Laundry refers to the washing of clothing and other textiles, and, more broadly, their drying and ironing as well. Laundry has been part of history since humans began to wear clothes, so the methods by which different cultures have dealt with this universal human need are of interest to several branches of scholarship. Laundry work has traditionally been highly gendered, with the responsibility in most cultures falling to women (formerly known as laundresses or washerwomen). The Industrial Revolution gradually led to mechanized solutions to laundry work, notably the washing machine and later the tumble dryer. Laundry, like cooking and child care, is still done both at home and by commercial establishments outside the home.
The word "laundry" may refer to the clothing itself, or to the place where the cleaning happens. An individual home may have a laundry room; a utility room includes but is not restricted to the function of washing clothes. An apartment building or student hall of residence may have a shared laundry facility such as a tvättstuga. A stand-alone business is referred to as a self-service laundry (launderette in British English or laundromat in North American English).