Why Hotel Laundry Service is So Expensive & How To Pay Less

by SharonKurheg

Although we do our best, Joe and I are dyed-in-the-wool over packers. However, if we are in a location for more than a week or so, we make it our business to do some laundry while we’re out of town. With that, we can bring significantly less clothes than if we packed for the entire trip.

Many higher end hotels offer laundry services; they even have laundry bags in the room.

a wooden box with a pair of slippers and a white towel

“It’s in the bag” was the cleverly labeled laundry bag in the drawer when we stayed at the Crowne Plaza at Singapore Changi Airport T3

But the prices for this service are usually pretty astronomical. Prices will vary by location, of course, but you can expect to pay roughly $3 to $5 for a man’s shirt, $6 to $10 for a dress, or $2 to $3 for each pair of underwear.

Meanwhile, the average cost of doing a full load of laundry at a laundromat can vary between $3 and $10.

So why is getting it done at a hotel so much more money?

Hotels themselves generally don’t do your laundry – they use third-party services. So you’re not just paying for the actual laundry – you’re paying for the service of picking up and dropping off, as well as the time and energy/materials it took to wash and dry (and, if you pay for it, press and fold) your clothes.

On top of that, remember that when you stay at a hotel, you’re at the hotel’s mercy. So just about everything will cost more. Food and beverage. Parking. Whether it’s the hotel charging you or that third-party company who also knows you’re “at their mercy,” why NOT gouge you for laundry?

How to avoid those high costs

The good thing is, if hotels may tack on any extra costs, laundry is probably one of the easiest to get around.

In-house self-service guest laundry

a group of white washing machines

Self-laundry facility in a Home2 Suites (the first time we had stayed at one)

Many hotels have washers and dryers for guests’ use. They’re rarely free, but the cost will be significantly less than, say, $5 for a shirt. They’ll usually sell detergent and fabric softener on-site (although if we plan to do our laundry while out of town, we bring our own detergent and dryer sheets).

We suggest asking your hotel beforehand to see if they have on-site laundry facilities.

If you plan on doing your laundry at the hotel, don’t be “that guy,” put your stuff in a machine and leave your stuff there all day, until you get back to the hotel. Facilities are almost always limited to just a couple of machines, and if you leave your stuff and leave the premises for hours on end, you may find a pile of your wrinkled clothes in a corner because someone else needs to use the machine.

Off site self-serve laundromat

If your hotel doesn’t have an onsite laundromat, you can also check to see where the nearest laundromat is. The front desk of your hotel should be able to help you with this.

Of course, with off-site self-service, you’ll pay less, but doing your laundry will take up a significant amount of time. One suggestion we can make is to plan your laundry so you’re wearing similar color schemes. “All darks,” for example, will mean you don’t have to divide your clothes into “darks” and “mediums” (for those of you who divide laundry by color. We do LOL).

Off-site laundry service

Sometimes called “wash and fold service,” some laundromats offer to do your laundry. Prices will vary, and are often priced per pound/kilogram/bag, but it will usually run more than self-service but more than sending it out from the hotel.

Some wash and fold services will do “pick up and drop off,” even from your hotel, for a cheaper price than the hotel quoted.


Socks and underwear, although the smallest and lightest pieces of laundry, are also the easiest to wash in a sink. There’s nothing wrong with washing clothes in the sink or tub and letting them drip dry for a day or two (it’s probably best to plan this ahead of time, so you can bring clothes that tend not to wrinkle and aren’t so thick that they take days to dry).

Oh! One more thing

This will be something of a Your Mileage May Vary sort of thing, but depending on your plans, it’s sometimes possible to re-wear clothes, and no one will be the wiser. I mean, jeans are jeans. Wearing a thin T-shirt under a long sleeved shirt could mean the ability to wear the long sleeved twice during a trip. If you have “going out to dinner” clothes that you only wear for 3 hours, you may be able to wear them more than once during your stay.

I’m not suggesting you wear the same clothes for the entire trip. But if you’re not going to see the same people every day, you may not have qualms about wearing the same sweater 3 days later if you wore something under it the first time.

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