In my experience, laundry service at “formal” hotels in Turkey (luxury, five-star, four-star and even some three-star) can cost as much—or more!—as you paid for the garments (underwear, etc).
In less formal hotels (inns, small hotels, pensions, hostels), the service is usually much better and far cheaper. Sometimes you just hand your laundry to the housekeepers and it comes back cleaned and pressed, often the same day, for a reasonable fee.
Some pensions, inns and hostels have washing machines that guests can use, either for free or for a small fee.
Other strategies: travel with clothing (especially underwear) that’s worn out and can be discarded as you go; or buy new underwear along the way. (Turkey produces huge amounts of cotton, which is turned into cotton garments, which are plentiful and cheap in Turkey.)
I often wash my own clothes because I move fast and there may not be time to have them washed for me.
For this, bring a drain plug! Very important!
Because of Islamic tradition, sinks in Turkey rarely have closures (the Kur’an advises that washing should be done in running water), and the plastic drain plugs that you may find occasionally in hotels—when you find them, which is seldom—don’t work well. (See my Turkish Hotel Room User’s Guide for more.)
Before leaving home, buy a rubber or pliable plastic drain plug:
…and/or a flat rubber disc drain cover, like the one in the photo in the lower right-hand column of this page—>.
Turkish sink drain holes tend to be 1.5 inches/37 mm in diameter, so get a plug that’ll fit that size hole.
Bring laundry detergent (I prefer liquid, high-efficiency), or buy powdered detergent at any corner shop in Turkey: çamasır deterjanı (chah-mah-SHUHR dey-tehr-zha-nuh), or just deterjan.
Dry cleaning is kuru temizleme (koo-ROO teh-MEEZ-leh-MEH). Shops are scattered around most cities. Ask at your hotel for one nearby. Same-day service is available at many shops (for an extra charge) if you deliver your garments first thing in the morning.
—by Tom Brosnahan