Owning a washing machine saves time and labor and provides the freedom to wash clothes and linens as needed. Owners can also easily adapt their laundering to the type of cloth to be washed and the level of soiling.
Prior to the invention of powered washing machines, laundry had to be done by hand. This meant either taking laundry to a river or filling a wash tub, then beating or agitating the soaked clothing to loosen dirt from the fibers. Because doing laundry this way was hard work and quite time-consuming, people did not do laundry often and either needed more clothing and linens or made do with soiled items. Laundromats remove much of the hard work from doing laundry but using them requires travel time. Laundromats are also not always available when needed.
While most people feel the advantages of using their own washing machines more than offset the disadvantages of higher electric and water bills, leasing may be a bigger threat to privately owned washing machines. Proponents of leasing point out that washing machines designed for home use are much less durable than those made for commercial use, and as much as 70 percent of the resources in a scrapped machine may end up in landfills. They believe that if more people leased high-quality machines for home use, manufacturers would be encouraged to produce more durable and efficient machines and to create supply-return loops for refurbishing and updating older machines.