Patric Richardson says he will have his tissues ready when watching a few scenes from his new television show, The Laundry Guy, premiering on the streaming service Discovery+ on March 31.
Minnesotans may know Richardson as the owner of the Mona Williams clothing store at Mall of America. There, he has become known as the “Laundry Evangelist” for his incredible ability to care for and revive garments. He even hosts “laundry camps” to teach people how to fall in love with this chore—and, yes, the camps do sell out.
Now, he has his own show. The first season of The Laundry Guy is six episodes long, divided into two parts, where Richardson helps two different people recover an item they thought was a lost cause. “I can go in with a little bit of soap and a brush and bring it back,” Richardson says. All in all, he says he helped 12 people throughout the safely distanced filming process that took place around the country last summer.
However, the premise of the show is not to provide laundry tips from the laundry guy in a laundry room. Instead, it encapsulates Richardson’s craft and his ability to bring back objects that, for his show’s subjects, are rich with memories. “When you bring it back, you bring back the object, which is, you know, major. You bring back all of that emotion and that passion.”
So, what are the objects? He doesn’t refer to them as “heirlooms,” because some items aren’t considered antiques—they’re simply handed down from parents, or originated in childhood. But while they aren’t “ancient,” you should still expect to see some history, whether it’s in a decades-old denim suit or a 1930s-era coat and hat.
Richardson wants viewers to understand that laundry is love—which is the theme of his book, Laundry Love: Finding Joy in a Common Chore. He compares doing laundry for someone to cooking or buying flowers. “[Doing laundry] meant a lot more to me was when I started showing other people how to do it,” he says, “and I started showing them how it can be kind of transformational.”
After one of his camps three years ago, an attendee approached him with the proposition of turning his profession into a television show.
A few months after that, he was approached about writing a book that was scheduled for publication this past September but got delayed. Now, Laundry Love is coming out March 30 through Flatiron Books. “This is as divine as divine intervention gets,” he says. “You have a show and a book coming out a day apart.”
Laundry Love teaches readers how to be eco-friendly while effectively tackling stains, and it also implores them to look at the chore in a different light. Throughout the book, he intersperses laundry stories from his own life, plus tales from his Appalachian childhood and fashion career.
Back in college, Richardson studied textiles and spent time in the University of Kentucky’s laundry lab, though he never imagined this is what his future would look like. His love of clothing and style started at a young age, when he learned about the love in laundry from his mother and grandmother. He says that when he looked good, he felt good. So, his mother made sure he always had good, clean clothes.
“You don’t have to do laundry; you get to do laundry,” he says. “Laundry is a privilege. We should be so thankful and grateful that we get to do it.”