Start a Laundry Love Effort in Your City
Clean clothes matter
National Operations Directors
The Get Started Guide
The Laundry Love guide comes in English and Spanish, answers most questions related to the initiative, and is the first step in starting a Laundry Love location in your city or neighborhood.
How it Works
Gather a Committed Group
Build a committed group of volunteers. This could be friends, family, co-workers, community groups or church groups.
Download the Guide
Download the Laundry Love Guide and read thoroughly. If you have any questions, contact the National Director of Operations.
Partner with a local laundromat
Find a local laundromat to partner with. Consider location, mass transit, bus lines, walkability, near low-income areas, etc.
Register your Laundry Love
Register your Laundry Love effort to be placed on our national map. This allows families and individuals in your area to find you.
Develop a Funding Stream
Develop a funding stream to sustain your Laundry Love effort. Build partnerships that will care for Laundry Love participants. See our Fundraising page for ideas
Register your Laundry Love
Registering your Laundry Love location is a requirement in being part of the national movement, and more importantly it helps people in your area who need assistance find you.
If you are a Laundromat owner or manager interested in partnering with us, contact Mandy our National Director of Operations.
Update your Laundry Love effort
Facilitators can log their updated Laundry Love location information.
Fundraising for your laundromat location?
Generating a sustainable base of support for your Laundry Love site will ensure that you can continue to provide care for years to come. We have partnered with Pure Charity to create a fundraising solution for each Laundry Love location.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the hope of Laundry Love?
LL is about people joining together.
LL believes that through the neutral space of a laundromat, every guest and stranger can become a friend. This idea tears at the labeled constructs of “us” and “them” and erodes the societal, economic and cultural divides that separate people.
LL is not the goal, but a beginning.
LL believes in meaningful collaboration. It seeks interagency partnerships.
LL is not only about affecting but also being affected. It fosters a mutual life change through relational reciprocity.
LL seeks to pull neighbor out of neighborhood and encourage everyday hospitality and rebuilding or rekindling trust within a community or neighborhood through human care. Unity built by selfless concern and consistency.
LL calls us to live lives that return. LL is not meant to be a one-off effort. It’s a commitment. A life that returns is a practice of love.
LL is not a service project or something you “do to” “or for” people. It’s an expression of living “with” others.
LL can be contextualized for every neighborhood and city everywhere. There are 35,000 coin operated laundromats in the U.S. We have much room to grow.
LL leans toward asset based community development (ABCD). ABCD is learning what gifts are present among those you serve and encouraging and kindling responsibility and dignity through the thoughtful process of moving the LL guest/friend away from dependency toward interdependency.
What are the benefits of hosting a Laundry Love?
In addition to providing care for those who are struggling financially, Laundry Love is a great way to begin friendships and network within your neighborhood and city. Laundry Love offers time to engage in meaningful conversations both with those who are committed to the effort, and those who benefit from your care and concern. All you have is time in a laundromat, make the best of it.
Next to the post office, the laundromat is one of the great remaining neutral spaces where worlds collide. Within the four walls of such spaces you will meet people from all around the world, from many cultures with many experiences and stories. The laundromat is one of the most beautifully diverse places to be. We sometimes say, “If you want to see the world, just walk to your local laundromat.”
Where should we host a Laundry Love?
It is best to choose a laundromat that’s accessible to those you seek to care for and be with. It should be within walking distance for guests/friends with transportation restrictions and close to motels, low income housing, shelters or city transit stops. Look for laundromats that provide adequate space, are well lit, and have an adequate number of working machines and preferably with restrooms facilities.
How should we approach a Laundromat owner?
1. Approach the owner/manger of the laundromat directly.
2. Begin by explaining who you are and who you represent (group, community effort, faith community, student organization, etc.).
3. Share how your group would like to host a LL evening/day, perhaps once a month to start. Present the general information of what LL does.
4. Share with them the benefits of hosting a Laundry Love:
- Laundromat will be listed on the Laundry Love website for hundreds to see each week.
- Additional economic benefit to the laundromat.
- The laundromat will be known for its good will in its neighborhood/city.
5. Stress that your group will finance the effort, and that the laundromat will benefit from the patronage and the advertising. Assure them that you and your group will be present for the duration of every event. Discuss with the owner/manager about the business days and times that might be the least intrusive and explain that Laundry Love does not want to interfere with their regular business operation.
6. Stress that your group will finance the effort, and that the laundromat will benefit from the patronage and the advertising. Assure them that you and your group will be present for the duration of every event. Discuss with the owner/manager about the business days and times that might be the least intrusive and explain that Laundry Love does not want to interfere with their regular business operation.
7. Be sure to leave the laundromat owner/manager your contact information and follow-up with them in a few days with a phone call or personal visit.
8. If you are looking at a self-run laundromat, check for contact information posted on the walls or ask a customer if they know when the manager/owner comes in and then follow the steps as outlined.
9. Use non-objective language or labels. i.e homeless
How can we advertise/market our Laundry Love effort?
Due to issues concerning intellectual property and trademark please read the following:
Every Laundry Love location is required to use Laundry Love logo and/or have laundrylove.org URL on all design, web, graphic, social media elements.
Partnership and permission is required to use all Laundry Love collateral materials (logos, designs, images, languages) for any and all use including but not limited to print, apparel, digital, internet (including social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Websites, Email, Blogs, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) Permission is also required to change, augment, redesign or share the Laundry Love icon/logo/graphic, and any element of Laundry Love promotional materials (name, people, prior names i.e. laundry love project, logo design etc…) with anyone anywhere.
PR, news outlets, media and other communications via print, broadcast, video:
If your Laundry Love effort is reported on via a news source, magazine, television, radio or website or any other media correspondence, the mention/direct media, writers, and/or people to the national office and the website at www.laundrylove.org. Please be sure to tell them the story where Laundry Love originated.
Register your Laundry Love location at www.laundrylove.org
There are LL door hangers, fliers and posters in English and Spanish available for you to write in the location and time for your LL. You can place these in the laundromat, surrounding motels and shelters, business, churches, social agencies or hand them out directly to people in need. They are available by visiting www.laundrylove.org.
You may also place a 4-inch by 4-inch Laundry Love laundromat sticker on the front door of the Laundromat, designating it as a Laundry Love laundromat. You can find these on the www.laundrylove.org website. We ask that you seek permission from the owner before placing a sticker at a laundromat.
What materials will our Laundry Love require?
We recommend the following;
- Group of at least 4-10 people.
- Pens and paper to create a logbook for counting loads so you can calculate how many guests/friends attended and how much money was spent.
- Large bucket(s) liquid detergent or pods. We encourage liquid detergent because it is gentler on the washing machines.
- Setup a station where the detergent is visible. Participants can check in, receive direction, receive washing/drying coupons and/or any other important info regarding your LL effort. Be visible to first time guests.
- Of course, you will need lots of quarters!
How long is a typical Laundry Love session?
It typically runs for 2-3 hours, but it depends on the amount of guests/friends participating. Start exactly at the time advertised and explain to the guests/friends that the last load must go in 30 or 45 minutes before the LL session ends. Be hospitable to the laundromat staff and remember, if your LL happens during the evening be mindful of the hour the laundromat begins its closing process.
How should we structure the event?
Arrive early because the word gets out, and participants will often get there early and save washing machines which interrupts the laundromat’s regular business. This is something we advise you address right away if it occurs.
Set up the station for your detergent and check-in. There are different ways that the washing process can happen; some hand out vouchers, others have laminated cards for each wash and dry. You will have to navigate this for yourself and figure what system works best.
If you do have a sign-in sheet, you may want to help the participants as some may have literacy challenges and may find this process embarrassing, or you may experience a language barrier.
Let participants load laundry into the machine(s) and use the detergent provided by you. In order to respect privacy, we advise not touching the laundry. Once the machines are loaded, have your team administer the quarters as necessary. Once a load is finished, guide the participant to load their clothes into the dryers, and again, go to each machine and administer the quarters. It typically runs 2-3 hours, but it depends on the amount of guests/friends participating. Start exactly at the time advertised and explain ti to the guests/friends that the last load must go in 30 to 45 minutes before the LL session ends. Be hospitable to the laundromat staff and remember, if your LL happens during the evening be mindful of the hour the laundromat begins its closing process.
How many loads should a guest be allowed to wash?
This entirely depends on the group sponsoring the LL, the money you have, and the number of participants making use of your effort. Things can change from month to month, but we highly encourage you to have a system in place and outlined on a flier so the participant understands and respects the outline created.
Most LL efforts start with three loads per individual and five loads per family. Ultimately you will have to discern this based on funds and participation.
What to expect from those served?
Most of the time, expect nothing but gratitude. Most people who are truly under-resourced will welcome not only the LL care but your conversation and friendship. Be mindful and considerate of those who come with mental impairments, chemical addictions, physical and emotional abuse, or an attitude of entitlement due to the rigors of marginalization and poverty. Each person carries a story that is original to them and will require patience, graciousness and discernment from you and your team. If abuse or manipulation happens or continues over a period of time, it’s best to confront with love reminding the participant of the scripted outline and responsibility as a guest of LL.
If you have further questions regarding this email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can we finance LL and make it sustainable?
Bottom line: get creative and build monthly sponsors.
Start an online fundraiser via Laundry Love National Nonprofit: See our Fundraising Page at LaundryLove.org/Fundraise. When you fundraise online via the National Laundry Love nonprofit, we will ensure everyone who contributes receives tax deduction, all funds are properly accounted for, and you have access to fundraising tools & dashboards to track your donations, donors, and post updates.
Purchase a gumball, candy or toy machine. Partner with local businesses or store fronts, get permission to place a machine inside their establishments to generate quarters for your LL. Promotional materials should be placed by the machine to inform people about how the quarters are being used. Though this will be an up front out of pocket expensive, the return and consistent income will help sustain your LL while allowing others to learn about and invest in this idea.
Quarter collection: Purchase or make cheap coin containers, put the containers into the hands of people, their homes, local business, faith communities, schools, dorm rooms, etc. This is one way to have many people participate regardless of age and availability.
Local sponsorships: Individual or business, one time or ongoing. Place their name on your fliers, Facebook page, etc, to give them public sponsorship credit.
Detergent drop off: As people in your network go grocery shopping, encourage them to pick up an additional box of powdered detergent and drop if off at your Laundry Love location.
Other ways to generate funds: Garage sales, bake sales, other assorted events. Check for loose change in your couch or friend’s couches. Recycle cans, glass, bottles, paper, anything. Ask your neighbors to invest by collecting quarters for your effort.
Read and see more at www.laundrylove.org and share your ideas on LL social platforms.
Others ideas to consider:
- Partner with local tutoring programs to tutor the children who are participants at your LL.
- Designate a children’s area inside the laundromat with coloring, learning and play options.
- Create food, toiletries and clothing distribution options.
- Work with a student nursing program or local medical personnel to give basic medical care to participants.
- Set up Wi-Fi access for those you serve to read e-mail and explore job and housing opportunities.
- Create or work with an interagency alliance in your neighborhood or city. Seek housing options, health care, addiction recovery, financial planning, safe houses, etc.
- Host birthday or holiday events for your LL friends.
- Offer haircuts inside the laundromat.
- Create off site educational opportunities such as personal finance, nutrition and health, job training, GED graduation and study.
- Have bilingual team members
- Help build resumes or assist in filling out forms for possible living or work opportunities.
- Draft press releases to bring attention to your LL and share the news.
- Host quarterly dinners in an off site location to share a meal with those you serve and have built relationships with. Let the participants speak into the LL effort, find ways for those who are regularly attending to start participating in running and developing your LL, possibly taking it over.
- Look to the future and help us multiply your LL effort into other laundromats in your city.
How does Laundry Love help?
Laundry Love will provide a coach to answer questions and/or concerns for those interested in starting up a new Laundry Love location. Laundry Love will promote your effort on our website. We will send quarterly updates regarding LL efforts around the U.S. keeping you updated about current and future musings and share stories, new designs and future opportunities. Upon registration, your LL is placed on the national LL map, giving people in your city your LL address, time, and contact person.
For More Information Contact:
Laundry Love National Director of Operations