It’s probably no surprise that Americans generally don’t like doing laundry very much. According to the Houston Chronicle, the average U.S. household slogs 7.4 loads (50 pounds) of laundry to the washing machine every week. A single load of laundry sucks just under 90 minutes from your day, according to home site The Spruce. And when Better Homes & Gardens asked its readers to list the household chores they hate the most, laundry came in at No. 5—only tasks like cleaning the toilet and doing dishes surpassed it.
This level of dread may not have been the sole motivator for Procter & Gamble to have undertaken its latest venture, but the news is bound to be welcome nevertheless: P&G’s Tide brand just announced that it’s getting into the laundry business. Between now and 2020, Tide plans to open “full-service, on-demand laundry solutions” in 2,000 locations across America. The concept will be known as Tide Cleaners.
According to Sundar Raman, vp of North American Fabric Care for P&G, the cleaners will address those endless hours that consumers feel they lose on the 100 million tons of clothing they wash yearly. So customers won’t just get washed-and-folded shirts back, but something more essential: time.
“Many people believe that in order to get laundry done right, they have to do it themselves. Tide is taking this challenge head-on and aiming to give people clean, cared-for clothes and some time back,” Raman said in a statement released by the company.
“Our move into out-of-home laundry and dry cleaning through Tide Cleaners is a natural extension of the brand,” said P&G senior communications manager Elizabeth Kinney, who added that one of the initiative’s aims is “helping people’s lives revolve less around their laundry.”
And what’s a “laundry solution,” exactly? Tide Cleaners will take the form of not only brick-and-mortar stores—specifically, drop-off locations—but also a range of other convenience-driven outlets like drop boxes in apartment buildings and retail stores, and even van delivery on college campuses. The services offered will include dry cleaning in addition to wash and fold.
While Tide’s announcement of its ambitious expansion plans is new, its involvement in the service end of laundry isn’t. Some 10 years ago, Tide began making acquisitions in both the dry-cleaning and wash-and-fold segments, and already serves a customer base of 26 million. Tide operates over 125 locations presently (most of them family-run franchises) and does business in 22 states. The launch of Tide Cleaners will be what the company calls a “holistic service for consumers across the United States.”
Tide is well positioned to integrate vertically, not just because it’s building on expansion efforts that began a decade ago, but also because Tide, already a household name, is the 800-pound gorilla of the detergent business. P&G’s 2018 net sales rose 3 percent over the year prior to $66.8 billion, with its fabric and home-care division accounting for nearly $5.4 billion in sales. Tide has a lock on nearly a fifth of liquid laundry detergent sales in the U.S. According to the company, over 40 million American households used Tide detergent as of 2015.