Shiniest laundromat in Chicago
February 24, 2018 4:30 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a laundromat or service with a large, extremely clean washing machine to get my new queen-sized comforter cleaner than new, using my own fragrance-free/propylene-glycol-free detergent. Open to dry cleaners also. I'm also open to the idea that all dry cleaners do this, or all cleaners do this, but I'm skeptical at the moment.

The starting point, geographically, is LaSalle and North Avenue / Old Town. I have a car for a few more days.

I just called the nearby laundromat with the most impressive web presence, Sudz, but it sounds like they have older machines and are just a basic laundromat. Might be what I end up _having_ to do, but I'm going through a thing and need better results if I can get them.

I'm already planning to consider doing two loads -- a bunch of towels, to clear out perfumey previous detergent residue, then the main comforter load. I'm not keen on how much time this will take, though.

I think I might need a laundry service? Or a dry cleaner that will also wash comforters on premises, but that's allergy-aware? All the businesses around here seem super, uh, established and not focused on that kind of service.

Any ideas? Thanks in advance.
posted by amtho to Grab Bag (14 answers total)
Not working on the phone for me but all my stuff goes to this place
posted by tilde at 5:24 AM on February 24, 2018

Man, that web site is not working at all. Can you give me a hint about the location you use, or how you use them, or something? A phone number? It looks promising.
posted by amtho at 5:43 AM on February 24, 2018

Is this a down comforter? Is there an outdoors clothing & equipment store that you trust? Give them a call and ask if they recommend any dry cleaners for sleeping bags & similar equipement. I did this a number of years ago in Boston (I probably called Eastern Mountain Sports, who were at that time locally owned & operated) & was directed to a dry cleaner in the suburbs that specialized in cleaning down fabrics.
posted by mr vino at 6:02 AM on February 24, 2018

It's a cotton comforter with polyester fill. It could go in a regular clothes washer, it's just too large.

My main concern isn't the vulnerability of the fabric. It's that it not be shoved in a mildewy old washer that smells like the perfume of previous people's detergents, that it not be washed with generic detergent (must use mine), and that it be rinsed very, very thoroughly - so I'm not in love with HE washers for this.
posted by amtho at 6:06 AM on February 24, 2018

You might try calling Barry-Regent - they are what I think of as the "top" Chicago dry cleaner and they do all kinds of "special service" stuff.
I have brought them several things that I thought were too complicated/important for regular dry cleaners or laundromats. They are not cheap.
posted by Mid at 8:01 AM on February 24, 2018

Well, here's what I'd do:

1) go to the closest, most convenient non-mildew-smelling laundromat (ideally near a bar or some other enjoyable location) with the comforter and a load of bathmats or old towels or something
2) identify the best-looking machine and run the towels and bathmats once or twice on hot with my detergent to clean the machine
3) run the machine with the comforter
4) if the comforter is insufficiently rinsed, run it again with no soap

The downside is of course that that will take a long time. But you get to see what's happening and it won't cost much. And if you're next to a bar (or a coffeeshop I guess) you can keep yourself entertained.
posted by mskyle at 8:07 AM on February 24, 2018 [4 favorites]

I recently went to Wash U Coin Laundry in Uptown for a similar purpose, and was surprised at how shiny and new everything seemed to be. Although I've never had a problem with mildew/perfume/etc at the few other less-fancy laundromats I've been to, so our standards may differ.
posted by gueneverey at 9:53 AM on February 24, 2018

If you’re allergic to fragrance (like I am), your best bet is probably the time consuming method described above. The residues from the machines will make your comforter smell unless you wash some towels a few times with something like Charlie’s Soap to clean the machine.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 10:58 AM on February 24, 2018

I'd like to piggy-back on this question to ask all of the front-loader owners if you ever had problems with musty smell coming from the machine? It was the number one complaint we heard again and again a few years ago (and also complaints about having to leave th door open all of the time to combat the smell) and was the reason why we bought a top-loader. Is it a problem that's been rectified in recent years?
posted by vignettist at 12:26 PM on February 24, 2018

Our new-ish LG will get a musty smell if we do not clean the door gasket periodically. But after we clean the gasket it is fine. So, not a big problem but something you have to address with cleaning every once in a while.
posted by Mid at 12:31 PM on February 24, 2018

Sorry. OXXO cleaners. They use stuff that’s not stinky. I get sneezy walking the detergent aisle at the grocery store.
posted by tilde at 3:19 PM on February 24, 2018

The smell developes if you only use low temperature settings. Use highest possible setting once a month (on ours this is 90 celcius, intended for towels and sheets ). Not sure if you can do that in the US though.
posted by 15L06 at 5:11 PM on February 24, 2018

For front loaders leave the door open after you use it until the interior is totally dry, and run a light bleach load once a month or so on the "clean machine" program, which uses very hot water. Have had no musty odors at all following this plan.

And don't forget you've got stuff in the washer for days after it's washed.
posted by citygirl at 6:17 PM on February 24, 2018

So, I did some considering, and realized that Evanston would be more likely to have what I'm looking for. I found this place - Best Care Cleaners, called, talked to the owner -- anyway, she's 100% completely on board with the avoiding allergy / avoiding chemicals thing, maybe more than I am. I drove the 30 minutes to drop off my comforter and she would not let me leave until she gave me not one, but two different juice recipes to fix my allergy/liver/whatever she thought was going on with me. She might have been coming from a Chinese medicine place? Or just really into juicing? She pointed me to a specific juicer on Amazon.

When I say pointed me to, I mean got a card, wrote the name of the juicer, wrote Amazon, and would not let me leave for 15 minutes while she emphatically told me what to juice and how it would affect my overall health.

She also went on about how she really liked the specific brand of detergent I brought (she's directly across from Whole Foods in Evanston, which is where the detergent came from). I don't think she was just being nice.

Seriously, you guys, this was an encounter and a half, and she's super super nice. You probably want to meet this person.

She moved to the eco-dry-cleaner system a few years ago because of her own allergy issues.

I could have gotten same-day service if I'd dropped the comforter off by 10.

The thing that's really convinced me is that she just flat-out said she'd do extra hot rinsing for a little surcharge. Which I am beyond happy to pay.

Oh, and ALSO, you guys, they were selling Girl Scout Cookies across the street today.
posted by amtho at 8:42 PM on February 24, 2018 [4 favorites]

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