I need a laundry service in Vancouver, BC
February 16, 2016 9:24 AM   Subscribe

I need someone to do my laundry for me. I do not have a washing machine and am not well enough to go to the laundromat regularly. Please recommend a laundry service or better strategies for finding one.

I need a service that can:
* pick up and drop off my laundry from my home
* clean and fold/hang laundry
* accommodate a high proportion of cold water, delicates, hand wash, hang dry and lay flat to dry laundry
* do my laundry once every 3-4 weeks

Would be nice, but not required:
* accommodate bedding periodically - pillows, duvets, etc.
* take care of dry cleaning

I've googled for services, but all the laundry services I've found can't handle the delicates/hand wash. I've also investigated those senior help services and cleaning services, but they seem to just come to your house and do laundry. I put an ad up on Craigslist, but only one person answered and they flaked.

Ideally this would be a legit bonded/insured business, but I'm also totally fine with someone just taking my laundry to their house/a laundromat themselves.
posted by cronert to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
The places that do "activities of daily living" assistance for seniors should absolutely be able to handle laundromats just fine; they go on shopping trips and all sorts of other expeditions with or for their clients. You'll have to verify it over the phone, but only because they don't usually list every single thing they do on their websites.
posted by SMPA at 9:37 AM on February 16, 2016

Do you live in a place where Taskrabbit is? Also, I'd reach out to friends, and friends of friends. This is the perfect job for a college student or teen who just wants to earn some spending money.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:03 AM on February 16, 2016

Does it have to be one service that does everything? 'Wash and fold' (including bedding) and dry cleaning pick-up/delivery are standard services in most major cities, often the same place will do both, so delicates are the only really tricky bit. I'd start by sending as much as possible to one of the regular services and be very generous with what gets dry cleaned, just to reduce the number of items that require special handling.

For the actual delicates, I would also go with Taskrabbit or word-of-mouth. Even in NYC, I've only seen one (very pricey) laundry service that claims to do delicates by hand, and most laundromat machines don't even have a gentle cycle.

Have you considered a portable washing machine? Not knowing anything else about your situation, maybe you can manage a reduced number of delicates yourself at home. It might also make it easier to find someone to come do laundry at your house.
posted by yeahlikethat at 11:29 AM on February 16, 2016

I used Nurse Next Door, they would change my bed linens, put clothes away, etc in addition to other services. They have a 3 hour minimum.

My sister-in-law has a homestay Filipina nanny. She lays flat to dry all of the kids diapers, etc. This works fine for a full-time arrangement where this is one of many duties, not sure you will find success with this on a part-time basis. It is hard to train people to handle your clothes exactly the way you like, and there is high turnover with this sort of role so you will be continually training.

I suggest buying new clothes that are machine washable/dry cleanable, and keeping only the barest minimums of delicates such as bras. It will be cheaper in the long run to buy new clothes than to service the existing ones. You can then outsource the management of the machine washable/dry cleanable clothes to any service that helps with the activities of daily living. You could ask for special handling of a very small number of delicates, or perhaps even attempt them yourself.
posted by crazycanuck at 1:08 PM on February 16, 2016

Best answer: This exists!!! You want Swan Laundry downtown. I used them when I was travelling full time for work - professional job but living out of a backpack like a student, typically in rural areas - so my laundry was a bizarre mess of delicate cardigans and shells mixed with sweatpants and hiking gear, all tossed in a giant travel backpack. They would take my unsorted heap, carefully read all the labels to separate out the hand wash / hang dry and dry clean only stuff, and give me back these crisp white paper bags full of nice smelling clothes all folded up and tied with pretty pink ribbons. So so lovely. And it's seriously not that expensive! They charge by the pound like a regular laundromat, except they are amazing. (I should specify I never used their pick up / delivery service, but I can enthusiastically vouch for every other aspect.) Oh man, I miss having someone to do my laundry now that I'm not passing through Vancouver much any more.
posted by TheLittlestRobot at 7:48 PM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Indeed, Swan looked amazing. Unfortunately, they only do pickup and delivery in the downtown core.
posted by cronert at 7:56 PM on February 16, 2016

Best answer: If Swan will do everything that needs to be done, then the thing to figure out is how to get your clothes there and back. Honestly, finding someone to transport your laundry to Swan once a month sounds way easier than finding someone to do your laundry exactly the way you want it done. It might even be cost-effective to use a courier service or call a cab/Uber, compared to the cost of home attendants or cleaning services.
posted by yeahlikethat at 8:32 PM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Ok, trying Swan Laundry + Phantom Courier. Will report back in a week or so with results!
posted by cronert at 12:35 PM on February 17, 2016

Response by poster: Alright! Here's how everything shook out:

40 pounds of laundry costs a little over $100. That's $2.25/lb at Swan Laundry + Phantom Courier charging ~$10 each way. Everything was done carefully and perfectly - my nicest, most difficult to care for stockings and dresses came back looking better than they have since I got them. They also communicated well and handled the courier situation easily and without confusion.

Phantom Courier's communication style is very brief and was a bit confusing for me since I'd never used a courier service, but everything worked out and they are fast and punctual.

$100 is ... not cheap for a little more than a month's worth of laundry. Other places charge $1.25-1.50/lb for laundry. However, other places won't touch most of my wardrobe. I looked into getting some done at the cheap places and the delicates only done at Swan, but the courier fees mean that's a wash.

This isn't ideal, but until I'm well enough to get myself to a laundromat, it looks like the best option.

For others looking for something similar -

Things that didn't work:
- hiring someone on Craigslist or nannyservices.ca to do it for $1.50/lb normal and $2.00/lb handwash + delivery cost
- hiring Nurse Next Door. They flat out said none of their employees were willing to do purely labor jobs; they're only interested in positions that are more of companionship role. Also, this and other senior carer services were even more expensive than Swan Laundry + Phantom Courier.
- finding someone through my social network
Things I wasn't willing to do:
- stop wearing sinfully sexy clothes and get a mostly regular wash wardrobe
- switch to dry clean only instead of delicates. That's much more expensive than $2.25/lb for delicates
Things I can't do:
- put a portable washing machine in my rental. Which is unfortunate, because this really does seem like the most cost effective solution.
- use Taskrabbit. Doesn't exist here. Also I kind of hate the exploitation sharing economy

Thanks for all the advice! While the situation isn't perfect, I have clean sheets and stockings now <3 <3
posted by cronert at 8:57 AM on February 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

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