Philadelphia-based company Wash Cycle Laundry picks up your laundry using a bike-powered fleet of dedicated messengers, washes them with cold water and eco-friendly detergent, and returns them to you quickly using pedal power.
Did you ever stop to think about how big an environmental impact laundry has? Water to wash the clothes, energy to wash and dry them—and thats not even taking into account the various products used to clean and brighten clothes, many of which are distinctly not environmentally-friendly. Especially in large cities, many people lack at-home laundry facilities, and for those who don’t have time to hang out all Saturday at the Laundromat, drop-off or pick-up-and-deliver laundry services are quite popular. Many businesses have neither the capability nor the time to do their own laundry (it builds up surprisingly quickly, whether you have a garage, a restaurant, or a janitorial service), so they end up employing commercial laundry services as well.
These pick-up-and-deliver laundry services are convenient, no doubt, but they’re not often very concerned with their impact on the environment, or so says Wash Cycle Laundry, a Philadelphia-based laundry service that picks up and delivers laundry in trailers attached to bicycles, rather than gas-guzzling, inefficient trucks. In an industry infamous for the use of harsh detergents and chemicals, Wash Cycle Laundry uses detergents that are hypoallergenic, biodegradable, have no added fragrance, and are made locally (the brand is Sun and Earth) for the personal laundry they take in. The company attempts to employ detergents and processes that render the use of hot water unnecessary (your clothes get just as clean if you wash only in cold water; I’ve done this myself for decades). They use a combination of different types of washing machines so that clothes emerge from the washers already fairly dry, meaning they’ll be able to spend less time in a clothes dryer. And, unlike most other commercial services, which return linens to customers in individual shrink-wrap packages and plastic bags, these clean clothes radicals return linens in reusable, unbleached canvas bags or reusable plastic containers.
Wash Cycle Laundry will pick up, wash, dry, fold, and deliver laundry to individuals, but they also service businesses. Most of the time, you’ll get your clean laundry back the very next day. Now, Philadelphia sees her share of rain and snow, but lest you think the employees here would be deterred by a modicum of precipitation, fear not. Im told that the delivery personnel, described as ”awesome, dedicated cyclists,” are outfitted with good rain gear and studded snow tires. I met a few of these cyclists recently, and their energy and enthusiasm was boundless.
Wash Cycle Laundry currently operates only in Philadelphia. They have several different pricing plans, depending upon how much laundry you generate (in addition to having their laundry done by this company, businesses can also rent towels, aprons, floor mats, and more here). But, considering what a terrific idea this is, we hope the business will branch out to other cities soon. As for now, citizens of Philadelphia can consider themselves fortunate.