Pope opens free laundromat in Rome

The Vatican said it hopes the service will "restore dignity to many people"

Pope opens free laundromat in Rome

Ciro Guardaccione, a homeless person who is a regular of the Sant’Egidio Community Centre, removes clothes from a washing machine in a laundry opened in this catholic community in Rome. Pope Francis has opened a new laundromat for the homeless to wash, dry and iron their clothing and blankets.The laundromat, not far from the Vatican, has six washing machines, six dryers and several ironing boards and irons. | Image: Alessandra Tarantino/AP/Press Association Images

Pope Francis has opened a free laundromat in Rome for the poor, according to Vatican reports.

The service, opened at the beginning of Holy Week and running up to Easter this Sunday, is based in the historic Rome neighborhood of Trastevere. It welcomes the homeless in particular, as well as anyone who needs to wash, dry and iron their clothes.

“This is a free service offered to the poorest people … who can wash, dry and iron their own clothes and blankets,” Archbishop Konrad Krajewski said in a statement.

Krajewski added that this “gives concrete form to charity and works of mercy aimed at restoring dignity to so many people who are our brothers and sisters.”

Whirlpool donated six washers and dryers, and Procter & Gamble has volunteered to give detergent and fabric softener.

The laundromat will be run by Catholic charity Community of Sant’Edigio, and staffed by volunteers.

Over the summer, Pope Francis is hoping to add further facilities, including a barbers, showers and medical services.

This isn't the first time the so-called 'People's Pope' has put cleanliness next to godliness - in 2015, he set up showers for the homeless in front of St. Peter’s Basilica.

“Help is always right,” the Pope told a Milan-based magazine recently. “Certainly, it is not a good thing just to throw a few coins at the poor. The gesture is important, helping those who ask, looking them in the eyes and touching their hands.”