Editorial: Vashon’s Dirty Laundry

For the sake of those who need it, a solution to Vashon’s laundromat problem can’t come soon enough.

If you had been driving down Vashon Highway at the right time, you may have witnessed the taking down of the Suds Laundromat sign.

Maybe, if you’ve got an inquisitive mind, you wondered what was happening at the island’s only laundromat. Indeed, it’s often not a good sign when a place’s “only” of something goes away.

The Beachcomber reported back in early May that Suds would be closing as of May 26, due to the building owner’s intention to not renew the business’ lease and sell the property.

On the day the Suds Laundromat sign came down, the news certainly felt final, although islanders knew that this moment was coming.

Now with the exodus of Vashon’s only laundromat and a blank white space where their sign used to stretch up into the air, we at The Beachcomber feel like the business’ absence has made a profound impact – but not in a positive manner.

We believe that anyone in our community should have easy access to laundry facilities on the island on which they live. A basket full of clean laundry should not require the time, energy, and resources to trek off-island to a laundromat.

It may also feel difficult to feel connected to this news, which may not feel immediately personal – after all, many islanders have washers and dryers in their own homes. However, we at The Beachcomber hope we can all, as islanders, be cognizant of those who do not have those same appliances in the places they call home.

Suds was an active place on Vashon. Many remember popping in on a weekend, when people were waiting to get an available dryer, or when only a few washing machines were left open. This was a lively place that islanders frequented and needed.

It seems unjust, unfair, and whatever else you want to call it – that those who need laundry facilities most are pushed further to accomplish the simple task of cleaning their clothes. Who is impacted by the laundromat’s closure, but those who need it most?

The Beachcomber also reported back in May that Suds was looking for a new location to move the business’ washers and dryers, but expected to encounter permitting issues.

For the sake of those who need it, a solution to Vashon’s laundromat problem can’t come soon enough.

If we really want individuals and families to thrive on Vashon, the very least we can hope for is a place on the island where anyone can do a load of laundry.