My Beautiful Folded Laundry
June 14, 2011 7:12 PM   Subscribe

Wash, iron, and fold shirts in the San Francisco Bay Area?

I have a business-casual job again. Last time, I lived in New York City, and most laundries offered to fold washed and ironed shirts -- you got a cardboard box of shirts (folded around useful shirt cards) and no metal hangers or plastic laundry bags.

Now I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and despite the environmentalist priorities here, I can't find a shirt-folding laundry.

Are there any that I'm missing? I'm in Oakland, but I travel a lot locally and could work other locations into a laundry routine.

Is this regional? East Coast vs. West Coast? If I started a folding laundry in Oakland, would you come?
posted by FLAG (BASTARD WATER.) (Acorus Adulterinus.) to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There's Wash & Fold all over San Francisco - I live within spitting distance of two locations in the Sunset and there's numerous places all over the city.

I can't imagine there aren't places in Oakland, either - a cursory google search brings up Wesley Wash and Fold, but looking up laundromats on Yelp might yield more responses.
posted by one.louder.ash! at 7:20 PM on June 14, 2011

Here's a place in San Francisco that says they do it.
posted by Jahaza at 7:53 PM on June 14, 2011

Yeah I think that's pretty popular in the Bay Area, at least it was 20 years ago because I used to love using my dad's shirt cardboards for art projects!
posted by radioamy at 8:14 PM on June 14, 2011

Every dry cleaners I've used in San Francisco will do this if you specifically ask. Sometimes there's a small extra charge. I've had them do this when I'm going to be traveling and want the shirts nicely folded so they better survive in the suitcase. Keep asking dry cleaning shops and I'm sure you'll find one that offers this.

I can't really see why you'd want the folded shirts if you aren't going to be traveling. People want their shirts on hangers to avoid creases. The laundry will gladly take the hangers back so they can be reused. I'll just take a big load over every once and a while when the closet starts getting full of wire hangers. The bags are more of an issue. I suppose you could ask them not to bag or to use fewer bags, but I usually bundle them up dump them off in the plastic bag recycling bins found at most San Francisco grocery stores (here's a list).
posted by zachlipton at 8:14 PM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]

I just want to echo everything zachlipton said above.
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:25 PM on June 14, 2011

zachlipton: some people have more drawer space than closet space, and others find it easier to transport folded shirts (which are more or less flat) for the trip home from the laundry.
posted by gingerest at 8:28 PM on June 14, 2011

Response by poster: I don't care about a few ironed creases. I care about using metal and plastic that weighs more than the shirt to hang it artfully and creaselessly. The metal is recyclable, but the plastic film bags aren't -- you can shove them into the container at Safeway, but they're ultimately headed for the landfill (we hope). James Cagney looked great in ironed, folded shirts -- I should be so lucky! Even if it were all recycled, it's an additional energy expenditure far above and beyond washing the shirt and ironing and folding it. I'm ashamed to participate in all the wires and plastic bags.

Jahaza's link looks like a match for me, but San Francisco is actually one of the only San Francisco Bay Area cities I don't routinely visit -- with a car full of shirts, that is. I find that "wash and fold" in the Bay Area is exactly that, with no ironing (which is the only part I'm trying to avoid).

Wash collared shirt, iron this shirt, fold said shirt around a card, lay said assembly in a thin cardboard box: Where in the East Bay?
posted by FLAG (BASTARD WATER.) (Acorus Adulterinus.) at 8:46 PM on June 14, 2011

If all else fails, you can try returning hangers + bags to the cleaners. I've brought some back and they seemed happy to have them.
posted by Quietgal at 9:29 PM on June 14, 2011

Response by poster: I recycle the metal hangers. There's no market for the plastic film -- that's going straight to the landfill, whether or not your launderer seems happy when you hand it to him. (I doubt that they're reusing the OMG BEDBUGS AND AIDS hangers, by the way.)

It's just crazy to smelt steel and manufacture plastic and recycle steel and bury plastic when none of it is neccessary to get a presentable shirt on your business-casual back.

Obviously, we shouldn't be ironing shirts at all. But if we're going to accept doing that as a condition of employment, can we at least avoid expending more environmentally expensive resources to wash, iron, and return the shirt than it took to grow, weave, and sew the shirt?

That's why I'm looking for a place that will wash, iron, and neatly fold my shirt. Jahaza's Alabaster Cleaners is looking terrific (green drycleaning, too), but it's outside my geography. Any others like them in the East Bay/larger Bay Area?
posted by FLAG (BASTARD WATER.) (Acorus Adulterinus.) at 10:19 PM on June 14, 2011

The place I used in Rockridge did this. (No idea of the name, but it was basically at College and Broadway, as of 3 years ago.) I hadn't made any special effort to find them, so I can't imagine it's insanely rare -- either that or I was just lucky. Anyway, this was at a time when I was traveling way too often (i.e., basically every week) and had no washer/dryer at my apartment, so I would often just bring them a suitcase full of clothes to wash. I'd come back to a suitcase full of clean stuff, all carefully folded. It felt decadent and awesome.
posted by chalkbored at 10:45 PM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]
posted by matrushka at 5:51 AM on June 15, 2011

Sorry, I should have made that an active link. Here you go.
posted by matrushka at 5:52 AM on June 15, 2011

Bing Wong in north Berkeley does this. They're located between Saul's Deli and the CVS. It's a landromat, but if you go Monday-Saturday and take your clothes to the back counter, someone (usually an older Asian gentleman) will come up and ask you to leave your name and phone number with your laundry. They'll either call you when it's ready or tell you when to come back and pick it up. Service is same-day if you get there before noon, but if you come late in the day they'll have you pick it up the next day. Note that if you go too early in the morning, someone may not be there. I don't know if they iron (I've never asked them to), but clothes always come nicely, crisply folded and stacked in manageable bundles.

I've been using them for about 6 years now and am very happy with them. It's fairly inexpensive, too, at under $1/lb (I forget exactly how much--it used to be $0.80/lb, but it went up a little a couple years ago). It's generally around $25 for two trash bags full of daily clothes for me and my partner, but can be $35+ if we're washing lots of blankets and towels and jeans, too.
posted by rhiannonstone at 12:48 PM on June 15, 2011

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