Laundry is a time-consuming chore I’d rather not think about.
That’s why I was eager to try out Washio, an 0n-demand laundry startup with door-to-door service.
I tried something like Washio in college. Laundry Luv, as it was called, would wash and fold as much clothing as I could fit in a laundry bag and return it two days later. It wasn’t affordable and there certainly wasn’t an app to help you out. But in the modern era, almost every service you could imagine is available through an app — especially in San Francisco, where I live.
When I opened up the Washio app I was prompted to enter my address and payment info. The app takes Apple Pay, too.
Once I entered my info, I hit the “order” tab to set up my delivery. The app lets you schedule your pickup, delivery, and how frequently you’d like your laundry done all on the same page. You don’t have to commit to a reoccurring order to use Washio; one of the options is “one time only.”
The pricing is easy to understand. Washio weighs your laundry after it’s picked up and charges by by the pound. In San Francisco, simple wash and fold service is $US1.60 a pound. Washio offers dry cleaning service too, and will even wash your blankets and outwear like coats, but those options are more expensive. Dry cleaning a two-piece suit costs $US15 and a formal dress costs $US24.
I scheduled my laundry pickup for Tuesday at 9pm and delivery for Wednesday at 9 pm. Both times, they gave me 30 minute windows. Pickups are always the next day.
The company gives you a black reusable bag to put your clothes in on your first delivery. The person who picked up my laundry reminded me not to include items I thought might shrink.
Loading my dirty laundry into Washio’s bag was a little weird. I felt pressured to shove my clothes in the bag as quickly as possible while trying to pick out shirts I thought would shrink. The person picking up my laundry was polite and tried not to stare at me while I did this.
Drivers usually show up with a cookie when they pick up your dirty clothes, but mine didn’t. It was the end of the day and he had run out from previous pickups.
Once my laundry was out of sight, it was out of mind. I didn’t think about it at all until I was waiting for my delivery on Wednesday.
When my clothes arrived, I got a card thanking me for using Washio. Still no cookie, though. My laundry was divided into two bags: one for socks and underwear and another for everything else.
It was kind of amazing to look at the finished product. All my laundry was meticulously folded. Socks were paired correctly. It was glorious.
It’s a good thing Washio is such a friendly company, because on-demand laundry isn’t cheap.
My wash and fold order, which would have cost me around $US6 to do myself in the coin-operated laundry machines in my building, ran me $US28 (including a delivery fee). That was probably two weeks’ worth of laundry. I’m sure some people would pay $US14 a week for the service.
I’m fortunate because I have a washer and dryer in my building. A lot of my colleagues who use laundromats might pay extra just to avoid the hassle of dragging their clothes around and being stuck away from home with little else to do.
Washio is only available in a few cities so far: San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, and Boston. If you live in one of those places, and have more money than time to spend, Washio is worth a look. Otherwise, you can always catch up on your reading at the laundromat.