Thursday, September 8, 2011

Do Laundresses Still Exist?

Didn’t there used to be a job called “laundress”?  Wasn’t it a job for a person who specialized in taking care of your clothes – washing, laundering, keeping them in order?  Does it still exist?

 

I’ve been googling to try and find out, but no luck.  I mean, to me it sounds like an obvious opportunity in this economy.  Taking care of the clothes you have is better than just going out and picking up new items every season, and not wearing a good piece because it hasn’t been updated or is in slight disrepair.  I think a lot of times, as Americans, we tend to just pitch things.  That, or they sit in our closets for years, unworn.

 

Anyone have a lead for me?  I’d love to find out if the job still exists in New York, or anywhere.

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205 comments

  1. Britpop123

    September 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    I don’t know about “laundress,” but a “laundrette” is the British English word for what Americans call “Laundromats.”

  2. Ted Slampyak

    September 8, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I think the laundress has been replaced with the corner cleaners, who do more than dry cleaning. Many also handle washing and folding your clothes. I know of some busy people who just drop their laundry off at those places. They have more money than I do.

  3. Antonia at Swedish Love Affair

    September 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    I does exist! A friend in Moscow has a laundress. She lives at my friend’s house and takes care of her clothes, shoes and walk-in closets in general:) She also mends the clothes when needed and can even sew a couple of things.

  4. j

    September 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    I think they’re called personal assistants these days.

  5. sarah

    September 8, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Sorry if I’m being an idiot here, but how is this different than having the dry cleaner wash your clothes? Are we talking about a member of your household staff?

  6. alicia

    September 8, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Most cleaners in NYC do this job. You can check with any cleaners in a high rise building, especially in downtown Manhattan. I lived in two buildings near Wall St. that had them.

  7. Karine Ardault

    September 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    I am originally from France but I have been living in Tanzania, East Africa for 6 years and the job still exit there. We often see in the street, in the afternoon, women walking with clothes neatly folded on their head. My boyfriend Ben (also a photographer – http://benwilhelmi.typepad.com) has published some photos of such women on his blog some time ago.

    For France, I remember 25 years ago in small villages in Provence, some women still washing clothes in the public “lavoir”. I remember lots of clothes so I guess they were also taking care of other people’s clothes.

  8. sharon

    September 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    sorry, no leads. i’m still on the search for a good tailor.

  9. athina

    September 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    They exist in India. I had a male ‘dobi walla’ as they’re called, working for me when I was living in New Delhi three years ago. His name was Prakash.
    Check this video out for more although it is about the street dobi wallas and not the domestic ones who have access to more modern equipment!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43zJ4uTpcxU

  10. You Saved The Queen

    September 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Scott

    When I was in Amsterdam a while ago, someone was walking the street towards a van with a whole suitcase stamped with “SLU” (specialised laundry unit). She came out of a really magnificent house, so I guess this must be what you mean?

  11. Laura

    September 8, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Yes, they are called cleaning services now.. And for the ‘keeping clothes in order’ there are maids. And tailors for mending clothes. Want all in one? Get an assistant.

    Sorry, love your photos..

  12. sdl

    September 8, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    The Laundress.com – I recently saw them featured on OneKingsLane – It seems as though they may have an amazing service. I love their brand. They are in NYC. Enjoy !

    Love Love you and Garance. You both are breathtakingly inspiring, informative and funny. I Love to start make my everyday with you both. Thank you!!! It’s been 5 inspirational years that I have been following you daily.

  13. TereLiz

    September 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    We still have Wash Women here in New Orleans that take in laundry by the pound, but more rampant are the Washaterias, or coin-op washer/dryers in restaurants and bars.

    My favorite Middle Eastern restaurant on Maple St. is connected to a laundromat/washateria. Nothing like the sweet smell of fabric softener while you’re having a felafel. :)

  14. Hilary Arthur

    September 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Hello Scott,

    I hope that you are well!

    Are you looking for someone that will wash your clothing by hand? It seems to me that the laundress has been replaced by the Dry Cleaner, Laundromat and the personal assistant!! All of these services will wash and fold your clothing for you. When I was a new working Mom, the wash and fold service that I used was an indispensable time saver.

    As the recession persists your reminder is an important one. We Americans should subscribe to the European approach that a few high quality pieces, that are well maintained, is better than a closet full of unworn cheap thrills.

    Good Luck!!
    Sincerely,
    Hilary

  15. marleen

    September 8, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    aren’t there dry cleaning shops in ny?

  16. *sP

    September 8, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    few years ago, 2004-ish on rivington at essex, 123 rivington, there is a laundromat and there were women who used to tend the facilities as well as do laundry for a fee. dunno if that’s close to what you’re after.

  17. beulabelle

    September 8, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    http://www.thelaundress.com/AboutUs/about-us.asp

    here’s what google pulled up, perhaps this is a more glam iteration.

  18. AnthonyC

    September 8, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    There are a few places that do what you need in NYC – I’ll ask around. It ain’t cheap.

    In the mean time, a laundry story via Indiana, circa 1950. An old friend – a wealthy family from Wabash – sent a daughter to Smith College where she found the washin’ lacking. For all four years she shipped her laundry home to be washed, folded, ironed and sent back to her in Massachusetts on a weekly basis.

    As a cadet at Culver Military Academy I remember getting my shirts back from the weekly laundry, starched like boards, the pants with a crease that could cut…

  19. fontcubasty

    September 8, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    In Barcelona (Catalonia) this kind of shops still exists. You may call it LavanderĂ­a in Spanish or Tintoreria in Catalan.
    Your welcome.

  20. BarbinTCMi

    September 8, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I’m no help for finding a laundress anywhere, but thought it coincidental that I should read this today as it was just yesterday that I was wondering the same thing myself.

    I’m wondering if, in the current job market, there is some industrious soul who has the knowledge and fortitude to undertake this kind of service as a second job. Good luck finding a person with such specialized skills

  21. Maristela

    September 8, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Hi – I live in SĂŁo Paulo, Brazil, where one can find this kind of service everywhere. From small shops located into malls to small+simple or big+fancy shops in the streets. If you go into the countryside, then it becomes a huge source of money for men and women. People there will update out-of-season clothes as a rule. It’s cheaper than buying new clothes. I agree with you that this is an obvious opportunity in current economy and global warming times.

  22. Jessica

    September 8, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Yeah…it was a job in centuries past for destitute women- one of the only socially acceptable jobs available to a woman.

    I think what you’re looking for disappeared with the dawn of the modern age and the sexual revolution. We’re all working real jobs now, sorry.

    Or, to be less misogynistic, you might say you’re looking for a valet, someone in that position would have done similar types of things (though perhaps not the laundering themselves).

    (Or you could do it yourself like 99% of the world does.)

    I apologize for the excessive snarkiness. Sometimes I can’t control it.

  23. Steve

    September 8, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Yes, I worked for an upper east side family and they had their own laundress with her own area to fold iron and press and sew

  24. Eme

    September 8, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Well, in Spain, laundresses exists. Of course they do. In every square. When I read this I couldn’t believe what I was reading! No laundresses in a city like NY? Maybe they’re hidden or doesn’t appear in Google. Try asking people that have been living in the city or lived for a lot of time…

  25. Indira

    September 8, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    I wish I could help you. But I wouldn’t know if the position exists in the states, much less in NYC.

    I’m from the Dominican Republic. A “laundress” here, is just a person (a woman, 100% of the times) who’d come to your house/apartment on a regular basis to do your laundry for you. Using the washer/dryer, as one would personally do, and washing delicate clothing items, as needed, by hand. If by some unfair chance of 3rd world destiny you don’t have a washer/dryer, it’s still somewhat possible to find someone who’d do this by hand and clothes will dry out in the sun/shade)

    These “professionals” may or may not also iron your clothes.
    Some may actually dedicate fully to ironing, and will not get their hands wet unless is by lavender ironing water (which you would get, but most of them don’t like to use… they’d tell you water alone – or Niagara – works best). Once washed and ironed, they will also organize them upon request as you may like.

    Some may have some knowledge in basic sewing and you can always ask them to shorten a hem, but this is not common, this you do somewhere else .

    All of these are not considered an exclusive service or a “commodity” in the country, it’s actually a very cheap service in comparison. In here, you’d use professional dry-cleaning companies only for suits and clothing you’d consider special. Particularly, I’d take a special item in to cleaners for the first wash, after that I’d easily hand it in to the ‘laundress’.

    I don’t know why I’ve just written all this.
    I read your post and it felt curiously funny… from your post it sounds like it probably should be an exclusive service offered here, and yet it is so common.

    So, laundresses – as you’ve defined them – do exist.
    You may find one in the Dominican Republic.

    Regards,
    Indira R.

  26. Catherine

    September 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I have for years sent my ironing out. I just don’t have time. I used to keep the ironing board up in my bedroom during my single days (working 18 hours/day). Now I turn it over to Mireille, who will re-wash clothes that seem dingy despite a machine wash. She has re-done my husband’s shirts, and I recently had her do magic on a white shirt-dress that got horrid yellow streaks on it from my generous application of sunblock (i.e., streaks around the armholes and the neck). That said, both my husband and I work from home but we want to be neatly pressed, even if we’re casual.
    BTW, there are big differences between the U.S. and Europe on clothing care (I’m an American in Europe for 13 years, so I’ve seen it). Front-load washers –the standard in Europe — are gentler on clothes but have far longer cycles, so clothes are cleaner (P&G in a meeting confirmed this). Dryers are an exception; most people hang clothes outside to air-dry (also gentler on clothes). Also, Europeans are sticklers for ironing. They sell all kinds of ironing stuff here, from irons with gigantic steam tanks attached to the legs of the ironing board to special ironing stools, both of which designed so you can iron for hours. I used to be amazed at seeing my neighbor across the courtyard in Brussels ironing sheets and little baby girl dresses. My mother-in-law (Belgian) and a former colleague (German) send their sheets out to be mangled.
    My siblings, who still live in the Midwest, don’t even own irons. Everything goes into the dryer, and that’s good enough.
    Not to go on, but you are right about taking care of clothes rather than pitching. Or going the vintage route. I am old enough that I have clothes from before the big outsourcing surge and the quality is amazing. They are SO much better than what you get now. They were more expensive, but today, even some expensive clothes have cheap quality, if what you are buying is the brand cache rather than the clothes themselves. Though personally I haven’t reconciled how a brand can have cache if their products lack quality, but my stepdaughter will certainly spend any amount to have the “in” brands, no matter how flimsy.

  27. rebecca

    September 8, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    I can’t imagine that “In this economy,” such a job would be a good opportunity?! Only the very rich can afford such things, which sounds quite over-the-top if I must say so (keeping your clothes in order??) … and, I’m sure these people already have people doing this and/or don’t care that they are spending money on new pieces each season (and probably want to purchase new).

  28. lintmag

    September 8, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Too bad we live so far apart – I am in Northern California. I love laundry, ironing, mending and the like! And I am good at taking care of clothing having done display for many luxury stores – steaming, pressing, buttons, fixing small rips or moth holes. If you ever move, let me know!

  29. Marcel Da Chump

    September 8, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Vats of boiling water, stout women muscling garments into washboards –a bit olde school.
    Seriously, professional valets are the new laundresses.

  30. Elena

    September 8, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    I live in Spain and for over 10 years my grandpas had a lady who came twice a week to take care of their clothing; not only for cleaning but also taking care of sewing missing buttons, polishing shoes, etc.
    Now I can’t afford having that for myself, so I do all that plus the ironing. I even iron my sheets and linens which some would say it’s a waste of time, but… What a luxury it is to sleep in ironed egyptian cotton!!!

  31. Tasseka

    September 8, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    I was also wondering and googled the local sites. Yes, 2 vacancies of kaudress I found. The salary is up to 500€. Moscow.

  32. Heidi

    September 8, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Scott, the Wellington Agency (www.thewellingtonagency.com) can hook you up with a laundress.

    This year I embarked on a 1 year shopping hiatus (can be followed at http://www.facebook.com/closetpeek or http://www.closetpeek.com). As my wardrobe status quo going into the project was more high street than high quality, I can attest to what a chore maintaining your clothes can be.

    Think my previous comment got lost. Sorry, if this is a re-post.

  33. Kristin

    September 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Definitely! My neighbor across the street in Short Hills, NJ has a lovely brazilian woman that comes once, sometimes twice a week to do all laundry, ironing, mending, etc. I’ve spoken with her and her schedule is FULL! She has no openings! So, the answer is yes, they exist. But I believe you have to find them by word of mouth.

    And, to be clear, this is DIFFERENT than a dry cleaner. All laundry is done. Some in the washing machine and things that would normally go to a Dry Cleaner are hand washed and pressed. Quite a luxury to have!

  34. Laura

    September 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Definitely don’t confuse the laundress with the combination dry cleaner/wash-and-fold that’s on your corner. They wash and they fold and they even go so far as to separate (if you pay for it), but a laundress is going to read your tags and be like, “Oh, lay flat to dry,” where as the wash-and-fold is going to throw all of your clothes in a dryer for an hour. And then they shrink and you cry.

  35. Mirna

    September 8, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    I remember when I was a kid in El Salvador a lady came home just to wash and iron our clothes. And she did wash it by hand before we got a washer machine. It´s been a long time since, but many women still make a living out of that. I currently live in Uruguay, and over here I just know of drycleaners. My favorite Montevidean Cleaner is enchanting, the building is about to fall down, but when you step in is as if time stopped decades ago. And there´s always an 80 year old Spaniard taylor hand sewing an impeccable suit.

  36. A. Noni Mouse

    September 8, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Kudos, Jessica@ 3:54 p.m. Kudos.

  37. L

    September 8, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I doubt/sincerely hope such a job isn’t referred to as a “laundress” anymore, because such a name implies it is a job only for a woman to do.

  38. Rob

    September 8, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Hey,

    Laundry and dry-cleaning workers- SOC 51-6011: Operate or tend washing or dry-cleaning machines to wash or dry-clean industrial or household articles, such as cloth garments, suede, leather, furs, blankets, draperies, fine linens, rugs, and carpets. Includes spotters and dyers of these articles.

    There are about 275,000 people who do this and they make about 8.75 per hour. Cheers
    Rob Sentz, Economic Modeling Specialists Inc

  39. Sophie

    September 8, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    It still exits in the Great White North that is Montreal, but they hide behind laudromats or dry cleaners facades… The laundresses are usually the ones owning the place and they can even wash your underwear. The clichĂ© tends to be Asian people doing the job. Look for places in NY’s Chinatown, I’m sure you’re going to find one… And for cheap.

  40. MegP

    September 8, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Isn’t that just like a term for ladies who will wash your clothes for you by hand (back in the days when you had to do it that way), usually at the their own homes?

  41. Maria

    September 8, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    I live in Portugal and here there are laundries everywhere! The ladies who work there take care of every type of clothing, from your shirt to your socks, if you need it! If I have a dress made from a delicated fabric I’ll always take it to the laundress, and she (or he, I don’t know any man working at a place like this but maybe it exists) gives me back the dress impeccable!

  42. maria

    September 8, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    Seems like some of us are missing one big part of your post, and that is the big question of we Americans just tossing things out. I can answer that I was the queen of tossing/donating beautiful+ useful and very expensive clothing regularly while living in the USA. All of that quickly changed when I moved to Milan,Italy to understand that Italians don’t use dryers and tossed things out because they believe dryers damage beautiful clothing, and that clothing is one of the most important ingredients of self presentations. Now I value everything I buy whether it’s expensive or a deal. I became my own Launderette and learned how much I enjoy taking the time to care for my clothing because it put pride and simplicity in the way I feel when I care for my own wardrobe. It allows be to be more attentive to how nice it feels to care about the things I own. Back to basics is grand. So, how about we be our own Launderette and care about what we have? Maria

  43. princessglee

    September 8, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    DIY?

  44. CBC

    September 8, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    a qulified housekeeper would do well and having a tailor I have a laundry dry clearner on my block and Jennifer irons shirt better then new for $2.50

  45. juanita

    September 8, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Portugal is the spiritual home of the laundry – they can do things like ‘starch’ and ‘darning’! You will have to move their or recruit Portuguese living in NYC! Good Luck!

  46. susan reynolds

    September 8, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Actually an interesting thread. Upon first reading, I was perhaps a bit sarcastically, going to respond that is my job as a stay at home mother. I love laundry and hate dry cleaners. I hang clothes on the line to dry and nearly everything can be hand washed. But the responses you received were really very telling. Interesting to see the world perspective. dryers are bad for clothes and environment and I agree with the need for front load washers or at the very least the newer top loading washers with no oscillator. I love doing laundry. There is a beginning and an end and often I savour getting spots out ahhh these small victories in life.

  47. Sasha

    September 8, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    I didn’t read the rest of the comments do your issue has probably been solved for the past few days…but I live in England, and there seem to be many laundresses and dry cleaners in high streets. Unless you’re considering a laundress to be someone like a cleaner that comes to your house specifically…in which case this is much rarer, and I don’t know of an instance of this in England whatsoever. Old fashioned laundry shops with the lined up washing machines and typical old style benches are still very much thriving in most English towns. Judging from Eastenders though – Walford seems to be the most thriving area to open a laundrette!

  48. Laura

    September 8, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    There is a laundromat in New Haven, CT where the women will do your laundry and bundle it up in a need plastic bag. They are always beautiful, fresh, and smell nice. Best of all is the name; the Bubble and Squeak.

  49. Ann

    September 8, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    In Milwaukee there is The Laundry. Very old school kind of place that hand washes and irons linens be it napkins or sheets. People ship their items in around the country. Here is their info.:

    THE LAUNDRY AT LINENS LIMITED, INC.
    202 South Curtis Rd.
    Milwaukee, WI 53214
    View Map

    Phone: 414-223-1123
    Toll Free: 800-637-6334
    Fax: 414-223-1126

  50. Catherine

    September 8, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    I’m not an ironer but can attest to the sweetness of hanging one’s laundry out rather than throwing it into the dryer. I also agree with the notion of a few well made pieces rather than lots of “fashion forward” junk that falls apart in one season. The A-line linen sheath I found in my local thrift store this week will last for years for all sorts of occasions.

  51. Marie K

    September 8, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    My mother cleans house, does laundry, sewing, and repairs for the music director at her church. I think laundresses are still out there, but the people who would actually think to hire one are few and far between, so that makes their numbers shrink.

  52. Diane

    September 8, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    Try Craig’s List, but most of them are word of mouth. We have a strip mall dry cleaners (L.A.) – $1.75 to wash shirts, $2.25 for dry cleaning and always perfect. Hard to beat. My mom worked as a nurse and had a laundress when I was a kid who did the washing and ironing. We’d pick it up Saturday mornings. Seems like a great idea for someone wanting to start up their own business.

  53. Tanya

    September 8, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    They still exist in the Philippines, but often they only wash and iron clothes. Few can repair them. Some are not well-versed in garment care too – my family’s laundress ruined several of my sister’s items. I think that depends on how often she is exposed to pieces of a certain material/make – I think her other clients don’t have such high-maintenance clothes as us :P

  54. Katie

    September 8, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    This reminded me of Hairspray, the lead character’s mother is a laundress. But other than the dry cleaners listed above, I bet one could find a dresser/wardrobe person who works in theatre who wants to make a few bucks, which would probably be cheaper than other alternatives and they usually really know how to take care of clothes.

  55. Linda

    September 8, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    If you own couture of course you have a laundress! Not a laundry mat lady. I’ve recently left London were i worked for a socialite(read:no real job, somewhat dubious source of income, calls herself an “aristocrat” to anyone who’d care to listen) and we had 2 laundress’ on house staff. One to do the every day washing and ironing daily, and one lovely lady from Brazil who attended to couture and “special” outfits, sewing and ironing tasks, such as tablecloths onto tables for lunch parties and evening events(normally this takes around 3 hours a table). She was more like a contract staff lady, who worked around 15 hours a week, and worked for a few different lovers of clothes in the SW London district. My employer had previously lived in NY for 5 years and had the same service there. Any fashionable woman’s PA can give you the number of a super ‘linen mistress’. And if you have one you need many, many cans of ironing starch spray!

  56. mosie

    September 8, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    just about every laundromat in san francisco offers dry cleaning, washing, pressing, just about every laundry service you could ask for. the term laundress is out-dated and sexist.

  57. Oh ffs

    September 8, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Yeah, it’s called your mom.

  58. Christa51

    September 8, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    In the US, history may have given the term “laundress” rather negative undertones (regardless how you feel about “p.c.”, this is just an observation). Maybe you should be searching for professional laundering services or something of the sort.

  59. Gulfem Soylu

    September 8, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    They do have stuff like this in Turkey. I know they have people that only do ironing, and a lot of households have someone come in to just do their clothes once or twice a week.

    Cheers,

    Gulfem

  60. me

    September 8, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    this is soooo first world looking for third world services at dirt cheap prices. this concept should have rested. did you have this in idiana?

  61. Eva

    September 8, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    I completely agree…I’m gonna research that a bit myself…but htat does make sense…having someone clean and take care of clothing (mend, tend to, small alterations)……if htey don’t have anyone like that, then, Ithink you hit a goldmine ’cause that WOULD save tons of money

  62. Darcy

    September 8, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    Yes, I have friends in both the San Francisco suburbs and NY who have laundresses who come to their home to run off the wash and do the folding and ironing. These may be scarece but it’s not yet a lost art nor trade. Thankfully.

  63. Oonagh

    September 8, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    How about taking responsibility for looking after your own clothes?

  64. fashioncat

    September 8, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    I am a laundress. It goes hand in hand with my sewing/seamstress work. I repair/alter/remake clothing. I do small repairs. I have clients who bring me bundles each season with all the little things that need to make them wearable-buttons, hems torn out, small holes, pesky zippers. Besides making them look clean and pressed my clients are repaired too. A very green business in this day and age-reuse and recycle. And I have virtually no competition. Yes this is a business that is much needed.

  65. enni

    September 8, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    we have one in DC named “Soapy Joes”, they try to target university students who are unable/unskilled/too lazy to do their own laundry.

  66. Kimberly

    September 8, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    I checked thelaundress.com and BINGO! I, too, am looking for someone who can fix a hem, sew a button, de-pill and de-stain some nice pieces of clothing. I unfortunately live in the Great Lakes region and will probably not be able to get that kind of service. Perhaps I could start my own….

  67. G

    September 8, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    All over the middle east! We have them here in Beirut!

  68. chef_d

    September 8, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    Yes, they still exist…at least here in Manila. We’ve had the same laundress since my parents were still in university. So she’s been taking care of our clothes for roughly 40+ years now.

  69. Susan*

    September 8, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Scott, I bought soap flakes from Allo Laverie in the past. She has a large price list of items she launders.

    http://www.french-handlaundry.com/index.htm

  70. Quigliana

    September 8, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    I agree with Christa51: I think the terminology has simply changed. Of course there are people who have someone in-house to do their laundry; now the respectful term would be “housekeeper” or something like that. Think about it: no one now refers to “The Help” anymore than people ask their housekeepers to wear a uniform. Just my opinion…

  71. Quincey Arrington

    September 8, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    Dude, it is called Davis Imperial Cleaners in Chicago’s Northside. Man, they go through a check system to adjust any issues with one’s wears. They do drop off and pick up. I recently heard about them. I looking to work with in the future b/c I have pieces that may not be made anymore (Rick Owens) and stuff I want to keep in great condition (Thom Browne).
    Dude check’em out.

  72. Mary

    September 8, 2011 at 11:42 pm

  73. Albert

    September 8, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    You can take care of most of your garments by yourself, but of course, it requires a bit of time.

    Daily care for your suit:
    http://www.delavegatailors.com/article.php?id=77

  74. Kate

    September 9, 2011 at 12:05 am

    My Dad always spoke fondly of the laundress he had growing up. When he got to college in Boston he MAILED his clothes home to St. Louis for her!

  75. Linda

    September 9, 2011 at 12:32 am

    Quigliana,
    actually many households have “the Help” wear a uniform, and even provide more casual uniforms for out of house work to help neutralise stereotypes relating to having “Help” in the first place. Having recently worked in the UK,Europe and NY most of the domestic staff i met were kitted out in black and whites or checked outfits. The most amazing household i entered had men and women wearing full tuxedo outfits(with bowties-men and women).And they were not titled royalty-Just successful business people.Another refused to let women wear dresses or skirts. It is still standard practise even in our modern world.

  76. angelique

    September 9, 2011 at 12:40 am

    I live in Chicago and my husband and I have drop off laundry service to a local place called Spin Cycle for our under garments and casual pieces. They launder, fold, and press our clothes and return them within a day. I had a tendency to shrink and ruin clothes so this was a smart move.

    We have all our “very good” pieces done by Melrose Cleaners on Belmont and Broadway. The owner has altered, hemmed, pressed, and re-lined pieces from my favorite 1940′s wool felted princess coat to our new jeans.

    Between the drop off service at Spin Cycle and the maestro work of Melrose Cleaners, we haven’t done our own laundry in almost two years.

  77. Liz

    September 9, 2011 at 12:45 am

    http://www.giltcity.com/newyork/laundressnyc

    I hope this is helpful to you.

  78. Ladybird

    September 9, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Here in Melbourne back in the early 90′s there was a laundry near my house that did a service wash. You paid x amount and they would wash all your clothes.

    I didn’t use it though, pretty fussy with my clothes I guess and would prefer to look after them myself!

  79. Jessie

    September 9, 2011 at 12:46 am

    Hi there, I’m currently living in Thailand and having a “laundress” is the most common way of washing your clothes. I take mine to a family who washes and presses them and does mending if you wish. They will even set up a schedule for you and come pick up or drop off your clothes. It’s really convenient and quite cheap.

  80. Alecia Stevens

    September 9, 2011 at 12:58 am

    The most valuable thing that my housekeeper does for me is the laundry (in Minneapolis.) She has been with us for 14 years and there is hardly anything more wonderful than coming home on Friday afternoon to a fresh bed and perfectly folded laundry. She does not mend or iron. I like to to do that! It really is a treat and much better, honestly, than many of the wash and folds I have used in NYC. (Though I am sure there are some terrific ones.)

  81. Jen O

    September 9, 2011 at 1:07 am

    Actually, there are people who are trained to do this in the US. They are the wardrobe staff members who work on films, TV shows or theater. They wash, mend, alter and keep-up clothing for a living. You might try getting in touch with one who is not working on a gig. They’ll expect to be paid a living wage though and that is the real reason why you rarely find businesses that offer this service outside of the entertainment industry.

    As for more training and information on this topic: it is locked up in those moldy old home economics text books we tossed aside in the late 70′s. At one time every girl learned these skills in junior high, back when money and things were hard to come by, so preserving our apparel was a serious subject.

  82. Lucia

    September 9, 2011 at 2:11 am

    I used to work at a home for elderly people some 5 years ago, and there was a an old lady whose occupation was Expert in stains. Do not remember the term for it, but she used to work at a laundromat, and just take care of the difficult stains that wouldn’t leave otherwise. In india they do have staff to take care of your clothes, washing, ironing, sewing buttons etc, but I don’t know if you have that in the states.

  83. Claire * lolaisbeauty

    September 9, 2011 at 3:16 am

    “Taking care of the clothes you have is better than just going out and picking up new items every season, and not wearing a good piece because it hasn’t been updated or is in slight disrepair.” I couldn’t agree more! I’m always amazed when people buy expensive clothes and don’t look after them. I do this kind of thing myself, because I can, I like doing it and I can’t afford to always pay someone to. Sometimes I’ll ask the dry cleaner to do an alteration but I’ve lost a few things that way through them doing it badly. Maybe I should offer this service to others!

    There is a place in London called Designer Alterations which has a service where they pick up your out of season clothes, launder, repair, wrap in tissue and store for the off season, re-delivering at the start of the new one – but obvs it’s a super high end service for the very wealthy.

  84. Vp

    September 9, 2011 at 3:30 am

    There’s an article in “Brigitte woman” about a dry cleaner/laundresse specialised in delicate or high end clothes: Reinigung Ilse Rahmann in Berliner Strasse, Wuppertal, Germany.
    They say customers send their clothes from as far as Moscova.

  85. ioana

    September 9, 2011 at 3:35 am

    We currently live in the Czech republic. My boyfriend and some of our male friends give their shirts to be ironed by a girl who charges them a few euros.

  86. mercedes

    September 9, 2011 at 3:44 am

    really, really common in spain to have important, expensive and big things by them, not daily laundry!

  87. marie

    September 9, 2011 at 3:58 am

    this job already exist in France, of course it’s important to have someone who can take care of your clothes especially when these clothes are delicate. I have a marvellous one in Nancy, it’s so precious…The best of all is in Paris “Pouyanne, Ă©lève de parfait” it’s on the Grand Boulevard! But it’s a little bit expensive…

  88. F Yeah Paper Titles

    September 9, 2011 at 3:59 am

    Wow, thanks for the really fascinating comment thread, everybody! I can see the undergraduate anthropology paper written using just these comments now… “Hand Wash Cold, Lay Flat to Dry: A Cross-Cultural Study on Laundering at the Intersection of Race, Gender, and Class”

  89. Gemma

    September 9, 2011 at 4:46 am

    They still exist in Spain. there are some who still work in houses, though it’s more normal to go to a laundry to get your delicate clothes fixed and well cleaned.

    G.

  90. Mikki

    September 9, 2011 at 5:02 am

    Accross the street from where I live is a laundry that offers the same services as those of a laundress. you just have to say what the problem with the outfit is when giving it up

  91. matteo

    September 9, 2011 at 6:06 am

    In italy is a must, we love clothes so we want to take care at best, so there are many of this business.
    I was worried when I was in NYcity because I’ve tried some of dry, cleaning and laundry service but, in my opinion, they often ruin the clothes and don’t wash at all.

  92. Belén

    September 9, 2011 at 6:10 am

    Yes! In Spain they still exist, they’re atually quite common! you can even find them in small villages! I’m impressed that in NY you dont have any, or can’t find them!!
    xxx

  93. Vali Jamal

    September 9, 2011 at 7:13 am

    “Laundress” is used in this article like someone in-house assigned the job of looking after one’s clothes. I am sure they exist in upper houses in Europe, US et al, and they do exist in some third-world countries, still known as servants, which sounds so bad. With industrialization, wages are increasing and house-help is out of reach for most classes in India and they send their clothes to the “dhobi-talau” the outdoor clothes washers. They handle 1000s of items but never mislocate them. I have a maid who comes in for the day and does the cleaning, cooking and clothes – hand wash, sun dry, steam iron. We do have dry-clean for all of the above. About looking after one’s clothes, only one can do so. I make sure I don’t stuff my jacket pockets. Better keep them sewn in. Oh, I live at Kampala, Uganda, 1 degree north of the equator but because of the altitude 4,000′ +/- the nights get cold and some woollens are needed. I put them out to the sun once a week. So…we have help and we have the sun and we take care of our clothes to look cool.

  94. PammieTaj

    September 9, 2011 at 7:19 am

    Have you ever read “DV” by Diana Vreeland? She talks about the care of her shoes (I mean, I don’t think DV did this herself, she had Help). She spoke of the bottoms of the shoes being cleaned and cared for. The bottom of her shoes. There’s something to be said for caring for one’s clothes. For the thought that something can and should last beyond a season. Some folks have this built into their personal style. One particular article of clothing might be from that which is immediately in style, but fits seamlessly with things that are twenty years old or even vintage. That’s style. Not having a new wardrobe of the Latest every season, but having a wardrobe that transcends seasons. So … cold water, *nothing* in the dryer (lint is your clothing) and learn to use an iron properly. Be your own laundress. Cultivate a style and transcend, transcend.

  95. Aña

    September 9, 2011 at 7:42 am

    I used to have an ironing lady…her name was Murtle. I miss her!

  96. Christopher Gloria

    September 9, 2011 at 8:28 am

    I got sick and tired of how crappy “dry cleaners” even some of the best in NYC treat my clothes that I started doing them all myself. I spend a lot of money on tailor made garments and I don’t want them treated like they are disposable. I am not a rich man, but I know good quality and want it to last. I learned a lot from research, trial and error and although it takes more time, it is fun and a lot cheaper. A washing machine and a good clothes brush, press cloth and iron go a long way. But in all honesty the only place maybe in the world that does a job the correct way is Rave Fabric Care, but it is in Arizona.

  97. ila

    September 9, 2011 at 8:51 am

    In Italy there are laundries in every block and almost the small towns have one…I think wild consumism killed this jobs in many countries, but in the future they will need this jobs again…I think I have to thank you my “primitive” country…

  98. Cln

    September 9, 2011 at 8:53 am

    The laundress in NYC

  99. Ayla Danielle Kristina

    September 9, 2011 at 8:59 am

    I have a vintage -and second hand shop here in Stockholm and I love when my costumers brings me this old dresses, shoes and that kind of things, because so often there is a hemd that need to be taking care of, buttons missing to be sewn in, shoes to be polished and it gives me so much peace of mind.
    Because I know that I make them ready for the next user and I think that is the only responsible way to deal with consuming these days.
    And it is also a kind of a love connected doing these things because much of these items are from a time when clothes actaually ment something and was a great cost for it´s buyer, and I guess that they were so much more carefull and caretaking of their precoius things because they didn´t have a lot.
    So yes, please bring back the laundreness!

  100. Moushumi

    September 9, 2011 at 9:20 am

    They do still exist in India as the “dhobi” but this is a dying breed. “Dhona” in Hindi is ‘to wash’. “Dhobi” is one who washes clothes. I have seen both men and women in this profession. Usually but not always, the entire family is involved. In my childhood home in Calcutta, the dhobi (or “dhopa” in Bengali, a language spoken primarily in Calcutta) visits the customer to collect the dirty clothes and return the clean, ironed ones. They charge by the number of clothes. They don’t sew or hem or fix your clothes. For that there is the neighborhood tailor, who will fix your clothes or make them on his trusted foot pedal-operated Singer sewing machine.

    Now, suppose you can wash your clothes but only need them ironed, you can go to the “istriwala”. They are present on almost every other street corner. He (I have seen only men do this) will call on you everyday, pick up the clothes, iron them and give back within 12 hours or earlier. They charge by the type and fabric of clothes. For example: the price for ironing shirts is different from trousers or tops. And the price for ironing a silk shirt is higher than that of a cotton shirt.

  101. Amanda

    September 9, 2011 at 9:24 am

    This is the same as a Dry Cleaners, no?

  102. isabelwilko

    September 9, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Don’t they have service washing at the launderette in NY?

  103. Faye

    September 9, 2011 at 10:35 am

    I live in the Philippines and our family has a person that comes in thrice a week to do laundry and press our clothes. She’s called a “katulong” which literally means helper.

  104. daina

    September 9, 2011 at 10:41 am

    a friend who owns a high end household staffing agency just a few days ago posted a listing for, yes, a laundress (not housekeeper…laundress, specifically). in malibu. approximately $45,000 for 40-50 hours/week. more perplexing to me than the title of ‘laundress’ was perhaps the 40-50 hours/week. unless one has octuplets, how is it possible to spend this much time every week doing laundry?

  105. Leslie

    September 9, 2011 at 10:51 am

    One of my friends has used this service & raved!
    Slate NYC
    https://slatenyc.com/new_website/default.aspx

  106. Leslie

    September 9, 2011 at 10:55 am

    A friend used this service & raved about it.
    Slate NYC
    https://slatenyc.com/new_website/default.aspx

  107. Ana

    September 9, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Yes, they still exist in Brazil
    Growing up I remember some friends whose mothers had a woman who would come in once a week to specifically iron clothes. The maid would wash them and the “passadeira” would come in to iron.
    Many households still have someone who does the laundry (not that many people feel the need to send stuff out to the cleaners), iron and mend any buttons or holes
    A total luxury that is extinction bound ( which is good for the economy, bad for those who like to be spoiled)

  108. Sarah vL

    September 9, 2011 at 11:20 am

    GOOP posted about ‘closet organization’, but it received it’s tips from “master Laundresses”.

    Highly recommended:
    http://www.thelaundress.com/
    http://www.margarets.com/
    http://www.garderobeonline.com/ (they customize in luxury wardrobe storage, museum-quality archiving and preservation, garment care and more)
    http://www.madamepaulette.com/

  109. erika

    September 9, 2011 at 11:40 am

    yes it exists only now it is the person that you drop your laundry off to and pick up from – the laundry matt attendant

    folding laundry is very relaxing – doing someone else’s soiled clothes not so much

  110. GINA BIBER

    September 9, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Yep, two years back while on a brief work project in the South of France, we were lodged in a home with gal who made sure that our cloths were in pristine condition; that was her only function.

  111. Jane with the noisy terrier

    September 9, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Hi Scott, I’ve had good luck with this service – http://www.ladywholaunder.com/ – although I may just be partial to their leopard print tissue paper that they wrap the clean clothes in! They pick up and deliver. Good luck!

  112. hilary

    September 9, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Really? In your opinion this is the answer for not throwing away all your worn-in clothes? You see this as an “opportunity” in our economy? How about you do your laundry yourself and take better care of your clothing?

  113. Jo

    September 9, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Wow! I can not believe what I am reading. I live in Colombia – Sout America, and there are tons of them in my city! I always send my worth sending clothes to one next to my mom’s place. Everytime I go to visit her, I take my clothes with me!

  114. Laura

    September 9, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Hi Scott,
    I work for a high end staffing agency. Many of our clients in NYC hire laundresses. Our laundresses are women who specialize in taking care of fine clothing. Most of them have worked for clientele who has a high need for specialized care. We place many of these women every year. Hope this helps… the art of being a laundress is still alive!

  115. Brooke

    September 9, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Surely ‘in this economy’ it is more economical to wash and press your own clothes? Nice idea in the 1920′s, no?!

  116. Diane Sorota

    September 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Yes, Scott, the laundress still exists. In two versions. When I lived in London I had a lovely woman who cleaned for me and hand ironed the bed linens and some of my clothing. A convent-trained wonder of the old school she could ndo anything. I have now relocated to California and am my own laundress, something I was trained to as a child when I was required to iron pillow cases, taught to do shirts properly and much else beside. I have two grown sons who do their own laundry and ironing and have men friends who polish their own shoes and can sew on a button or two. Former military men seem to be especially schooled at this. The corner cleaner hasn’t a clue. There seems to be a lack of pride in the finished product.
    I’d rather do my own. Diane

  117. Dave the washer and dryer reviews guy

    September 9, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Nowadays there are maids or domestic workers who can even wash the linen. In Eastern Europe, for example, many women go to Italy to work and their job is mainly to take care of the elderly, cooking and washing their clothes.

  118. Jeremy

    September 9, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    ^^^

    What Sarah said! I used to work for Garde Robe Online – a white glove service for storing and maintaining couture clothing, one-of-a-kind pieces, archives, etc. It’s an amazing service where garment care is of utmost importance, and offers same-day delivery (ready to wear) in Manhattan.

  119. Mariel

    September 9, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Yeah they exist. I used to be one. true story.

  120. marisa

    September 9, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I have been looking for the same service! The wash & fold places in NYC always damage my clothes and I’m stuck because long-term, repeated dry-cleaning is not good for clothes that can easily washed.

    My clothes routinely come back slightly torn up or just worn from the laundry services’ dryers. I also prefer to air-dry my clothes when possible to help them maintain shape, which isn’t always possible with wash & fold. I would love a service that cares for my best clothes.

    Would love to hear suggestions on places to go in Manhattan!

  121. Doug from Garde Robe

    September 9, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Hi, Scott. It was nice to see Garde Robe mentioned in the comments; yes, Garde Robe handles laundry and garment care on behalf of its members, and keeping clothes in order is our hallmark. Extending the life of expensive garments is the primary reason fashion devotees utilize Garde Robe; that and limited closet space in most NYC apartments. However, several of our members do use The Laundress and Ladies Who Launder; those that don’t have housekeepers. There is no shortage of skilled garment care providers in this city – New Yorkers are lucky in that regard.

  122. Vasco

    September 9, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Hey Scott,

    I live in Portugal, and here it is still very common to have a laundress. I have one and she is fantastic with clothes, from bed sheets to white shirts! Also, besides washing there is the “art of ironing” which is almost lost. She irons on a special table, like a large desk but covered in sheets, which is the best way to iron. And you can see ironing develops into a kind of mental and physical practice, in which she is completely absorbed, and at which she can spend hours on end.
    She also knows how to hem cuffs and sew everything, so clothes last forever.
    I hope you can find one in NY because it is the best thing you can do to your clothes

  123. Name*Ruth

    September 9, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Dear Scott,
    As you, I think washing or dry cleaning isn’t all it takes to keep clothes properly. I have a good friend in Buenos Aires that works as a “wardrobe organizer” and really makes the best with one’s clothes. She knows a lot about fabrics, style and is gifted for organizing and comming our with the best outfits.
    She does not mend and wash the clothes, but it could be an interesting service to offer: organize women’s clothes plus keeping them impeccable. I live in Madrid and my dry cleaner’s also offer a mending service, which I find really convenient. By the way, thanks for the nice and relaxing moments I enjoy with you blog!

  124. regan

    September 9, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    hi-
    as others have noted, definitely check out the laundress. they know what they’re doing and their products are amazing! your clothes will come out looking better than ever.
    best,

  125. kerri

    September 9, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Yes but nowadays we call them MOM.
    I was thinking about this word just the other day, as I loaded the washer for the sixth time that day, but it was in reference to myself and how if we had a laundering professional (to be PC) they’d actually be getting paid for this.

    I’ve been seriously rethinking our wardrobes for winter though, since having another baby, my 9 year old is constantly running out of shirts because I can’t keep up with the ironing, clean is all I can manage. I could hire someone to do these things but they wouldn’t have the expertise that you are talking about and I don’t know if I could trust them not to ruin my more valued pieces.

  126. Quima Boix

    September 9, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    I live in Barcelona and spend the week-ends in a village nearby called Vic. There’s a lovely and professional Laundry (Tintoreria Mora). The staff is friendly, they have solutions for everything. The ironing is impecable, they take care about all the details. Delicate dresses, silk, wool, etc. I recomend it!
    http:/www.tintoreriarmora.com

  127. marlene

    September 9, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Yes, still exist. Here in DR most of middle and rich class have somebody that take care of the family clothes. If you have a clothes that require extra care you take it to the Dry Clean as we call it.

  128. beet salad

    September 9, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    I agree. I think the cheap trendy clothing stores have made clothing disposable, and generally the mass public doesn’t shop for quality and classic style, but rather something to wear for the season and then pitch it (or hopefully donate it).

    As for leads, I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this yet but I am a costumer in the film industry. Being a laundress is a lot of what my job includes. I’ve often wished I could find work in between jobs just doing a few clients laundry, steaming and pressing and the light mending that people wouldn’t do for themselves. But, I do think a lot of dry cleaners and fluff and fold services at laundromats fill this void.

    Dear Mr. Schuman, I would gladly be your laundress if I lived in New York. I suggest talking to some film and probably even theatre costumers and see what ideas or contacts they might have. I, personally, like the idea of a person with clients, rather than a laundromat or dry cleaner.

  129. Tiana

    September 9, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    http://www.elitedomo.com/index.html

    all sorts of household services here…contact them – i’m sure they can set you up with one.

  130. jenny

    September 9, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Our much beloved housekeeper/babysitter – she’s far more than a cleaning lady – noted that I was not keeping up with laundry after the birth of our second child, asked for (and got) some more hours, and took over much of our laundry duties. She cleans, folds, puts away and irons beautifully, and my husband is *much* happier. She also made him clean out his closet! Frankly, it costs us about the same as if we took all of his clothes to the cleaners. My grandmother’s housekeeper also managed the laundry for my grandparents, many years ago.

    To be fair, we lucked into her, on the recommendation of a friend, and I doubt she would self-identify as a laundress.

  131. Mage Bailey

    September 9, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    Here is Southern California, most Laundrymats have “Fluff and Folks” available. Take your laundry in, and they will wash, fold, and package it up for you.

  132. Andra

    September 9, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    The closest thing I have found to this is in San Francisco/ Bay Area with Peninou French Laundry. Their website address is : http://peninou.com. They have been able to handle pretty much everything I have thrown at them, including cleaning an oil spot out of a deerskin purse. They are true miracle workers. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Hope this is a helpful lead.

  133. Glacier

    September 9, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    I agree completely! To me, the future of this job may be wrapped up in a personal stylist too. For a fee, clothes are cared for, mended, cleaned, organized in a closet, swapped out for a new season (or re-arranged), and possibly new outfits/combinations put together. Of course, don’t forget the shoes/accessories. These too need care- maybe even more given the cost of shoes these days!

  134. Ian

    September 9, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    I think laundresses went out about the same time as scullery maids. Your best bet for finding one is probably a 19th Century novel.

  135. Megan

    September 9, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    http://www.thelaundress.com/

    ask these ladies, they’re awesome, and have saved me from several disasters courtesy of their hotline… i’m sure they could tell you about a good laundress in nyc… good luck!

  136. Kathryn

    September 9, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    A Canadian perspective on the history of Chinese laundries in Canada: the bygone middle class’ launderers.

    http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/2011/04/18/chinese-laundry-kids/#igImgId_3977

  137. Stockings

    September 9, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Scott,

    I love your blog and you take beautiful photos! I think you’re responsible for the growing democratization of fashion (in some sense…), so keep up the fantastic work!

    I don’t have logistical information, sorry, but wanted to draw your attention to a historical issue concerning LAUNDRY and WHO DOES THE LAUNDRY.

    In the South up until the late 1960s and early 1970s, it was typically African American women (has anyone seen the movie, “The Help”?) who washed, cleaned, ironed, cared for, darned, knit, fixed, flattened, etc. a white family’s clothes.

    On the West coast, Asian immigrants and Asian Americans were refused most jobs because of racist beliefs (see Howard Zinn or, hell, Shepard Fairey). One of the few job options available to Asians was laundry work. Without going too much into the details and boring the pants off of you, Asian women did not have equal demographic representation–not by a long shot (various historical factors, which I’ll spare you). As a result, mostly Asian men worked in the laundries. Just as it was considered emasculating for white men to have to do their own laundry for the better part of human history, it was also true for Asian communities.

    So, not only were Asian men relegated to the worst and most menial (hot, sweaty, dangerous, fire hazards) jobs and the lowest wages, but they were also completely emasculated.

    French Laundries were called “French” (a) because there was a large population of otherwise unskilled French Canadians who settled in urban ghettos and (b) primarily to distinguish them from Chinese- or Japanese-owned laundries.

    This was true in California (and elsewhere on the Pacific coast) as it was in many other parts of the country, but for different ethnic and racial groups. Several federal laws (most famously the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act) were enacted to limit the right to work (and even enter the country) of Asian immigrants in the mid- to late 19th and early to mid-20th century in large part due to the type of American-born white supremacy (hello, eugenics!) that actually went on to inspire the Third Reich (!) with its theories of Nordic superiority, etc.

    Here are some artifacts that might startle and upset:

    http://cdn.calisphere.org/data/13030/jk/hb9f59p5jk/files/hb9f59p5jk-FID4.jpg
    http://cdn.calisphere.org/data/13030/29/hb4t1nb029/files/hb4t1nb029-FID4.jpg
    http://cdn.calisphere.org/data/13030/nh/hb1z09p0nh/files/hb1z09p0nh-FID7.jpg
    http://cdn.calisphere.org/data/13030/tk/hb8m3nb2tk/files/hb8m3nb2tk-FID325.jpg

    I don’t know if your yearning for someone to care for your clothes is borne out of an unconscious desire for old social and racial divisions, or a genuine hope that someone’s more capable hands could better care for your lovely clothes. Either way, I’m not passing judgment. I would love if someone could take care of all my delicates and I’d never have to hand-wash a thing again. Unfortunately, I don’t earn enough to pay someone else to do it, nor would I want to foist my dirty black stockings on someone earning only minimum wage.

    Love,
    White Clothes Horse

    P.S. For all those still interested…..
    Historian Charles McCain has written the most on the topic, though there is still a paucity of research on the topic. (I believe most of the relevant historical documents were lost in all the fires following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.) Please email me at r i g h t s s f at [google's email site] d o t com if you’d like to continue the conversation.

  138. TriciaZoe

    September 10, 2011 at 12:28 am

    I know a very good one she’s from Chile and really knows about textile, ironing, washing even the type of closet you should keep all yours clothes.
    I even photographed her to a documentary tv program.
    She is incredible
    Let me know if you would like to know her contacts.

  139. Gerry

    September 10, 2011 at 1:08 am

    The Wash House in Silsbee, Texas.
    Back in 91, the girls would mend, wash, iron, and fold a laundry basket full of clothes for $10. God I loved those girls.
    I bet they’re still doing it and for not much more than that.

  140. Name*IdunnoHowSheDoesIt

    September 10, 2011 at 1:20 am

    Scott-

    Even using a dry cleaner (a good one who doesn’t turn your whites yellow, and stuffs tissue in your sleeves) and toting home the clothes requires removing the plastic and wire hangers to return the clothing to their hangers (love the felt slim ones) and their place. Never mind “triangling underwear”, air-drying bras that at most will last 120 days, and lingerie. My twin (cinci, OH) and i (LA, CA) discuss that we spend a minimum of 5 hours per month on maintaining a proper closet – on a minimum wardwrobe! Kick Gloria in the shins for us! Womanhood and it’s rare joys are now lost on earning income.

  141. myvoice

    September 10, 2011 at 2:21 am

    I live in India and yeah, the art of laundry is well and truly alive…in every corner in every town in India! Its just that, in India..historically, mostly we follow the habit of washing by hand, air drying and then folding up. In larger cities, like where I live- most of my friends and I have it sorted out into multiple functions- for eg:, my maid washes all my clothes on a daily basis, air dries, folds them in my wardrobe AFTER the “outside” pieces have been sent to the “istriwala”,the professional corner-ironing guy. He comes, collects twice a week and will return my clothes either folded or on a hangar, if I have given him specific instructions. The really expensive/designer pcs (In India, that also refers to crafted items and expensive materials, say gold zardosi embroidery work on a silk fabric) – I send to a long-trusted drycleaner and that too, sometimes only the 1st time, to “set” the colours. After that, we sometimes wash them by hand and get it “reverse-pressed” by the istriwala, so that the embroidery doesnt wilt under the heat. And yes, have to agree with some of the earlier posts, NOTHING absolutely NOTHING beats the smell of home-ironed bedsheets and pillowcases..I look forward to that day in bed,the most!:)
    And yess, we also have “alteration tailors” in my city, as opposed to the regular tailor. He will hem,mend, alter and fix pretty much anything you throw at them..they have now become expert at doing these services on “western” clothes (read: pants,blouses etc) too!!

  142. Diny

    September 10, 2011 at 2:32 am

    Yep.. In Indonesia we still have laundresses or what we familiar with “Laundry” everywhere.. They even have washing-per-kilo-of-clothes services.. And yes the business is still good..

  143. Cinthia

    September 10, 2011 at 5:13 am

    Hi, I live in Dominican Republic, and that’s a work that still be doing, even in a medium class family, they have somebody who WASH by hand their clothes and keep it clean, organized and go after laundering to organized it in the order the boss like it.

  144. His Grace the Duke of Winchester

    September 10, 2011 at 7:40 am

    Dear Sir,

    It sounds like you need a valet, or gentleman’s personal gentleman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=SYf5YPNnfRY

    Yours etc.

    George, D o W, OW.

  145. Christobel

    September 10, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Laundries (lavanderie) in Italy work pretty well as a substitute for an old-fashioned laundress or valet. They’ll look after your clothes, provide excellent handwashing drycleaning ironing and general aftercare, and offer lots of advice free of charge.

    I don’t know who would not consider laundry a real job. After all, someone has to do it, like childcare and cooking. Doesn’t have to be a woman, but traditionally there have been plenty of terrible menial jobs for men, too. I would consider it a more noble calling to be a laundress than, say, an advertising executive.

  146. Bernadette

    September 10, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Dear Scott, looks like you got lots of info re someone to help clean your special garments. I produce couture garments for women. Of course you are right, clothing must be taken care of if you want your favourites/investment pieces to last. The right Dry Cleaner/laundry are important contacts and definitely worth building a good relationship with for the sake of an organised and truly functional wardrobe. Have you seen the movie “I am Love” (I sono L’amoure) with Tilda Swinton? There is a great scene shot during a visit to her Dry Cleaner’s shop (and otherwise a truly wonderful and very stylish film).
    My general tip for preservation of clothing (which I remind my clients whenever I had over a new garment/gown) … IF YOU GET ANYTHING ON YOUR CLOTHING, BLOT THE SPOT TWICE WITH SOMETHING WHITE (TISSUE, TABLE NAPKIN) AND THEN GET IT TO THE DRY CLEANER ASAP. NO RUBBING, NO SALT OR SODA WATER AND NO ELECTRIC HAND DRYERS IN THE WASH ROOM. GARMENTS ARE OFTEN DAMAGED IRREPARABLY AFTER A FEW DRINKS AND SOME FRANTIC (PANIC) RUBBING. GENERALLY THE MORE YOU DO TO IT AND THE LONGER YOU LEAVE IT, THE HARDER IT IS FOR A PROFESSIONAL TO REMOVE THE STAIN. When in doubt, wash in cold water and rinse thoroughly in tepid water. If you have your own washing machine, mesh wash bags are great. Dry flat on a towel over a rack.
    Regards, BG

  147. Catherine

    September 10, 2011 at 11:33 am

    When I was in Kenya for the Peace Corps, I didn’t want to have someone to do my cleaning because of the overtones of slavery, etc. I thought it would be shameful. So I did it myself–going to fetch water (didn’t have running water or electricity in my house), washing by hand, reusing the wash water to mop the floors, because water was so precious it had to be used at least twice.
    One day, two of my Kenyan neighbors invited me to tea. There, they informed me that I was shameful, that as a person with a job, it was my responsibility to create a job for someone else, that they had chosen a house girl for me and that I would pay her X amount. It really gave me a different perspective.

  148. Mary

    September 10, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    In my family we take turns taking care of the laundry. One of the things that I have found is that my clothes need much less maintenance since I stopped using my dryer and I dry everything on a wooden clothes drying rack. I was amazed at how rough the tumble dryer was on elastic, buttons and the fabric in general.

  149. Amit Lal

    September 10, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Hey,

    I’m from Delhi (India), we still have those guys, infact there is a movie also made on Laundress, its a Bollywood movie named Dhobi-Ghat, you can search it on you-tube….. In India, Dhobi is a caste where people from this particular community involve in Laundry profession since ancient times.. They are many in Mumbai and Delhi also many shops provides the same facility for customers..

  150. DHamel

    September 10, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Few good ones still exist. My cousin employs one in Atherton, California. Her job is strictly maintaining the laundry – washing, ironing and folding. She is not the housekeeper.

  151. jan

    September 10, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Run an ad on Craigslist for a seamstress/laundress and you might find someone who will know how to wash, press and mend your clothing. The problem with ready to wear clothing manufacturers is the symbiotic relationship they have developed with commercial dry cleaners that make clothing unwashable even when made with natural fibers. As a home sewer, I make sure to construct all my clothing so that it is washable either by machine or by hand. And, of course, I always press my clothing myself. In fact, I doubt if I would trust anyone else to do it. Good luck.

  152. Anni

    September 10, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Hmm… I m bit suprised about comments on doing laundry. As I understood in this post are not meant laundry or dry- cleaning but rather service that allows you to have your clothes in order, clean and up to date. Really more like some sort of personal assistant rather than cleaning lady. I believe that it would be really something that goes long way in order to be more environmental friendly (keeping clothes in order makes them last longer), to keep your own style and having good things to last longer. It sounds really more like stylest who would keep your best clothes looking their best, if needed sewing some buttons or fitting new things for you and so one. And I wouldn´t say that it is a cheep or only womans job. It really has challence in it.

  153. Charles

    September 10, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    I’m not sure about Manhattan, but there are definitely still laundresses—lavanderie—in Bogotá and, perhaps somewhat closer to home, here in Westchester. However, the ones that I know of it Colombia fall closer to your description.

  154. yk

    September 10, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    we do have hear in the Philippines!

  155. yk

    September 10, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    *here. So sorry about that!

  156. Taylor

    September 10, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    I’m at a boarding school in England for a year (exchange program) and they have a laundry service done by someone who I believe is a laundress – she cleans and irons the clothes in less than two days. So, it still exists in England.

  157. nycmom

    September 10, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    i live in nyc–my weekly house(apt) cleaner does our laundry–linens and towels are folded and put away/bed re-made, my husbands shirts are ironed and everything else is folded/hung up and returned to our closets. this seems to be the norm among my circle of friends…however nannies do the children’s laundry!
    just like finding a great nanny though–y’gotta look around to find a great housecleaner!
    as for mending, that stuff still goes to the tailor (though small jobs my cleaner does kindly offer to do, ie. sewing back a button)

  158. andrea

    September 10, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Meurice Garment Care- one on the upper east side and one on University Place. They are fantastic and they pick up and deliver.

  159. Ron Pepper

    September 10, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    I am aware of a couple, however their quality is not great, things just aren’t the same!

  160. emily

    September 10, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    It may have something to do with my Southern part of the country location, but we do have laundry services offered here in my hometown. They actually pick up the laundry from your home and return it within 3 days. They wash, mend and dry clean. It is a fabulous service!

  161. prianka

    September 11, 2011 at 4:17 am

    Yes!
    As already mentioned, the dhobi’s in India do the washing/ironing & deliver it to your house.

    You can see some relevant scenes in the 2010 Hindi drama film “Dhobi Ghat”

  162. ssn

    September 11, 2011 at 6:20 am

    There’s an article in this weekend’s FT about an newly-launched “luxury wardrobe organisation service” which sounds like it catalogues and stores garments, then whisks them to wherever in the world their owner may want them to be (“I had a last minute benefit to attend in Monaco so they flew out my dress”). Founder is a lady but apparently it’s turning out to be popular w men, particularly those who travel extensively for business. Flat starter fee is 2,000 pounds for up to 100 garments and there’s a businessmen package starting at 5,000 pounds.

    They have clients in NY as well so perhaps this is an alternative to the issue of housing a dedicated full-time live-in laundress in Manhattan !

  163. MGF

    September 11, 2011 at 7:52 am

    well, in France, we may have a “pressing”, which takes care of your clothes. but Garance has probably told you that before. :)

  164. Katherine

    September 11, 2011 at 9:44 am

    I am a therapist also a writer and artist, in Appalachian Ohio and I would love to be a laundress too. Drying clothes and sheets in the sun, mending and pressing out the wrinkles, sprinkling the laundry with rose water before ironing. Very satisfying. I like doing laundry especially ironing linen and starching shirts, except that my husband prefers his shirts unstarched.

  165. Alfonso

    September 11, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I have been living for 2 years in Tokio, and yes there is a lady that comes every Tuesday and does cleaning and ironing. And she is quite good at it by the way – albeit expensive!

  166. Handamari

    September 11, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Hi Scott!

    Yes they’re still exist I do believe! Although in Jakarta, Indonesia, where I live, is so common to have maids to live in our house. They will pretty much do everything from cleaning the house, do the dishes, and doing the laundry & ironing as well. But for formal wear we usually put it at the best laundry/dry cleaner service in the city. Normally in one house there will be at least 1 maid. In my house, we have 3 maids in charge. All of them has work for many years in our house, so they’re like a part of the family too now.

    So good luck finding those laundresses in New York City!
    xx

  167. maggie e

    September 11, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    my neighbour was a laundress at the local university in Lancaster, PA. she still gets up at 5 a.m. to hang the family clothes on the line at almost 70 years old.

  168. hjr

    September 11, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    This is an interesting comment thread. We middle-class folks do this kind of thing for ourselves! We wash, we dry, we fold, we put away, and (sometimes :) we even iron! We mend rips, sew on buttons — or rather, set the button on the counter and forget for a couple wearings that it’s missing from the back pocket of our shorts. What’s more, we try and teach our children how to do these things. Also to navigate the old saying, “Buy it New; Wear it Out; Make it Do; or Do Without. I enjoy the creative inspiration of your blog.

  169. Grytnas

    September 12, 2011 at 1:29 am

    For men’s clothes I believe it is called a valet.

  170. sofia

    September 12, 2011 at 6:28 am

    in Italy we still have laundresses … they are more expensive then washing your clothes home but you can give them any kind of fabric, even the most delicate one, and you can be sure it will be perfectly cleaned, ironed and in perfect conditions.

  171. CM

    September 12, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Hello
    Your post prompted a memory from a few years ago when looking for work within the royal household, Buckingham/Windsor Palace etc. I am sure they were looking for someone who fit that description who could wash and sew. I had images of mending the Queens smalls but actually my mother said it was likely to be towels and sheets.
    I didn’t apply
    Thanks for a great blog CM

  172. Brit

    September 12, 2011 at 9:53 am

    This is less related to the laundress than to the idea of taking better care of our clothes. I frequently bring up the topic with my friends of buying better clothes that last longer and stay in style.

    There are so many stores now where you can buy “fashionable” clothing for very little; which ultimately, will last less than ten washes before it has a hole or shrinks or loses its shape. I have dresses that belonged to my grandmother in the fifties and they are still in impeccable condition and classic pieces that will always look good.

    In the age of everything being replaceable and accessible and mass produced, we don’t consider what happens to our clothes when we chuck them. Clothes in a landfill take eons to decompose. Sent to a thrift store, they have some chance of being recycled. I love thrift shops like goodwill because people buy and get rid of so much that it is easy to take advantage of. However, I have to restrain myself from buying something mediocre for its price.

    I agree about taking better care of what we have, fixing great clothes when they rip or don’t fit anymore. I’d rather have a several hundred dollar jacket that I can wear for ten years than a fifty dollar jacket that barely makes it through a season. Its environmentally friendly, looks better, and lasts longer.

  173. Shawn

    September 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    When I bought my first custom made shirt, I was looking at the highest end, thinnest, most expensive fabrics that were like tissue paper. He told me ‘people who buy these shirts have older Italian women who wash them by hand and iron them with giant old heavy irons.’ That stuck in my head.

  174. Veronica

    September 12, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Philly has a sustainable laundry service that uses bicycle delivery!! So nice of them :)

  175. chiara

    September 12, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    In Italy loundries exist but they couldn’t be there without all the efficient people working inside them: the loundry owner or employer, is the person every Italian person goes to to make them take care of their clothes. We preserve beauty, we’re not so consume-oriented as other countries went to be;so yes, Schott: you can find loundresses here!
    love,c.

  176. Helen

    September 13, 2011 at 1:55 am

    Sustainability! It is so much more reasonable to take care of what you have, rather than throw it out and buy a new one.

    I think you are right that there is an opportunity for a first world laundry service. A lot of people have lots of money, nice clothes, but can’t be bothered to wash them, yet can’t afford a maid. Maybe they would like the same service to do alterations and mending? Enter “laundress”. Surely there is somebody out there who would like to relieve these poor people of their cash?

  177. Senka

    September 13, 2011 at 6:52 am

    I’m working on a yacht and I have a laundry steward, who does the laundry for 16 permanent crew and up to 12 guests. He is amazing, he washes & presses the items, mends the clothes if necessary, sews buttons, treat stains. Everything is done to the highest standards because we are on multi-million yacht…

  178. Milena

    September 13, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Yes, laundress exists, I leave in Italy and there are places where specialized people take care of your clothes. They clean them perfectly and iron them. They also repair them if clothes need to be repaired. In Milan there is a historical laundress called Alberti, it is the best in town and at the same time the most expensive:)

  179. Deirdre

    September 13, 2011 at 8:32 am

    I’m in India, and there are dhobis – but you definitely watch what you give them; it’s likely to be cleaned via getting slapped on rocks somewhere, possibly torn, and certainly stretched out.

  180. H

    September 13, 2011 at 10:35 am

  181. Deborah

    September 13, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Yes! In Palm Beach! I know a couple of families who have a “laundress”….and that is what they are called!

  182. Melissa

    September 13, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    I called myself a laundress when I did the laundry on Broadway shows.

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  184. Samantha

    September 14, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    it sounds like you want something similar to the position of a wardrobe supervisor (or, mistress) who would be hired for theater performances… maybe try putting an ad out on billboard.com or the like and see if there’s any qualified wardrobe girls in need of work. i think in a city like this that’s a safe bet!

  185. Carla

    September 14, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    It really is a common thing in Spain. It surprises me you can’t find a laundress in New York when you can find one almost everywhere here in Spain! I normally bring there my delicate clothes, those which need a special care that I can’t handle at home.

  186. CCC

    September 16, 2011 at 9:42 am

    I live in China and have a laundress. He, yes he, comes to my house every other day for pick up/drop off and does everything- jeans, jackets, evening wear, shoe polishing, etc. Even presses the hanky pankys. The service is amazing plus quality and color care of my closet is outstanding. I truly wish I had something similar during the time I spend stateside.

  187. stinevincent

    September 19, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    to dove-tail with Stockings’s comments: “laundress” is a term originating in the middle ages for a female domestic worker who handled clothing-almost exclusively the washing (as in-laundry, hence the name). She was below kitchen and household staff in pecking order, though often commanded her own respect due to the grueling nature of the work, and the powerful strength necessary to handle harsh soaps and heavy clothing (heavier when wet). If you want one these days, you’d probably have to pay your maid extra to take on the lesser title.

    It’s not only the nature of domestic service to reinforce social inequality and oppression, as Stockings has argued, but also the vocabulary used for those jobs that connotes the status of such positions.

  188. dark aly

    September 20, 2011 at 12:41 am

    A search in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles is what US government agencies use to determine whether people can perform jobs in the national economy. A search shows the following results: http://www.google.com/cse?cx=partner-pub-7437757543052749%3A0942289255&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=laundry&sa=Search

  189. Marta

    September 20, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Interestingly, and if you put faith in sources such as US Magazine, actress Michelle Williams wants to be a laundress:
    http://movies.yahoo.com/news/michelle-williams-wants-quit-acting-become-laundress-232118269.html

    There must be some jobs out there if she believes that it is possible to do so, or at least, one would assume as much.

  190. yk

    September 20, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    to brooke: in some places wherein people have so many things to do and have so many folks running around in their household, having a helper or a laundress is a good investment. I live in a house with kids and grown-ups. Not in an apartment. No, we are not spoiled, I am not spoiled, it’s just that with our daily schedule, there’s so many things to do and so little time for laundry. Hence, an investment to have a laundress in our house. And oh, you are helping the economy since you paying someone to do work. It’s just a matter of perspective. By the way, I live in Manila and yes, we have a “katulong” or “kasambahay”–to translate it to english: househelp. Thanks.

  191. Kina

    September 21, 2011 at 1:35 am

    Hello, I’m writing from Brazil and I can tell you that my mother has a Dyer working for her since she was single and she just turned fifty years of marriage! He is so good professional who takes all kinds of spots you can imagine and deliver all clothing, personal or home, in perfect condition and crisply ironed! My mom lives in a small town in the state of Rio de Janeiro.

  192. Nacy

    September 23, 2011 at 12:04 am

    I chuckled when I saw “laundress” because in my family of five girls my mother always said I was the best laundress. I actually take pride in my skill of laundering, folding, and ironing. I use wooden hangers, every item in my closet is in a garment or dry cleaning bag and I have clothes that are 25yrs and older. Since I stick to classics they don’t go out of style. Anyway I still call myself a great laundress and I am very few and far between.

  193. LetĂ­cia

    September 25, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Hi! I live in Brazil and, yes, some houses here have what you call “laundress” (or “lavadeira” in portuguese). But there aren’t so many laundresses anymore because life here is getting really expensive. There’s a fashion designer, Isabela Capeto, who created, with the help of her laundress, a guide to help her clients to wash their clothes without damages…

  194. Yolanda Estévez Bouzas

    September 28, 2011 at 8:00 am

    With that philosophy we´ve opened in Spain, the lab.

    http://www.thelabsite.es/

  195. Yolanda Estévez

    September 28, 2011 at 8:02 am

    With that philosophy we´have opened the lab

  196. House Manager

    October 10, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Yes, Laundresses still exist! I have worked in private estate homes for the last 10 years and most homes that I’ve worked in have had a private staff, which included a laundress. It is certainly a luxury to have, they will cost you anywhere from 20 to 35 per hour, and are usually on a full time pay roll, with benefits. Any domestic staffing agency can find you one, but it will cost you! Happy searching & good luck!

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  201. erqwwer

    July 27, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Beautifully really interesting.

  202. Ellie

    October 4, 2012 at 1:16 am

    I have been a laundress for 1 year here on Long Island, New York.

  203. Lynda

    November 2, 2012 at 1:55 am

    Stumbled upon your post. I’m a laundress and love my job. Due to my extensive experience working on very high end clothing, most of my jobs have been with the very rich and famous. I’m paid extremely well ( over a $100,000) which shock the average person but when you think about it, I have replaced the dry cleaner other than for furs or leathers. Most of my clients wear top designers that for one outing her outfit might have cost her $18,000 or a silk shirt is $1400 etc… That might scare off wanting to hand clean them but I do that everyday. It is a lost art now a days and the rich hate sending their expensive clothes to the cleaners because everything is automated and they come back looking terrible. Every client has really appreciated the care I give their clothes plus they smell fresh and clean unlike the cleaners. I clean all the down bedding and pillows, cashmere, silks, wools, shoes, etc and organize their wardrobe closets. They treat me with respect and appreciation and besides top pay, I get full benefits to include year end bonuses. Back in the 80′s I graduated with an aeronautical engineering degree and only worked in that field for 5 years before I realized that how much I hated it. I look back now and presently I make twice the pay, I am pretty much left alone to do my thing and work in the most beautiful homes, treated with respect and work on the most beautiful clothing you can only imagine. It is a great job and a much needed position to be filled, as there is such a need for someone who really knows fabrics and how to hand clean them.

  204. Nina

    May 21, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Yes they exist I am one for a family in Palm Beach. I am the only one who handles the homeowners clothing. I launder, press and put it away. I make $82,000.00 a year. In Palm Beach laundresses rule :)

  205. Elizabeth

    May 29, 2013 at 12:52 am

    I am a laundress on Long Island, I work 3 times a week for a family of four, my job requires washing, drying, ironing, steaming, organizing, and sometimes sowing. I put all clothes away when I have finished pressing them. On top of clothes, I also take care of bed linens, as in washing, drying, ironing, etc. as well as bath towels and kitchen cloths. Its a very time consuming job but someone’s got to do it!

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