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On-demand laundry services are on the rise, and one is expanding to 15 countries

Why it matters to you

You might not have realized just how easy it is to get someone else to do your laundry for you.

If your apartment is a washer-free zone and you never have time to get to the laundromat, hopefully you’ve sorted out some way to get your clothes clean rather than traipse around in garments smelling as grim as they feel.

One solution is an app-based collection service called Laundrapp that could otherwise be described as an “Uber for laundromats.” Such services have been popping up with increasing frequency in recent years, and have been doing well in some of the larger cities.

They operate pretty much as you’d expect. Simply choose a pick-up time on the app, hand your funky gear to the driver, and wait for it to come back smelling of roses — the clothes, not the driver, though a pleasantly scented driver would of course be more than acceptable.

United Kingdom-based Laundrapp, for one, has been gaining attention in the battle to grab, wash, and return your rags. Currently sitting pretty in the nation’s top 20 startups list and also offering its service in parts of Australia and New Zealand, the outfit this week announced it’s planning to launch in 13 additional countries before year-end, though it’s holding back on expansion into the United States for now.

Part of its strategy is to hook up with large franchises, so in China, for example, it’s hoping to strike a deal with a company that has 6,000 laundromats on its books, the Telegraph reported.

Laundrapp opened for business in 2014 and works via iOS, Android, and the web. The startup told the Telegraph that many of its customers are recent graduates who “use their mobile phones like remote controls for their lives,” as well as young families and busy city workers.

In the U.S. there are a bunch of similar services all vying for attention, among them FlyCleaners, Cleanly, and Instawash. But competition is tough in this emerging space, with some startups – including Washio – disappearing down the drain during the ongoing battle for customers.

Most only serve a limited number of cities for now, but over time will likely roll out to more locations. Services, turnaround time, and pricing vary between startups, so shop around for the best deal if you’re well and truly done with doing your own laundry.