I’d always wondered how wash and fold laundry service worked, and I’d always dreamed of doing it. Of letting someone else take over this task I don’t love one tiny little bit.
The idea of dropping off wadded up dirty clothes and picking up clean and folded ones seemed like the definition of luxury to me.
So, last spring, when I was writing my next book (due out February of next year) and was completely overwhelmed since that already-overwhelming task was happening at the same time as end-of-school spring activities AND a kid in driver’s ed four nights a week in a town twenty minutes away, I decided I’d try it out.
Even though I’m a cheapskate, I was desperate. And I have this blog where I can write about such things.
So how did it go? Well . . . . one week’s laundry for our family of five (which includes two man-sized teenage boys) weighed a little more than fifty pounds.
FIFTY POUNDS!!! And that does not include socks, underwear or towels.
Y’all. At $1/pound, I paid more than fifty dollars to have someone do my laundry for me. Fifty. Dollars.
Yes, I did struggle not to hyperventilate when I saw the woman filling out the ticket. And that was cheaper than the other places I’d seen at $1.50/lb! Fifty cents doesn’t seem like much, but for fifty pounds of laundry that would have been another twenty-five dollars!!!
So, I had pretty much decided this experiment was a failure even before anyone washed any of my clothes. I did like picking them up all neatly folded (so much neater than I ever fold), but I didn’t like it $50 worth.
Yes, I’m totally aware that a better prepared, more logical thinking, less bananas-from-book-writing version of me would have weighed my laundry before I left the house. She wasn’t around that day.
Yes, there have been days when I would have hauled my baskets off the scale and said, “Never mind!” but this was not one of those days.
But in all of this, you know what the worst part was? Look what I found in the bottom of one of those laundry baskets AFTER everything was washed, folded and paid for:
One of my kids just happened to have a little trash at the bottom of their basket.
Bad enough, but it gets worse.
A little trash that included a third-full water bottle. I googled and that water weighed a THIRD OF A POUND!!!
It’s been a while since this went down, but now that I’ve googled, that kid owes me 34 cents. I’m rounding up out of principle/spite.
So the ultimate lesson from this experience is that I’m more than happy to do my own laundry every week, especially now that I feel like I’m saving at least $200 each month by doing it.
Watch the video to see my in-the-moment thoughts.
Do you use a wash and fold service? Have you always wanted to?
P.S. I washed our socks and undies and towels. We didn’t just drip dry, wear sandals and go commando for the week. I figured they were easy enough and kind of gross to send in.
P.P.S. Yes, I know for sure this was only one week’s worth of laundry since I do have a laundry system that works. Do you have my book? It’s way cheaper than $50 and includes the laundry routine that changed my world, even though I don’t love laundry.
Tracie @ SomewhatAwry.com says
Oh, I looooove this post! Thank you so much for sharing this with us! And I agree 100 percent with your thoughts. Oh, and definitely make the culprit pay the $0.34!
Well for one I didn’t even know there was such a thing. For $50.00 I think I will do my own laundry. Although I could see how it might work for a single person who works a lot. Does sound wonderful to have all nice clean and folded laundry and all you have to do is drop it off.
Was all of it washed using your detergent? Inquiring minds want to know if someone ended up floral scented….
Dana White says
Yes, I believe so, though I was super paranoid for a while. I think there was a small amount of residual scent just from being in the place that smells so strongly of laundry scent. None of us felt like we were wearing scented clothing, if that makes sense.
Karrie Brewer says
I actually work at a small business that does a “drop off” laundry service. We charge $1.50 a lb but that also includes our laundry soap( ALL w/stainlifters & ALL free & clear) our fabric softener and dryer sheets. We also provide hangers for any items you want hung. When you come back the next time & bring back the hangers we take 2lbs ($3) off the bill. It’s actually pretty popular and can sometimes get overwhelming but a great motivator is always a nice tip and a thank you😁
Ohhhh nooo TRASH?!? That would KILL ME! I have been wondering about those places for awhile because laundry and I do.not.get.along. I mean I like clean clothes…but could they just appear magically in my drawers and closet?
Tracey, I love doing laundry . . . I’ll trade you for doing the dishes.
Elmer, I’m with you. I’ll take doing laundry any day over washing dishes!
I live in a college town and always look at the Wash and Fold service of the countless laundromats with great interest. I’ve never tried it, though. Also, the water bottle thing is cracking me up.
Note on saving money: Now that I do my dishes every night thanks to you, I’ve saved SO MUCH MONEY, like hundreds of dollars, on food because I’m so much less tempted to eat out.
I started doing once a week laundry three weeks ago and it’s been a game changer. I never realized how much of our mess revolved around that and keeping the floors and sink clean. I am still a slob and I have miles to go on decluttering, but it’s getting easier….with those areas cleaner I feel motivated to clean other things.
I’ve always been so curious, thanks for sharing! It would definitely not be an every-week expense for us, but good to know it’s there in a pinch!
Rebecca C says
Speaking of laundry, I’ve been slooooooowly reading through your book (not because of the book, it’s just been a rough year), and finished the chapters on laundry a couple days ago. Today is my first designated Laundry Day, and while it has been awful, I can totally see where this is going to work for me!
I always played the “well someday I’m going to get the hang of doing a load a day” game in my head. And I could even get in the rhythm of washing and drying, but folding and putting away was somehow beyond me? Today I cleared out the huge piles of clean laundry that “somehow” grow in between my bed and the wall (somehow being because I would put clean clothes on the bed so I’d fold them before bedtime- LOL). So. Much. Laundry! But I just put the LAST load in the dryer, and there is clean laundry in the dressers, laundry in the kitchen, etc. instead of weeks of clean laundry piled up all over my bedroom. The project is (almost) done, and then I don’t have to think about it for 6 days! Bliss.
Even better, it frees up my washer and dryer during the week for those inevitable toddler bed wetting, dog throwing up, toddler bringing a chicken into the house who pooped on a rug (just me?) accidents throughout the week.
Dana, you are hilarious, as always. $50?? I’m with you, I’d rather not!!
When I did my first face book live, I realized I was copying some of your facial expressions/! That’s sincere flattery, right??!!
I agree… that’s too much to spend on laundry. But it would make me feel better ordering pizza on laundry day because I saved WAY MORE by actually doing the laundry and not cooking. (What if I put a scale in my laundry room. HA!)
I actually think the errand of having to lug your laundry out to your car and deliver and then pick it up is just as bad as doing the laundry!
But I’m wondering if this is a solution for that “first” laundry day. Probably VERY expensive – more than $50! But to get “on track” without it being painful or spending a ton of time on it. Just an idea!
I wouldn’t do this at home, but it made sense while traveling. The airline charged $25 for the first checked bag and $50 for any more. We decided to pack only enough for a few days in one carry on bag each and do laundry mid week. Unfortunately, the service at the hotel cost about $5 a pound and we were staying in the business district of a big city where there were no laundromats. However, there were dry cleaners offering a wash & fold service just about everywhere. It was $2 a pound, but with less than 10 lbs, it was cheaper than taxi fare to a laundromat in another part of town. Now, I look for hotels with a laundry room available, but in a pinch, I’d do the wash & fold service again. Plus, I didn’t have a huge backlog of laundry to do as soon as I got home.
my dad takes his work (uniform) shirts to get washed and pressed. (not just folded). I would consider doing it for something like that, but not every day run of the mill laundry. my husband and I tag team the laundry though. he does the kids clothes while I’m at work, and I do our clothes on my day off. and we pretty much have given up on folding anything except sheets and towels. i reasoned that when I put off folding it, we end up wearing clothes straight out of the basket until the basket is empty, so they’re not folded when we’re wearing them anyway. so now I just shove them all into the appropriate drawers and I get to send the empty baskets back to the laundry room.
That’s funny, I just did this for the first time in a long time to play catch up from a vacation. It was about 70lbs/$70, but worth the one time save. We had a million obligations that weekend and laundry would have killed all our plans. But not something I’d do on the regular.
I have used a Wash Dry Fold service last year and had a great experience with it. DH’s company was on strike duty and he was working 72 hours a week. I don’t recall the price but it was under $30, my kids are smaller than yours so their clothes weigh less (for now).
Actually this post inspiring me to do it again!
I paid for a weekly wash, dry and fold service for my daughter when she lived in a college dorm. I don’t recall the cost, but I didn’t think it was too expensive. The big savings was time as she didn’t have to compete for washers and dryers in the dorm.
I have used Wash/Dry/Fold off and on, not recently. There were the good ones, and the bad ones. When I found a great place, I stuck with it even if it was 25 cents more!
I never sent towels, sheets, jeans & uber delicates are not sent. The first three weigh more, easy to wash, can sit in the drier and await my pleasure ** ahem** non-busyness. $ saved. The last initial cost was way to high to risk being thrown in with colors, etc. also $ saved.
Then I married again. My husband will throw on a load in a heartbeat. Have trained him NOT to dry bras and NOT to wash jeans with anything but towels. What few other delicates I have are held in the closet until I have time to wash them myself. BUT all the other items, he’s a blessing.
I do wash and fold because I have to use the laundry room in the basement of my condo. At $1.75 to wash and $1.75 to dry a load and the fact that if you don’t get the laundry out the second it is done, someone dumps your clean laundry (either wet or dry) on a less than clean surface, it’s more than worth it to me.
This is what I was thinking too. I wish we knew how many loads was in this week’s worth of laundry. At $4 a load to wash and dry, plus detergent and fabric softener, it’s probsbly not that much more expensive. And if you have a washer and dryer at home, you’re paying for water, electricity, and supplies. When I add in the value of my time, this seems like a pretty good deal!
I just got done with my 21st straight day on shift. Dropped off a weeks worth of laundry for me the kids and my wife. $38 dollars (what my cost was) for a day of not doing laundry is very worth it in my opinion. But according to my dear wife my opinion is usually wrong 😀
I drop off my laundry at a wash & fold because the service is excellent and price is great ($1/ lb). My clothes always look better when they’re professionally washed, and I don’t mind the cost at all.
Laundry is actually the thing that I don’t mind doing at all. The rest of my house is a complete disaster, but laundry is always washed/dried/folded in a timely manner. Putting it away can be a different story, depending on the day 😜 I’ve been thinking about starting a wash & fold service in my town, but I just don’t know if it would fly. I live in a really small town (like 700 people), so I doubt there are enough people to support it. Although, that does mean that real estate is quite a bit cheaper, and I *could* run loads to/from the nearest big town (an hour away). I suppose it’s like any business idea, it’s a gamble to shell out the start up costs! But if people would pay $1/lb, it might be worth it 🤔
Thank you for bringing light to this process. I am considering doing this as a catch up method to start the new year right. I am a little nervous to do it since I’ve never done it before myself.
In my town, we have one laundromat that offers wash and fold service for $2.75 a pound. I dropped off three weeks’ worth of laundry on Thursday afternoon and paid just over $90 when I picked it up Friday. I’m still trying to determine if I would do it again — the two hours I gained back, as well as the stress that didn’t happen (I love doing laundry myself, just not THERE) was wonderful. I have a fairly busy schedule, and also live alone in a small apartment without laundry facilities, so it’s a little less about convenience and a little more about helping this chore fit into my life.
I think if I refine my clothing management routine, go a little more often, and figure out when it’s most advantageous for me to do this instead of doing it myself, it may be worth it at least once in a while, because I’ve discovered that my time — and my sanity — is incredibly valuable. 🙂
Alie Butterfield says
Laundry service is my favorite thing! I loathe laundry. I’ve tried it all sorts of ways (even your way! And I am so bad at it. Anyway, my laundry service is $1 a pound and picks it up and drops it off!!! And they let you pick what kind of detergent they use! It’s fantastic! Anyway, trash in your laundry is gross but I think you got a bad company.
What about a Mother’s Helper? Can you pay someone less, for the same service at home, by a young girl looking for extra cash? I would.
Diane Boerstler says
Mines $2.50 a lb. And I don’t think I’ll ever do laundry outside of blankets and towels again. I guess it depends on what your times worth, how busy Business is, and whether you just can’t seem to catch up or keep up. I understand that the “cost” seems “big” but with five kids I’d rather buy that special time with them then spend it feeling frustrated about mundane tasks. I tried paying them to do it. They get paid for other things instead…some from their own online businesses…so to this hard working single mama it just makes more sense to send out the laundry and pay for lawn mowing instead of feeling like there’s never enough time to get it all done. I’m super grateful for the people who pick up and drop off my laundry every week.
When my husband and I moved from my apartment into our first house together, he convinced me to do wash and fold. I didn’t even know such services existed. All clothes and linens were stuffed into garbage bags and taken to the service. A week later we picked up everything we owned and it had all been folded into perfect little squares or hung up. Decadent but so worth it. I have no idea how much it cost, and after Sally’s post I don’t want to.
I just started to send out my laundry, washing machine broke. At first, it seemed stupid but now I am in love. I have a minimum of 2 hours back each week. It now takes 5 minutes to put away, with hanging and less then 2 minutes to get it ready. I do agree that it’s not for everyone, for me it is a brilliant gift.
I use these services on occasion. Wisest thing to do is pick the heavier items out (sweats, jeans, blankets, ect) and do those at home. Saves time and money both.
This is interesting. So my husband and I are opening a Laundry mat and considered doing wash and fd and I was googling peoples experiences to get a feel for how to make it competitive. In your opinion and anyone else’s what would have made this experience more reasonable or enjoyable. What could they have done to either justify the price or if they brought the price down along with other things would make you want to do it again
As a laundromat owner who offers this service, I don’t think you could make any profit charging less than a dollar a pound. Remember you have to pay an employee to do the work. I know this article is several years old each are significantly more than $1/lb.
Beth Kemp says
If you take of what you spend on detergent and electricity though, what would it be then?