COVID-19 + NYC Real Estate
One significant sacrifice most New Yorkers make to live in this city is giving up having their own in-unit washer and dryer. Many don’t even have laundry rooms in their buildings (gadzooks!). So, what are your options if you don’t have easy access to a laundry room, or simply hate washing clothes? Luckily, another perk about living in the Big Apple is that there are plenty of NYC laundry services. Here’s everything you need to know, including how to get the job done safely during COVID-19.
How Laundromats in NYC Work (Plus Some Good Ones to Try!)
Laundromats have been around since the 1930s, and the basic concept is still pretty much the same. They offer multiple washers and dryers that you pay to use. That means the fundamentals of how they work are also pretty much the same. If you’ve never used a laundromat before, here are several handy tips:
- Choose an optimal time: Weekends are peak hours, so if you want to avoid waiting for machines, weekday hours are going to be the least busy. If you need to do the wash on a Saturday or Sunday, try to get an early start.
- Have quarters ready: Some laundromats still require quarters, which can be a bummer if their change machines aren’t working. If you want to avoid any unwelcome surprises, call to find out if your local laundromat is coin or card-operated (and to see if their change machine is working).
- Bring your own products: While many laundromats have items like detergent and dryer sheets available for purchase, it will likely be cheaper to bring your own.
- Haul the laundry: A portal shopping cart that folds neatly for easy storage will make hauling your clothes back and forth much easier.
- Bring something to do: There’s a lot of waiting involved at laundromats. But you can use the time wisely. Bring your tablet or a book to enjoy some leisurely reading. Most laundromats have a waiting area, or you can duck out to a nearby coffee shop. Just be sure you are back in time to swap loads.
- Keep track of time: Common laundromat etiquette dictates that you have a minute or two to remove your clothes from a washer and dryer before someone else can remove them. That’s why it’s essential to set a timer (use your phone or smartwatch). It’s especially true during busier times.
While that’s the rundown of a traditional laundromat, some are trying to make the experience better, and even fun. These NYC laundry services are neighborhood favorites. Keep in mind, some of their unique offerings may not be available currently because of COVID-19.
This spot in Williamsburg aimed to be more than just a laundromat. The owners wanted to create an enjoyable NYC laundry service experience. How did they accomplish that? Well, the space is super-sleek and clean, with tall ceilings and lots of natural light. There’s also free WiFi on the top level, complete with seating overlooking the washer and dryers below. Plus, they accept ApplePay or credit card. So, no coins required.
2. Sunshine Laundromat and Pinball
Who wouldn’t love to drink beer and play pinball while doing the wash? This laundromat in Greenpoint doesn’t disappoint. Inside, you will find around 25 arcade games (!). There are also board games to play, no quarters required. The place is a bit small, so it can quickly get packed. If you want to enjoy the games, head over around 7 p.m. on a weeknight.
3. Bubbles and Suds Laundromat
Free bagels and coffee are significant incentives for doing your wash — and that’s what Bubbles and Suds offers at their three Queens locations. That’s in addition to the free WiFi and cable television, plus regular giveaways like a $500 laundry card.
With more than 60 locations throughout Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island, Clean Rite must be doing something right. The franchise model has allowed owners to make each place their own, with some offering arcade games and candy dispensers. At all of them, you can expect a lot of machines, laundry cards instead of coins, free WiFi, and a fully stocked product counter.
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Drop-Off NYC Laundry Services
If doing your own laundry in a neighborhood laundromat is not an option, many offer a drop-off wash-and-fold service.
Pros and Cons
The best part is not having to wait around for your clothes to get clean. You simply drop off your dirty stuff (preferably in a washable laundry bag) and pick it up a day or two later. Bonus: Your clean laundry comes perfectly folded, so all you have to do is put it away. On the flip side, you do have to haul your laundry back and forth yourself.
Drop-off/pick-up is typically a cheaper option than an NYC laundry service that delivers, but you will likely pay more than self-service. The pricing is generally pay-by-the-pound, with prices ranging from $1 to $2 or more per pound. Many will have a minimum amount you must meet. Expect additional fees for large machine-washable items like coats, blankets, and curtains.
How to Find a Drop-Off NYC Laundry Service
To find one, do a quick GoogleMap search to see what’s in the area, or take a quick walk around the neighborhood. With more than 2,500 laundromats in the city, there’s likely one nearby. Stop in and ask about rates, as some might be willing to negotiate. It’s also a good idea to check reviews on sites like Yelp.
Door-to-Door NYC Laundry Service
For those of us who don’t want to deal with schlepping clothes (and honestly, who does?), some laundromats provide pick-up and delivery services. Someone will come at a designated time to pick up your laundry and return it the same or next day — a win-win!
Pros and Cons
The advantages of this option are that it saves a ton of time, and you avoid having to haul dirty clothes down the block. However, you do have to think about scheduling pick-ups and drop-offs. Some places might not let you choose a specific time, meaning if you aren’t home to receive your laundry, it could get left in a lobby or brought back to the laundromat.
Again, checking reviews for local laundromats offering delivery service is an excellent way to find out things like whether they deliver on time, and if anyone’s articles of clothing went missing.
In most cases, expect to pay more per pound compared to drop-off NYC laundry services. You may also have to cough up a delivery fee — not to mention a tip.
How to Find a Door-to-Door NYC Laundry Service
It’s pretty much the same as finding one with a drop-off service. Do a quick search or walk around the block and inquire about what delivery options are available at a few spots. You might be able to bargain for better pricing, depending on how many laundromats are in the area.
Other places, like On the Go Laundry NYC, advertise their delivery service, saying they offer same- and next-day delivery and eco-friendly dry-cleaning services without charging a premium. So, a quick Google search of services in your neighborhood could yield similar results.
Cloth Diaper NYC Laundry Services
Some new parents choose to use cloth diapers, which require heavy-duty cleaning, for their babies instead of disposable ones. Cloth diaper service is a very niche aspect of NYC laundry delivery. A service will come once a week to pick up the dirty diapers and drop off laundered ones.
As of now, there seems to be one main option available: Diaperkind. The company services nearly all of New York City and parts of New Jersey. Pricing is either $36 or $46 per week, depending on the type of diaper, and they have a thorough explanation of how it all works on their website.
NYC Laundry Service Apps
Apps have now made NYC laundry delivery service even easier. While the basics are the same — dirty laundry gets picked up at your door and is dropped off later, clean — the process is booked via your phone or tablet. And there are seemingly a million to choose, including FlyCleaners, Cleanly, and Boomerang.
Pros and Cons
These start-up type businesses range in quality, so check out their reviews before trying.
The most convenient services will let you precisely schedule your pick-up and drop-off times and provide real-time delivery status. They also have an overnight express option and offer dry cleaning.
On the other hand, some of the apps can have limited service areas. Also, customers have complained about the occasional tech glitches. Lastly, scheduling windows might not be as convenient unless you’re willing to pay Uber-like premium pricing.
Just as the service ranges, the same goes for pricing. But it’s all by the pound. FlyCleaners is roughly $1.79 per pound, with no delivery or pick-up fee if you spend a minimum of $30 (otherwise, it’s $3.99). Cleanly is the same per-pound price with a minimum of 10 pounds. So, it’s best to thoroughly understand the pricing structure and ask a company representative questions if anything is unclear. Also, ask if they can weigh the laundry in front of you, so you know what to expect cost-wise.
How to Find a Laundry App
A quick Google search will return plenty of results revealing the numerous apps available. Once armed with a list, log on to the website to make sure they service your neighborhood. You can then look at the company’s pricing structure. Some offer a calculator to estimate your cost. If multiple apps service your area, then see which ones offer the best price. Of course, check out websites like Yelp for reviews to ensure the service is up to your expectations.
How to Safely Do Laundry During COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has prevented people from going about their normal lives in many ways. How does that affect doing your laundry out of the house? The answer is, you can still do it: Laundromats are considered an essential business. But here’s how to do it safely.
- Maintain social distancing orders: A lot of businesses and buildings have enacted crowd-control rules where only a certain number of people can be in a laundromat, or your building’s laundry room, at once. This ensures that there is enough space for people to complete their loads while staying the recommended six feet away.
- Leave the laundromat during a cycle: It’s best not to linger in public spaces like laundromats right now. Instead, head home or take a walk to a non-crowded area while your cycle completes. This prevents you from extended exposure to someone who is potentially infected and allows for a rotation of people in the laundromat.
- Wear a mask: The CDC recommends that everyone wear a mask while out in public. That includes in laundromats.
- Use warm or hot water: When it comes to doing laundry, both kill more germs than cold water.
- Wipe down surfaces: Bring disinfecting wipes and wipe down all communal objects, like handles and buttons on machines as well as any folding tables, etc.
- Wash your hands frequently: Any time you’re in a public space, it’s imperative that you avoid touching your face and wash your hands often.
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