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Hotel Laundry Services 101 – Is It Worth It?

A woman doing a hotel laundry.

Whether you are staying at a hotel as part of a long vacation, or experience an unexpected wardrobe mishap, having access to hotel laundry services can be a tremendous time-saver.

Many hotels offer laundry services, but what doesn’t that mean? The more you understand the process, pricing, and timelines for hotel laundry services, the more comfortable you will be entrusting your wardrobe to their care.

How to Access Hotel Laundry Services

A couple with a travel bag in a hotel reception.

You may want to start by reviewing the hotel amenities on their website while booking your room to verify that they provide laundry services and learn how often services are provided. Some hotels may only pick up laundry on certain days of the week. Confirm any schedules when you check-in.

With staffing shortages or a high percentage of rooms occupied, there may be changes in the laundry schedule, so getting up-to-date information is important.

Most hotels will have a laundry bag in your room’s closet with an attached form to complete. The pricing is usually on this same form so as you fill it out for your laundry, you can calculate how much it will cost. Don’t forget to add your room number.

Sending Clothes Out

A man folding a clothes on top of a hotel bed.

Once you get your clothes in the bag and have enclosed the items list, tie up or seal the bag and leave it for housekeeping to pick up. Many hotels will suggest that you leave the bag just outside your door, but if you are not comfortable with that, you can leave it on your bed and call housekeeping to let them know it’s ready.

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Most of the time, hotels offer a one-day turnaround for your laundry to make it back to you fresh and clean. This timeline can also be affected by the hotel’s rate of occupancy, staffing issues, or other housekeeping-related factors. If you need a faster turnaround, you may be able to pay a little more for expedited service.

If you are not sure about the hotel’s ability to meet your deadline, you can always ask the front desk or concierge if there is a local dry-cleaning or laundry service that can help.

What Happens Next

Hotel laundry with linen and pillow cover.

This next step will depend on a couple of factors, and if the differences matter to you, you should probably learn a little about the laundry services at your hotel. Don’t assume that the laundry is done in-house unless it is stated. Some hotels contract with laundry service companies for everything they wash, including bed linens, towels, and guest laundry.

If this is the case, your clothes will be leaving the premises. That can also happen if the hotel provides its own laundry service for linens and towels but still sends out clothing. If their laundry facilities are designed for more industrial use, sending out clothing is a good thing.

That means they want to be sure your items are handled with more care and done in smaller batches.

If all laundry services are done in-house, it may be worth a conversation to find out how guest laundry is handled. Are the larger washing machines and dryers used? Can your laundry be separated according to the water temperature used?

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Consider the process before deciding on what clothes to send for laundering.

Delicate items or anything requiring special handling should probably wait until you can wash them yourself or have more control over the process. The exception to this would be items with stains that might only get worse if not treated. Don’t be afraid to discuss a special item with housekeeping.

Remember that these are professionals who understand how to clean a variety of textiles.

Fresh and Clean Clothes

Once your items have been collected, sorted, and laundered, some items will be pressed and everything will be hung or folded and returned to your room.

Depending on your payment arrangement with the hotel, your cost for laundry services will probably just be added to your bill. Be sure to review this at check out to make sure it agrees with your tally of what was sent.

Ideal Clothing For Laundry Services

A dirty laundry and a washing machine.

While you can discuss the cleaning of any clothing with your hotel’s laundry staff, there are some items of clothing that will be more resilient in the laundry process. Fortunately, this includes many wardrobe staples. Here are some items that wash well through your hotel’s services:

  • Jeans
  • T-shirts
  • Cotton trousers
  • Shirts or blouses made of cotton or cotton-blend fabrics
  • Some cotton or cotton-blend dresses (see note on straps below)

There are also some items of clothing that might not do as well when sent to a hotel’s laundry service:

  • Clothing made of silk or delicate synthetic fabrics
  • Dresses or tops with straps or long ties
  • Lingerie or undergarments
  • Socks (they can go solo and disappear just like they do at home)
  • Items that dry-clean only—unless it is stated that they provide dry cleaning services
  • Sweaters or fine woolens
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Many guests weigh the benefits of getting their laundry done by a hotel against any possible risk of sending their clothing out. The good news is that hotels offering laundry services are doing that as a part of their larger laundry operations, so this is something they are very familiar with and do every day.

While the cost might seem high—compared to doing your own laundry—it is likely still less expensive than needing to purchase new items of clothing to get you through your vacation.

You can also spend more time having vacation fun and less time shopping (unless that’s your thing), plus you won’t have to worry about using valuable souvenir space in your luggage when you pack to go home.