Like a bailout, but for laundry.
April 12, 2011 1:02 PM   Subscribe

Is there a laundromat or cleaners in NYC that will hand wash clothes?

I have a giant bag of clothes that needs to be hand washed: It's full of wool sweaters, rayon dresses, silk anything, stockings and such. I would gladly pay a lump of money to get me back to zero, so I'm only saddled with washing things after I've worn them, not playing catchup. Is there a laundromat or cleaners in New York City (and preferably, South Brooklyn) that will hand wash clothes?

In advance of a couple possible answers: I'd rather not dry-clean the items, the washing machines in my building don't have a delicate setting, and doing a couple items at a time quickly overwhelms the number of towels I have to roll things in, making it take forever.
posted by evidenceofabsence to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I've heard it said that a lot of "dry cleaning" is actually very gentle machine washing in a good machine, and that a good dry cleaner knows what can and can't be washed in water, and can do it safely. I've also heard that most things that say "hand wash only" can be safely washed by an experienced launderer in a good washing machine if they know what they are doing.

I'd look around for a well trusted dry cleaner in the neighborhood (South Brooklyn should have plenty) and ask if they can very gently wash your items. A good cleaner will answer honestly. Then you can give them the whole load.

Well, except for stockings and bras. Those really do need to be washed in the sink.
posted by ladypants at 1:33 PM on April 12, 2011


I don't know New York all that well but you should look for a "wet cleaner."
This one on Greenwich, for example.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 1:51 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


My wife washes all of her wool sweaters, silk doo-dads, and such in the washing machine on a super-duper low cycle with a detergent made from unicorn tears and baby kisses and then drys them flat. Most things get put in mesh bags so that they don't get stretched out of shape. I'm not saying that this will work for you, but her clothes come out just fine.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 2:34 PM on April 12, 2011


If no one provides a more specific answer, I bet a house cleaning/maid service company could do it. A lot of them offer laundry services, which probably doesn't mean specifically what you're asking for, but you could probably find one that would do it. And googling new york city hand wash laundry produced this and this.
posted by Mavri at 3:01 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Certainly Meurice Garment Care will do it, but I've had my usual cleaner, Aphrodite Cleaners on University Place, hand-wash my Prada shirts.
posted by nicwolff at 3:04 PM on April 12, 2011


I'm glad I'm not the only one who has this problem! Could you try a laundromat and see if they have a delicate cycle? It may be a long shot though.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 4:51 PM on April 12, 2011


The laundry in my neighborhood, Cobble Hill Cleaners, will wash things in a washer-- I think--and hang them to dry on hangers. That might work for some of your clothes. Another option is to ask your neighbors if anyone knows a housekeeper looking for a few extra hours of work. She can bring a bag of dry towels, if you don't have enough, and do the handwashing at your apartment.
posted by pipti at 5:29 PM on April 12, 2011


Response by poster: Thanks for all your answers! Meurice might be out of my range, but I will check the rates at the places Mavri mentioned. (The items in question are made from finicky fabrics, but they aren't exactly Prada shirts.)

Also, otherworldlyglow is right. I should have been searching for "wet cleaning" instead of "hand washing." Which I didn't know, even though it seems like I should have! (Wet cleaning is the opposite of dry cleaning? Oh go on.) This place is fairly close by, and offers pickup and drop-off. I'm gonna call them too, just as soon as I get over the idea of "green" and "Park Slope" and "someone else doing my chores." I mean, what's left after that? Getting a double-wide stroller? Joining the co-op? Good god.

And I'm glad I'm not the only one, too! Seriously. I have been putting this off for more or less years. Time to finally bite the bullet. Thanks again!
posted by evidenceofabsence at 7:49 PM on April 13, 2011


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