodas.

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    J113KFM

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    who cares KFM, if you have a problem with it then why did you come to this instruct able. It is apparent that you are interested in "theft" or so you say otherwise you wouldn't have been reading it and commenting on how "wrong" it is.

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    KFMJ113

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Because the title was intriguing.

    I rent a house, and already own a washer and dryer, so had the instructable been called "How to Bypass a Public Laundry machine" I would have never went to it.

    But since I'm on the subject again, the owner of the machine does NOT owe you free laundry any more than the soda machine owns you free soda or a newspaper stand owes you free newspapers; I don't care how much they charge you in rent. It's not like anyone pays my laundry bills because my rent is so high. Take the time to think about the fact that every time you "make" a dollar that you didn't earn, that's one dollar the owner earned but didn't make.

    There, now that wasn't too rude, now was it?

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    J113KFM

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    That's great that you already own those utilities. Although I must say, a soda machine is not a laundry machine and both machines offer two different products from which the laundry machine doesn't EVEN give a product. Where's the cost to be in on that one? Soda companies have to pay to manufacture the soda, the container, AND LABOR FOR THE COSTS TO PAY THE EMPLOYEES TO MAKE AND SHIP THE SODA, etc. What does a landlord pay to run washing machines and driers other than electric and water (if your municipality charges for water). The washing machine and drier doesn't include fees for manufacturing, shipping costs, or labor because that's right it is a machine after all and the only person required to run it is the person doing the laundry. So the costs of using the machines probably no where near matches as much as it costs for a $1 or more to use the machine. Especially if they are already collecting it from tenants rent (and believe me they do don't worry) That's like charging each tenant a monthly fee to park at the complex! Think of it, if you do laundry say maybe 2 or 3 times a week depending on how much you care about clean clothes or however other people live with you and to run the washer is 1.25 and the drier is another 1.25 (where I live it's actually 1.75 for all machines) that comes to 2.50 just for that one time so if you do laundry 3 times a week that comes to oh wait 7.50 a week just to do laundry! and if you really do laundry every week that comes to $30 a MONTH! With the economy the way it is today and gas prices, that 7.50 can go a long way other than making sure you don't look like crap and smell like crap wearing dirty clothes all the time just to save some bucks. By the way, that $30 a month KFM can only pay for unlimited internet on your iPhone. So what I'm saying KFM is, people have it bad with today's economy if one person hacks a washing machine and drier at complex it doesn't really matter to the landlord. He/she won't miss that money.

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    KFMJ113

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    P.S. that was suppose to be "owes," not "owns.". Typed this on an iPhone, so please disregard any other spelling mistakes.

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    machr85

    11 years ago on Introduction

    HI robshere, i see that you are another person looking to save some pocket change, same here and i dont blame you. First of all let me tell you i find your article and instructions very well thought, as i am looking to do same trick but with the other type of coin recievers, to be exact im trying to hack into a speed queen commercial washer, these are pretty new models and the coin slot/reciever is different from the one you have pictured, this is the one you insert coin by coin you know what i mean, so i was wondering if you know how to hack this kind or if you know someone who can, let me know please, will apreciate it much. Have a good day.machr85

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    bengarland

    9 years ago on Step 3

    I used some spare bicycle spokes that I had laying around. Cut them in half, perfect length and diameter. Worked great. They are more durable than coffee sticks (which I didn't try) and zip ties (which I tried and couldn't get to work). I would imagine that an old wire coat hanger cut into straight pieces would work just as well as bike spokes.

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    d_vikram86bengarland

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 3

    I tried it with a coat hanger but could not get it to work. The washer in my apartment has some kind of gate which closes all the slots when pushed half way in. When I bring the tray out a centimeter, these gates open again. I tried many many angles but could not get it to work. Is this normal with all the speed queens or is mine a newer model? Please help me out, excited to try this hack.

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    bengarlandd_vikram86

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 3

    Unfortunately, the newer models do have this gate and it will not work :( Check all of the machines ... I found one washer and one dryer in my complex that do not have the gates.

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    shurik99bengarland

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    My laundry machine also has gates, BUT IT STILL WORKED for me.
    Push all the way while empty. Pull back a bit so that gates are half open. Put in the McDonalds coffee stirring sticks as instructed in intractable. Push in the tray all the way (it will now go 100 percent in). Pull back fast (maybe try pulling on stick at same time so they don't get stuck).

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    d_vikram86bengarland

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 3

    AAAAAH. Too bad. Will the cable tie method work with these machines? I have two washers and dryers in my floor in my apartment complex, and all of them have gates. I will look at the other floors and hope I am lucky. It is not about the money, but the thrill of doing it this way!!!!

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    bengarlandd_vikram86

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 3

    I couldn't get the cable ties to work :( I assume this is why some people suggest doing it with McDonald's coffee stirrers, since then can be squished between the gates, but I found it very difficult to do with something so flimsy.