Introduction: How to Fold a Shirt (the Liberty Laundry Way)
This guide was written to be used as a training tool for new Laundry Attendants at Liberty Laundry: Oklahoma's Premier Laundromats. However, the more we thought about it, we decided that it would be fun to share this "insider scoop" on how we fold laundry. Now you can fold your laundry like a professional, too!
Our guides only cover what we call "standard items"; that is, items that do not vary much from one customer to the next and can be folded the same way every time. There are many ways to fold laundry. As a commercial business we have specific needs for uniformity, speed, packaging, and presentation and these guides show how to achieve that for standard-type items.
If you are a fellow laundromat owner or are in the laundry business in some way, please feel free to use this guide to train your staff. We only ask that you send us a message to let us know if it helped you!
The following is Part 1 of the 5 sections of our official guide:
Standard Items: Although clothing varies from person to person and manufacturer to manufacturer, there is not much variation in shape or folding technique for the following items listed. All attendants should strive to fold these items in an identical fashion for every order. Unusually shaped items (and extra large or extra small items) obviously do not fall into this category and should be folded to the best of your ability in such a way as to avoid wrinkling when packaged.
Folding Guide Part 1: Shirts
1. Introducing: The Flip Fold
a. Short sleeve
ii. Collared shirts
b. Long Sleeve
ii. Dress shirts
Step 1: Introducing: the FlipFold
The shirt section of our folding guide will sound pretty much like one long advertisement for The FlipFold folding board. That is for one reason: IT WORKS. Also, they can be purchased from Cleaner's Supply, which is convenient if you are a laundromat and are already purchasing other supplies from there. Although very good results can be achieved with a simple folding board (see the third image in this step) or by careful folding by hand, when it comes to absolute reproducibility and efficiency, the FlipFold is our solution of choice. Using the FlipFold, one attendant can start folding an order and another can finish it without any noticeable difference between the two. A shirt folded with the FlipFold one day will look identical to one folded another day with very little variation. This is especially important for repeat customers who probably have a specific place in a specific drawer their shirts go into when they get home with their laundry.
Step 2: Lay Everything Flat First!
After you have pulled the clothes from the dryer, it is important that you first lay all of the shirts flat in addition to any other items that might wrinkle. This way you do not have to worry about items wrinkling while you are working on folding or if you are called away from your task for a few minutes. Leave all of the socks and underwear for last after everything else if folded. They don't wrinkle very much! Plus it is much easier to find matching pairs of socks once everything else is out of the way.
*Note that some of the shirts shown in this guide are pretty wrinkly and should probably have been smoothed out some more, but these were not part of a freshly laundered order and were instead quickly pulled from my closet for this demonstration.
Step 3: Short Sleeve Shirts
Lay the shirt face down on top of the folding board.
Fold the bottom of the shirt up and even with the bottom edge of the folding board.
Quickly flip one side of the folding board over, then the other side. You need to flip it fairly quickly to keep the shirt flat on the folding board and prevent it from slipping and wrinkling.
If the second sleeve sticks out a bit, you will need to fold it back over and smooth it out (see images 4 and 5).
Quickly flip the bottom section of the folding board up to complete the fold (image 6).
Add the folded shirt to your stack and move on to the next one!
Step 4: Collared Shirts
Start by folding the collar down and fastening the buttons (images 1 and 2).
Lay the shirt face down and centered on the folding board with the top of the shirt aligned with the top of the board.
Fold the bottom of the shirt up and even with the bottom edge of the folding board (image 3).
Quickly flip one side over, followed by the other side. Fold over the sleeve if it extends past the edge of the shirt (image 4 and 5).
Flip the bottom section of the board up, add the shirt to your stack, and move on!
Step 5: Long Sleeve Shirts
Long sleeve shirts have an extra step concerning, you guessed it, the sleeves.
As always, start by laying the shirt face down, centered with the board and aligned with the top edge.
Quickly flip one side of the board over, but before flipping the other side over you will need to fold the first sleeve down and alongside the edge of the shirt so that the top of the sleeve forms a diagonal line as shown in image 4.
You may then flip the other side of the board over (image 5) and then fold the second sleeve over like the first one (image 6).
Flip the bottom section of the board up quickly, turn the shirt over, and then move on to the next shirt.
Step 6: Dress Shirts
Start by folding over the collar if it needs it and button the very top button.
Proceed by fastening every other button until you reach the bottom (images 2 and 3). It is not necessary to fasten every button.
Lay the shirt face down, centered, and aligned with the top of the folding board.
Fold the bottom edge of the shirt up and even with the bottom of the folding board (image 4).
As in the previous example, flip one side over and then fold the sleeve down and even with the side of the shirt so that the top of the sleeve forms a diagonal line. If the sleeve is long enough that it extends past the bottom edge of the folding board, fold it up even with the bottom edge (image 5).
Flip the other side of the shirt over quickly and again fold over the sleeve and fold the end of the sleeve up if it extends beyond the bottom edge of the folding board (image 6).
Flip the bottom section of the board up (image 7).
If it helps with the presentation, go ahead and fasten the second button (image 8). It's not required, but sometimes it just looks better. It depends on the shirt.
Step 7: Sweatshirts and Hoodies
Sweatshirts and hoodies present a challenge as they tend to be too thick to be folded with the FlipFold and thus should mostly be folded by hand. For ones that are fairly thin, however, please use the following procedure:
If there are any buttons or zippers begin by fastening or zipping them all the way up (image 2).
Lay the sweatshirt or hoodie face down, centered, and top-aligned on the folding board. Note that if there is a hood, align the article of clothing to the top of the board where the collar would be if there was one. Leave the hood extending past the top of the folding board (image 3).
Fold the bottom edge of the sweatshirt or hoodie up even with the bottom edge of the folding board. However, if there is an elastic band that prevents folding right at the edge it is acceptable to fold the shirt up a little bit higher (image 3).
Flip over the two sides and fold the sleeves over as shown in previous examples (image 4).
Due to the thicker material, you may have to fold the bottom of the shirt up to the top by hand instead of using the bottom portion of the FlipFold (image 5).
If there is a hood, lay the hood over the top as seen in image 6.
Step 8: Admire Your Handiwork
Take a moment to pat yourself on the back for a job well done, stack your shirts nice and neat, and then move on to the next part of the order.
Looking for a laundromat or for someone to do your laundry for you? Visit www.libertylaundryok.com to find a location near you today!
Stay tuned for our next exciting installment in The Liberty Laundry Folding Guide, Part 2: Pants!