Laundry: you either love or loathe it.
Regardless of your feelings, everyone loves fresh, clean clothing. At The Folde, we love it so much we will even help you with yours. Novelist and playwright W. Somerset Maugham imparts his wisdom to us, “look out for your laundry, and your soul will look out for itself.” Today, soul caretaking sometimes feels like an easier task than doing something as sisyphean as laundry, even if an in-unit washing machine and dryer are present in your apartment or house.
Going through the laundry list of options, one can either wash clothing by hand, visit a laundromat on a regular basis, or utilize a service that collects, cleans, and collates garments. Washing an entire wardrobe by hand would be an arduous task, and likely the most unfeasible task for many of us today. With that being said, it’s worth exploring the pros and cons between cleaning clothes at a laundromat and entrusting a pick-up laundry service like ours to take care of our laundry.
Pros and Cons of Taking your Laundry to a Retail Laundromat
With advances in vending technology and machine capacity, laundromats are getting easier and easier to use! But, it’s not always fun to lug all your laundry down the block just to wait around for it to wash and dry…
Benefits of a Laundromat
Higher capacity machines: at laundromats, washing machines have more features and abilities than a standard washing machine, which is a pro, because heavier loads and more voluminous items (such as comforters, and even pillows) can be washed with more efficiently.
Amount of washing machines and dryers: Dozens of washing machines and dryers are found within laundromats, which allows you to clean multiple loads of clothing at the same time, drastically reducing laundry time when compared with the single in-unit washing machine and dryer pair.
Amount of space: Compared to most laundry rooms (especially if you’re living in an apartment), the amount of open space laundromats provide to properly fold your clothing is a major plus. Caring for laundry at a laundromat can be a meditative experience—Marie Kondo, for example, has turned laundry into an almost soothing, therapeutic time to reconnect with such important fabrics: “The act of folding is far more than making clothes compact for storage. It is an act of caring, an expression of love and appreciation for the way these clothes support your lifestyle. Therefore, when we fold, we should put our heart into it, thanking our clothes for protecting our bodies.”
In-service folding: Some laundromats have been helping customers to reduce their time spent at a laundromat and on the tedious repetitions of laundry by folding their clothing for them.
The caveat to these benefits is that they are almost entirely contingent on the laundromat.
Negatives of a Laundromat
The inconvenience: Lugging bags of clothing to a laundromat multiple times a month presents an obstacle, especially for those with disabilities.
Cleanliness: Or, the potential lack thereof, is an issue for some, highlighted even more during this pandemic.
Allocating enough time: Timing is important; visiting a laundromat at peak hours might mean more waiting time for their patrons, or even the inability to actually complete any laundry tasks. Finding the time to wait at the laundromat can be difficult, and should clothing be unwatched, the trustworthiness of other patrons comes into play. (I can recall, while living in an off-campus apartment, my neighbors’ and my clothing went missing, prompting resident advisors to issue warnings about clothing thieves.)
Location: a lot of us live in suburban areas today, and these locales are a deterrent from being able to efficiently use a laundromat. Compared to someone located in a denser metropolitan area, it’s downright impossible. It’s one thing to be able to walk down the stairs and across the way to use a laundromat–a ten-minute traverse–but another thing to drive, likely during rush hour, and then find parking, and then do laundry.
Health hazards: Proposition 65 warnings are a common sign in many laundromats today, giving the notion that entering a laundromat is akin to gambling your life for clean clothing. Scented laundry detergents are linked to cancer—while you may be using fragrance free detergent, a neighbor two machines down from you might be unknowingly exposing carcinogenic compounds to the laundromat.
Lastly: Carrying coins around is inconvenient, and science only knows how safe at this current time it is to do this. While some modern laundromats have moved to card readers for machine vending, most haven’t. And, this means you’re going to need to bring your quarters!
Despite the negatives of laundromat life, if life happens to be structured for it, laundromats can be amazing. Again, timing and the proximity to a laundromat are crucial to making it work, which are, coincidentally, what a lot of people lack. They’ll typically use the laundry at a family or friends’ place; if they’re solo, they might turn to using a laundry service, via an app on their phones. Some of these services, however, have merited a reputation that causes people to grin and bear the laundromat, despite the inconveniences.
Benefits of a Pick-Up Laundry Service
Time: The convenience and value of freeing those from laundromats and laundry rooms who see the task of laundry not as lovingly as Marie Kondo does, but as a monotonous chore that devours time, plays a huge role in choosing these services.
Folding services: Nothing says, “my life is together” like a well-managed wardrobe, complete with pleated fabrics, organized by color, or however you prefer. If you’re living in Houston or Austin, services like ours at The Folde will fold your clothing for you after they’ve been thoroughly cleaned.
Optimization: The Folde asks that all their customers do is separate regular launderable items from those needing dry cleaning, and place these in different bags. We’ll even separate darker clothing from the lighter ones. Additionally, as part of our wash and fold service package, we hang and steam all collared shirts, dresses, and blouses that need dry cleaning.
User-Friendly Service: Our app is easy to use, and scheduling a laundry pick-up has never been easier for Austin and Houston-based residents. We also give two complimentary bags to our customers, which are delivered on your scheduled laundry days. Two bag sizes are offered; a standard-sized bag holds enough for three loads worth of clothing, and the x-large bag holds five loads worth of clothing. We also do laundry for those visiting Austin and Houston, and businesses.
Bonus: Being local to Austin and Houston, we at The Folde are fortunate and grateful to be able to refrain from outsourcing each and every step, ensuring the quality and cleanliness of your clothing is returned to you in the best condition.
Negatives of a Pick-Up Laundry Service
Outsourcing: Many of these companies are able to operate due to their outsourcing of each task associated with doing laundry. Entrusting our precious clothing (and soul) to a stranger is daunting; even writing this sentence makes me apprehensive to do so, especially after reading online worst-case scenarios people have experienced. Better to have clothes and less free time, than no clothes and even less free time. It seems, from online communities and forums, that the bigger the business with whom you entrust your clothing, the higher the risk of outsourcing, which means that more steps are added to clean, dry, and fold the laundry.
Poorly Managed Clothing: In part due to outsourcing, many customers have noted that their experience with pick-up laundry services have been disappointing. Clothes have been returned in worse conditions, or completely lost. While this is improving as standards rise in the industry, there are still many low-cost providers with who you might be rolling the dice with…
Those who have been the victims of poorly managed laundry service experiences are sure to tell you that their woes only end when they contact (outsourced) customer service representatives, and are without their clothing for a week or more at a time. They then swear off using the business that granted them such a peevish, desultory experience, but they do provide a solution to those who seek an efficient way to have paid laundry services work for them: local laundry service companies.