Tvättstuga is basically a laundry room with a Swedish twist.Usually every apartment complex will have a room or two located in one of the buildings. They have two main differences from a typical laundry room in the United States. You schedule a time to use the tvättstuga and during that time period you are the only one with access. There is no upfront costs to operate the washer or the dryer eliminating the need to obtain large amount of coins. The tvättstuga is either part of your rent or part of the fees paid to a home owners association for condo maintenance.
Next to the tvättstuga is a scheduling board. There are set times for each day of the month. Each apartment has a special lock that they can then attach to the board in an open slot. It is then locked and your time is secured. No one can move your time slot without your key. While using the tvättstuga this special lock goes over the door lock preventing anyone else from ending the room during your time slot. Having the laundry room to yourself for a set period of time is perhaps one of my favorite things about the tvättstuga. Some tvättstugas now have more modern ways of scheduling using computers and key cards.
The complex I live in has three tvättstugas, two for regular laundry and one for big items like rugs or heavy blankets. The two regular tvättsugas each have two washers, one dryer, one drying cabinet, one flatwork finisher, one water extractor, two large sings, one table for folding, an iron and ironing board, two carts to move laundry around, and a contraption to assist in folding large items like sheets or blankets. This laundry room is better equipped than any laundry room or coin-op laundry I have seen in the U.S. unless you are Martha Stewart.
Before moving to Sweden I had never seen a drying cabinet or a flatwork finisher. A flatwork finisher is perfect for helping you fold sheets flat with perfect creases. I have only used it once and that was just to test it out. I have convinced Vanim that there exist a need to fold clean laundry. He most likely has agreed just to keep me from complaining. If I were to start wanting to use the flatwork finisher all the time he might just decide to abandon our laundry activity all together and leaving it just to me. I still prefer laundry being an activity we both participate in.
I have found that using the drying cabinet for heavy items like jeans and sweaters works really well. It also works for drying large blankets. The cabinet has a blower that circulates warm air in the cabinet. I have found that the clothes in the drying cabinet will dry almost as fast as in the dryer.
The Tvättstuga started appearing in Swedish apartment buildings after 1955. The most common conflict a Swed might get in with his neighbor is over issues concerning the tvättstuga. To learn a little more you can watch the video below. It comes from a popular Swedish television show where a group of American Swedes are chosen to come to Sweden and learn about Sweden in a competition. It will start at 13:04 and and the information will end at about 14:14 but feel fee to watch the whole show. Below the video there are pictures of one of the laundry rooms here.