I Tried 3 Laundry Services, and I’ll Never Do It Again (It Was a Nightmare!)

published Jun 9, 2024
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Laundry basket on living room rug with folded clothes in it
Credit: Photo: Sidney Bensimon; Prop Styling: Anna Surbatovich

It was a sunny spring day in New York City when I loaded up a big haul of dirty clothes and headed to the laundromat across the street — only to see the metal roll-up door shut and locked during their normal business hours. Upon further inspection, a neon green paper sign taped to the building explained they were to be closed for two months. 

Frustrated, I thought of what to do next. Of course, I could walk a few blocks to the closest laundromat, but I’d have to find another way to get my heavy laundry bag there. Would I have to call a car? Take multiple trips? Work from the laundromat in fear of someone stealing my clothes? Then I remembered what so many New Yorkers do regularly: Pay to have their laundry picked up, washed, dried, folded, and dropped off for them. This is where my laundry service adventure began.

I’ve never had anything against outsourcing laundry per se, but being that I live right next to a laundromat (with triple-load washers!), it’s never crossed my mind to try it. I was sure it would save time and hassle, but my frugal self has always doubted that it was worth the extra cash — and I’m not obsessed with the idea of other people washing my dirty clothes. Alas, this was my opportunity to see what laundry services were all about.

How I Chose and Tested Laundry Services

First and foremost, I wanted laundry services that would pick up, drop off, and do “same-day” service (which I learned is rarely same day, but more on that later). I had almost the same load of laundry cleaned by all three services, including towels, regular clothes, and pillowcases.

To give the most service to readers all over the country, I chose three laundry services that are available widely, or at least in major cities throughout the U.S.: Poplin, Rinse, and Laundryheap. I considered cost, effort, time spent, quality of the clean and fold, and how much mental energy it saved me. I rated each on a scale from one to five, with five being the best.

Credit: Quinn Fish


Cost: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 3/5

At $2 per pound for “Express,” which promised to be delivered same-day (otherwise it’d be $1 per pound for next-day; rates vary by location), Poplin was the only service that actually picked up and dropped off on the same day — none of the competitors even offered that. 

Delivery and pickup were free, and my 31-pound load came out to $62. I scheduled the delivery at 9:19 a.m., it was picked up at 10:45 a.m., and it was returned at 6:08 p.m. The app was easy to use, the basic protection plan was free, and I did feel like it saved me a chunk of my day. When I got my clothes back, almost everything looked perfect, and the “premium scented” detergent smelled delightful. 

I would’ve given a higher score for service, but unfortunately the belt to my bathrobe was missing. After inquiring, they credited me $35 (that can only be applied to a future order), which is covered by the free Poplin Protection Plan, which credits 70% of the value of each item up to a maximum of $35 per item and $200 per order. This was disappointing, but I’m glad it wasn’t something more meaningful (or more expensive). In hindsight, I could’ve opted for a higher protection plan.

Ultimately, this was the cheapest service, and if I had gone for the next day, it would’ve been the cheapest option of the many laundry services I researched. Poplin was also the only service that didn’t offer to give me reusable bags to use on my next order. 

Credit: Quinn Fish


Cost: 1/5
Service: 4/5
Overall: 3/5

Rinse offered $20 off of the first order, which was enticing. I appreciated that for a “Rush Service” (next-day delivery), they promised a pickup between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., sending a text at 5:30 p.m. with a more specific 30-minute pickup window. They gave me high-quality duffel laundry bags to keep and had an easy-to-use app. 

At the time of my service, the pay-as-you-go service was $2.50 per pound, which has since been raised to $2.99 per pound. Unlike Poplin, Rinse also had two subscription options with waived delivery and service fees, which were cheaper per pound than the one-time service. I was shocked at the total price of Rinse’s service. My 35-pound load cost $87.50, plus a $9.95 pickup and delivery fee, a $9.95 rush service fee, and a $5 service fee, totaling up to $92.40, thanks to the $20 coupon. 

The service itself was lovely, but I think for this kind of price, it should at least be delivered on the same day; I guess that’s what entices users to opt for a subscription instead. 

Credit: Quinn Fish


Cost: 3/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

This was my favorite laundry service, all things considered. Laundryheap offered free 24-hour delivery and picked up the same day an order is scheduled if you place it early enough, which was different from many of the services I researched, which required you to schedule a full day in advance. 

Many aspects of the service could be customized, like the temperature of the wash, separating lights and darks, and additional washes, all within the standard wash service. Laundryheap also offers wash and iron, dry cleaning, and duvets and bulky items. With an easy-to-use app, I was given a five-hour window, between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. for both pickup and delivery, but you could track your driver in the app. 

The wash service cost $2.19 per pound, and my 30-pound load came out to $67.50. I found a discount code online which saved me $4.59, almost the entire cost of the $4.95 service fee, and the total order came out to $76.66 including the $10.60 driver tip.

I liked Laundryheap’s service and found they came pretty early in both windows, but it still felt like a chunk of change for a 24-hour service. While the large fabric sack my clothes were returned in wasn’t as deluxe as Rinse’s duffel, it was still a nice touch and I’ll definitely be using it in the future for my laundry.

My Final Thoughts on Laundry Services


  • No carrying coins around.
  • Not having to do your own laundry.
  • Perfectly folded clothes ready to be put away.
  • Great, user-friendly apps where you can track your order.


  • Same-day delivery was actually next-day in most cases.
  • Large windows for pickup and delivery.
  • Having to tip drivers and laundry pros.
  • Hidden service and delivery fees.

All in all, I won’t be using a laundry service again anytime soon. I felt it was expensive, didn’t save me all that much time, and was clearly risky. I wouldn’t give anything of super-high cost or sentimental value, but at the same time, a local laundromat or at-home washing machine can mangle and lose items even if you launder them yourself. I also wasn’t a huge fan of all the plastic that was used in delivery — especially because I gave them my own bags. 

I’m lucky to live next to a laundromat, which typically costs me $5 for a triple-load wash (about 30 to 35 pounds of laundry), and $2.50 to dry, ringing in at only $7.50 per trip, which really can’t be beat. I’ve lived in apartment buildings with communal laundry machines that cost more than that.

If you do use a laundry service, I’d recommend keeping it local if you can. It’s likely cheaper, you’ll be supporting local, and if something goes missing, you’ll be able to inquire about it easier. Oftentimes you can pick it up for free, which might work better for your schedule, or they’ll deliver it to you for a fee.

All of this is to say: If you’ve got the coin and aren’t too attached to your clothes, go for it! It’s a luxury, and if you don’t mind being without your clothes for a day or two, laundry delivery services might just be for you.