Come Clean: Would You Share Your Washer With A Stranger?

Hello wants to be the Airbnb of laundry.

We use Zipcar to share vehicles, Citibike to share bicycles, and Airbnb to share our homes. So is sharing our dirty laundry a step too far, or is it the next hot thing in our sharing economy?


The concept of going to a neighbor’s house to do laundry was the Core77 Design Awards student winner in the Consumer Products category. Benjamin Riot and Valentin Sollier were students at École de Design Nantes Atlantique when they were asked to conceptualize a Fagor brand washing machine that would be attractive to people under the age of 35. Instead of just revolutionizing the washing machine, they proposed revolutionizing the way we do laundry. Their idea, called Hello, consists of a washer with a detachable drum that doubles as a hamper and a mobile app.

Here’s how it would work: People who own a Hello hamper use the mobile app to locate someone nearby who owns a Hello washing machine. They transport their rollable hamper to their neighbor’s house at an agreed-upon time and drop laundry off to be washed or use the washing machine themselves. The owner of the washer would receive payment for use of the machine through the app.

The designers acknowledge that many may be skeeved by the idea of washing other people’s skivvies or letting strangers into their home, but they contend our attitudes about sharing are changing. “If you imagined a couple of years ago that people would be willing to share their car with total strangers, a lot of people would’ve thought this was really crazy,” cocreator Benjamin Riot told Wired. “But I think a lot of people are accepting the idea that in order to get what you need, you need to be willing to do things slightly differently.”

Riot could be right. After all, the concept seems promising for apartment complexes or school dorms, where shared laundry facilities are already commonplace.