St. Thomas partners with Laundry Doctor

The Laundry Doctor lockers are located outside of Brady Hall, near Koch Commons. Residence Life introduced the on-demand laundry service at the beginning of the semester. (Sophie Carson/TommieMedia)
The Laundry Doctor lockers are located outside of Brady Hall, near Koch Commons. Residence Life introduced the on-demand laundry service at the beginning of the semester. (Sophie Carson/TommieMedia)

The University of St. Thomas has announced a partnership with the St. Paul-based company Laundry Doctor in a new effort to offer drop-and-go professional laundry and dry cleaning services to students, faculty and staff.

A customer can put a bag of dirty clothes in designated lockers around campus, enter the locker’s number into an app and return 48 hours later to pick up clean, folded clothes – a service that parents and faculty requested.

“We’ve had parents who’ve said, ‘Well, my son or daughter has never learned how to do laundry,’” said Bryan Helminiak, Residence Life associate director. “‘What do we do? Is there any service you have or can provide that people will do their laundry for them?’”

After a series of laundry companies presented their prices and services to St. Thomas, the university decided Laundry Doctor had the best product and most cost-effective service, according to Helminiak.

He does not think this partnership between St. Thomas and a private company is anything out of the ordinary, comparing it to STAR’s relationship with businesses that make T-shirts the club often distributes.

“If you think of what we use for preferred vendors for making T-shirts and sweatshirts, the university doesn’t have the means to do it on their own, but they want to provide a service for whoever may [want them],” Helminiak said.

Special Laundry Doctor lockers are stationed outside Brady Hall and the Binz. St. Thomas and Helminiak said the university hopes to extend operations to the Minneapolis campus in the near future.

Bonnie Hanson, the vice president of marketing and client relations at Laundry Doctor, said St. Thomas wanted to find a way for its students to spend more time studying and less time waiting for the washing machine to finish its cycle. Doing laundry on campus can be stressful and time-consuming, she added.

“It’s really enabling students to do the things that they need to be doing and want to be doing,” Hanson said. “They’re paying for an education. And this frees them up to reap the benefits of their education.”

Parents can see less dirty laundry go home on weekends while ensuring their children still have clean, presentable clothes to wear to important job and internship interviews, Helminiak said.

From the perspective of a faculty member, Helminiak said the dry cleaning services Laundry Doctor provides are easily accessible and competitive in price to any other dry cleaner’s.

St. Thomas is one of the first schools in the country to have this kind of app-based laundry service, according to Hanson.

“There are maybe two or three other (companies) that are leveraging the technology,” Hanson said. “It’s a small group.”

The trend of ordering services on an app is a growing industry, from calling a car on Uber to ordering food on Seamless. Laundry Doctor believes it is at the forefront of an on-campus laundry revolution, but first it needs the St. Thomas community to hop on board.

Helminiak said because the service has only been available to students for a short time, he does not know how many students have signed up so far and doesn’t know what to expect for this semester. He thinks, however, fall 2016 will see an uptick in memberships when parents of new freshmen discover the program.

To sign up for Laundry Doctor services, students, faculty and staff may go to This semester’s membership fee has been waived, and one 21-pound bag of laundry per week works out to about $75 per month.

Sophie Carson can be reached at


40 Replies to “St. Thomas partners with Laundry Doctor”

  1. I’m really concerned for students who do not know how to read directions on the washing machine yet somehow go to college.

  2. Where is the opposing viewpoint in this story? There are all of these quotes in support of this service citing college students never learning to do laundry and “enabling,” but no quotes from anyone who thinks this is a bad thing. Surely someone on campus thinks this is enabling in a negative way – teaching students to abandon basic chores that any real professional has to work into their schedule. TM editors: send a reporter out and get that opposing viewpoint, otherwise this is just an advertisement.

  3. “It’s really enabling students to do the things that they need to be doing and want to be doing”

    More like “It’s really enabling students to not learn how to do something that any adult should know how to do”.  Sometimes we need to do things we don’t want to do… this new plan will just enable students to be even lazier and more entitled.

  4. Part of going to college is learning to become independent. Now, students who are not successful inside of the classroom, are going to blame it on doing regular household chores.

    I wonder if the lockers and the technology used are going to increase the “Building fee” that students have to pay.

  5. The other sad part is that room and board fees already pay for most (if not all?) residence halls to have “free laundry.” Which makes this service an even bigger waste of money for anyone living in residence halls! The only time I could see myself using it if I needed nice clothes laundered for an interview or other such event since I didn’t have an ironing board.

  6. The fact that this was even considered to be a business worth pursuing makes me feel that St. Thomas is just looking for ways to waste money. What is even more surprising and almost infuriating, is the fact that parents are pushing this? Teach your kids to be independent and responsible for their own well being. Laundry is something everyone has to figure out at some point and the sooner the better. I guess next parents are going to say, “oh my child can’t do their homework/go to class so can we pay someone else to do it for them?”

  7. Full service laundry is certainly not for everyone. That being said service like this are offered to students on campus all over the world. UST is the first to offer one that is so accessible to students, faculty and staff via an app and lockers.

    That being said full service laundry is not just for lazy people. Wash Dry Fold is actually a service for people who value their time. We want to give people choices to make them more productive or yes the option to be lazy.

    Jeff Gardner, President
    The Laundry Doctor

  8. As an alumni, this is pathetic. Let’s be one of the first in the country to offer laundry services via an app because that’s what really matter to a well rounded liberal arts degree. Give me a break!

  9. As an alumnus of UST, this is pretty embarrassing. As if we needed to perpetuate the stereotypes of spoiled children being the majority of the student population. I get that the University can’t control the fact that there are students that were raised without knowing how to do laundry, but they certainly don’t need to enable this behavior.

  10. I imagine that this comment will not likely survive your editing, but i just want someone there to know how delighted many of us are to see St. Thomas make policy statements that could with a (not so) straight face be pasted directly into The Onion’s postings!  Keep up the good work!  

  11. Yup doing laundry can be stressful and so can being an independent adult!! Maybe this is a life skill that could be part of freshman orientation or do UST students hire someone to do that for them?? In all seriousness shame on any parent who doesn’t teach their child to do laundry.

  12. In a 2003 article the Minneapolis Star Tribune published on outsourcing The Laundry Doctor was one of the featured services, writer interviewed over a dozen of our customers. One of the quotes that has driven the our business over the years came from Tim Welsh, a Director at McKinsey & Company, and a Harvard MBA. Tim said “I value the time with my family not the time with my laundry” the Welsh family have been Laundry Doctor customers for over fifteen years.

    Outsourcing laundry for many professionals is mearly a tool to manage time. Our most consistent customers are successful professional. UST is mearly joining the ranks of many of University like Brown, Duke, Havard, MIT, Notre Dame, and Yale to name a few who have been partnering with companies like mine for decades.

    Jeff Gardner, President
    The Laundry Doctor

  13. This is hilarious. I got a great laugh from this- hopefully the Onion picks it up. 
    “Well, my son or daughter has never learned how to do laundry.”
    “Doing laundry on campus can be stressful and time-consuming.”

  14. I find it kind of funny how the president of The Laundry Doctor is in this thread… On another note though, how are we supposed to be teaching kids to “think critically, act wisely and work skillfully for the better of the common good” if we are bringing about this service because kids don’t know how to do their own laundry? If student’s can’t take care of basic life tasks for their own well being, how can we expect them to go into the world and make it better for everyone else?

  15. I would very much like to know which faculty members “requested” this service. 
      Surely Dr. Laumakis would not allow his massive collection of Aloha shirts to be laundered other than by his own hands. 
    On the other hand,  students in well laundered clothing will be “all for the common good.”

  16. Well St Thomas, you have added one more service to make it look like you are a college for the elite. Well rounded students should be able to manage their time to include these life skills. I agree with every comment on here except for the President of The Laundry Doctor!

  17. I understand how some working professionals would want a service like this when they have job because they can spend their money however they want but for this to be offered to a small and very expensive university’s students is just ridiculous. I don’t understand why parents wouldn’t teach their kids how to do laundry and instead of solving the problem they just want to pay for their problems to go away. And this is not an issue of millennials’ “all about me” lifestyle. In hindsight, no one should be saying that because this service was not requested by students but parents and faculty.

    This is also has nothing to do whether or not we “value our time.” Doing laundry as a college student is not a waste of time. The washing machines literally take 34 minutes. That’s it. There is a place and time for services like this. I highly doubt this college is one of them.

  18. Morning Jeff, 

    Your business model is fine. If my office building had your lockers, I’d certainly use it for dry-cleaning from time to time. However, college students are not 60 hour-a-week professionals, should have plenty of time to do their laundry and shouldn’t spend their limited funds on luxury services that compete with services already provided by the campus. The article itself is doing you no favors. If the tone of the article was, “new dry-cleaning service on campus will get you ready for that big interview”, I doubt you’d see any complaints. Instead, we have “parents complain that campus does not accommodate their inept offspring, University caves.”

  19. The defense that this is a service for people who value their time is laughable.  Doing laundry takes an extremely small amount of time and is a basic life skill.  The fact that this is the chosen solution for parents whose children can’t do laundry speaks volumes about their parenting abilities.  Absolutely and totally embarrassing.  If St. Thomas burned a pile of money in the Student Center, that would be a more popular and less embarrassing move.

  20. Funny article……Is this an April Fools joke a bit early? Come on parents, teach the kids on the weekend how to do this. I will even stay after work a few nights to help teach if need be.

  21. So sad. Learning to do laundry in college (which is a little bit different beast than learning to do laundry at home – at least back in my day!) is not only an important life skill, and important time management skill, it is a great way to meet people. And a great way to sneak alcohol around the dorms. I feel sad for these pathetic kids.

  22. The NYT just ran a piece I thought people here might find helpful. “When Children Say ‘I Can’t,’ but They Can, and Adults Know It.”
    From the article, “What advice do you have for dealing with feigned incompetence in previously capable, competent children? When a student suddenly regresses, claiming they can’t complete skills I know they have mastered, or when a child suddenly loses the ability to do the laundry, say, flailing his boneless, ineffectual arms about as he jabs at buttons on the washing machine, wailing all the while that he can’t possibly do laundry; it’s too hard.”

  23. I have never been so proud of the fact that I chose Hamline for undergrad. Thanks, St. Thomas!!!

  24. Geez, I hope my wife doesn’t hear about this service…she’ll be driving in from Apple Valley to drop off laundry!
     Tommie, Class of ’84, who diligently did his laundry for 4 yrs without Mommy

  25. I have two jobs and three kids. Can I enroll in one class, maybe badminton 101, just so I can get my family’s laundry done for free? Sweet.

  26. Mr Gardner
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with the service Laundry Doctor offers. As you said this is a great thing for busy professionals, who maybe travel a ton or are busy running kids to and from hockey and band practice. Collage students who have all of January off are not busy professionals.

  27. By adding a simple service, UST does not join the ranks of world renounce universities. Those universities are known for their high level of education, research, and contribution to the academic community.  

  28. Doing laundry is stressful? Seriously?!?!? I actually looked forward to it. I got more studying and homework done in the Dowling Hall laundry room than anywhere else on campus!

  29. UST may be admitting students with high ACT scores, but I think the quote from the movie Forrest Gump is applicable. “Stupid is as stupid does.”

  30. You know what I’m doing when I wait for my laundry to be done? STUDYING! It’s not like the students are incapable of multitasking! And just like the others have said, why would anyone bother spending MORE money to do their laundry when they already pay to have the laundry machines in the dorms. This is ridiculous, embarrassing, and a complete waste of our money.

  31. Why are people are so offended by a convenient service that is being provided to college kids? Sure the comment is laughable about being stressful but I hate doing laundry & if I can afford it, I will pay for it. It’s paid for with private money, spoiled or not. Ridiculous that so many are offended or stereotyping because of a convenient, tech based service…..not a Tommie just amused.

  32. Sarah, UST has a reputation for being a rich kid college with a bunch of spoiled brats attending it.  This just perpetuates the stereotype.

  33. The students who are too busy or too stressed to do laundry are probably the sames ones who can’t manage to get their homework or studying done because they can’t manage their time. Grow up kids…college is not a 4-year vacation. It’s a time to mature, learn to be self sufficient, and most of all learn that not everything is catered to you in life. You need to work hard and take responsibility for yourself. God help humanity if young adults these days can’t even manage to do a load of laundry.

  34. This just in: UST announces a dual partnership with Bedtime Story Inc. and Warm Glass of Milk Co. I feel a certain amount of pity for someone who can’t even wash their own britches.

  35. Question for the Laundry Doctor President; if you have others taking care of your laundry, shouldn’t you have enough time to review and edit your spelling and grammar? “Mearly” isn’t a word, among your other mistakes…you remind me of a guy named Donald Trump

  36. This does seem a bit enabling… But I think we need to remember that the workload at university nowadays is enormous, especially in STEM fields. Students should definitely be learning how to take care of themselves, but I don’t think it’s fair to call them lazy when a good section probably genuinely need some way to lessen their workload. Sure, there’s probably a bunch of students using this service when they don’t really need it, but I guarantee you that tons of engineering students are using Doctor Laundry. Alumni have to remember that university has changed and students are overworked and stressed; your university in the 80’s was probably well-rounded with a healthy balance between personal responsibility and school work, nowadays students are pushed beyond their limits academically and as a consequence their real-life skills are suffering. Instead of attacking students for being ‘lazy’, we should be looking at WHY students today are lacking in real-world skills *ahem* unprecedented workloads *ahem*

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