at Moscow State University
Hours: Monday – Friday 10:00 – 22:00,
Saturday and Sunday 12:00 – 22:00
Cost: 100 rubles/wash or dry,
250 rubles for drop-off service (1 load washed and dried)
When you first enter your room at Moscow State University, you may notice that there is no refrigerator. After about a week or two, if you haven’t had the in-depth building tour that SRAS students are given after arrival, you will notice something else: you have no idea where to do your laundry. Never fear, however, there is a place to do it.
The MSU laundromat (“Прачечные”) is located in the basement of the main building on the Sector В (Б) side. This is also the side of the modern Faculty Café (Кафе “Факультет”) and the building’s main produce store (продукты). Once on the basement level of the correct side of the building, make a right turn instead of proceeding straight into the produce store, walk down the hallway along which are several small stores and repair centers, and proceed to the end. There you will find the laundry room.
This room may be intimidating at first. There is often a line of students, a laundry attendant – usually a female – bustling about, and not many machines to use. Out of the few machines in the room some are often out of order. However, if you go on times when fewer people are likely to be there, such as in the middle of the afternoon, you may be lucky enough to walk in and immediately find an open machine. Also nice to know is that the machines work the same way that American ones do, with a slot for coins and, for the washers, a choice (in English) of what kind of wash you prefer. If you do not bring coins to pay in, the attendant will give you some after you pay her with bills. If you really do not want to wait, you can also pay more to leave your laundry with the attendant, have her do it for you, and pick it up later.
If you do decide to do the laundry yourself and if your sector is not very close to the facility, there are a few places to spend time while waiting for each cycle to finish. Each washing machine takes thirty minutes and each dryer takes forty minutes. To save time you can bring homework and sit either in the laundry room, in the dining hall (столовая), at the tables outside the dining hall, or in the Faculty Café. There is Wi-Fi in all locations except in the laundromat. There is also a blaring TV in the laundromat, which I never found conducive to doing work. Wherever you sit, you should always keep track of the time. If you are late returning to your machine to retrieve your things the laundromat attendant will take them out for you, set them on the side, and you could lose your place in line if you were planning to use a dryer.
While this seems like a difficult, long process, there are some perks. For the one hundred rubles it takes to wash a load, you will also receive detergent. Detergent is also included if drop off your load with the attendant. If you choose the drop-off option, the attendant will give you a ticket, a copy of which she will place with your laundry, the other copy of which you will keep and use to claim your things when you return. It costs 250 rubles to have one load of laundry washed and dried in this manner. She will even fold it for you and place it back in the bag that you should bring the laundry in for drop off. You can also tell the attendant specifications about items in the load, for instance, if there is an item that you do not wish to be put in the dryer.
Using this system also allows you access to a clothes dryer, which would likely not be the case if you bought your own machine, like many Russian students in the dormitories do. Two-in-one washers and dryers are more expensive and rare than normal washing machines, so it is likely you will end up with just a washer if you decide to acquire your own machine. If you are friends with Russian students they might offer you the opportunity to use their washing machines, as was my experience. However, I felt that I would be imposing on their and their roommate’s personal space. Buying a washing machine with a roommate will obviously make it less expensive. Fairly compact and cheap models are available. The cheapest way to do this is to buy one from a student. In the same manner that I purchased my refrigerator, you can put up a post on the corkboard near the elevators in you sector and hope that someone interested will see it. Telling Russian students about your need often helps, as well. They are naturally more networked within the MSU student body and are usually very willing to help spread the word. Again, the only drawback to this is that you must then hang-dry your clothes. In this case, you may want to look into getting a “сушилка” – a collapsible table of sorts that has several strings to hang up clothes compactly. These are common in Russia.