Ways to do Laundry
Where to have laundry cleaned is a common topic of discussion and concern for travelers to India. Tourists have 4 options available in nearly every part of the country. It all depends on an individual’s perception toward time, cost, and convenience.
Hotel / Send Out
A popular option among the Mid-Range and Luxury tourists. Guests need only reach for the in-room laundry bag, complete an inventory item list, and leave at the front desk. With no fuss, clean laundry is delivered by the end of the day while tourists complete a full round of sightseeing. High-end properties take great pride in how they return guest laundry. Wicker baskets of perfectly folded items filled exactly to the edges, often topped with a personal message, are popular in Rajasthan. More common is individually folded pieces returned wrapped in cellophane. Even undergarments are returned wrapped as if just purchased at the store. Wasteful? Very. Visually appealing to the guest? Yes!
Upside: Easy, no hassle.
Downside: Expensive. Can’t use this option with late arrival/early next day departure.
Note: Be prepared to pay a high mark-up per piece of laundry, especially undergarments.
This option is a definite money saver from the full service provided by hotel properties. Dry cleaners as well as basic wash & dry services can be found in most local markets. Hotels will try to sell you on their services which not only come with a steeper price tag but are often contracted with the same local merchant you could be seeking out for actual cost. Instead, pack up your washables and ask a taxi driver, car service driver, chai wall, or street vendor where the nearest laundry stall is. Get there shortly after opening and you may have your wash completed by end of the business.
Upside: Save money, point out stains or areas of concern directly.
Downside: Requires some effort to locate, drop off, and retrieve laundry. No guaranteed time-line for completion as with hotels.
Note: Some merchants will return laundry to local hotel/accommodation properties for a little baksheesh. Ask when dropping off.
A favorite option for the budget and trekker traveler is Do-It-Yourself (DIY) laundry. Small detergent packets can be purchased at the corner stall in all towns and villages. Rin is the most popular brand to look for at a cost of Rs 2 per packet. Budget hotels come standard with bath buckets in every room which double perfectly as a small washbasin for undergarments, socks, shirts, and shorts.
Upside: Do laundry whenever nearly wherever for nearly no cost.
Downside: Takes time out of other daily activities. Finding a place to dry items can be challenging. Items that need pressing may end up wrinkled.
Find this service either on the roadside or in the local market. This no-frills option is easily spotted by the ironing board, antiquated (but very useful) iron, and almost always a male attendant. For Rs 10-20 per piece, travelers can drop off nearly every article of clothing imaginable for pressing. Within a few hours to only a few minutes, perfectly pressed items are ready to wear, looking crisp and fresh. Combined with DIY laundry, the few pieces which need pressing keep the cost to nearly nothing.