%% Image selected per Image Pickin' thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1451640240035887600
%% Please do not change or remove without starting a new thread.
[[caption-width-right:350:Two Wongs will make it white.]]

->"''No tickee, no shirtee!''"
-->-- Stereotypical phrase, first recorded use in 1886

Prior to the invention and mass production of modern laundry machines, doing laundry was a lengthy, hot, dirty and tiring chore. Naturally, many people turned to professional launderers to get the job done. In TheWildWest, many of these launderers were Chinese in origin. Since they were barred by law or custom from most other occupations, and they were willing to do hard work for low pay, this was seen as a good opportunity by the immigrants. Indeed, at one point, Chinese immigrants operated 89% of the laundries in San Francisco, and had a strong presence in other cities and towns.

Perhaps the most famous real life Chinese launderer is Yick Wo, of the U.S. Supreme Court case [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yick_Wo_v._Hopkins Yick Wo vs. Hopkins]], which held that a law that on its face was racially neutral, but was applied in a racially discriminatory fashion violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which the court maintained applied to resident aliens as well as full citizens. It's an important precedent.

By the 1930s, [[BigApplesauce New York City]] had around 3550 Chinese-run laundries, proudly displaying "Hand Laundry" signs to show their commitment to [[GoodOldWays traditional methods]]. Unfortunately, in an effort to drive the [[YellowPeril "dangerous foreigners"]] out of the city, laws were passed in 1933 to among other things restrict ownership of laundries to American citizens. (The laws of the time prevented Chinese immigrants from becoming naturalized citizens.) After negotiations by the traditional Chinese social organizations failed, the openly leftist Chinese Hand Laundry Association was formed to fight this discrimination. They did a very good job of it, and of supporting [[UsefulNotes/SecondSinoJapaneseWar the Guomindang's defense]] [[UsefulNotes/NoMoreEmperors of China]] against UsefulNotes/ImperialJapan with invaluable medical personnel and aid to reduce the appallingly high number of troop-deaths from wounds and disease. Unfortunately, despite ongoing support for the Guomindang, once [[RedChina the Communists]] [[UsefulNotes/ChineseWithChopperSupport destroyed the Guomindang]] in the Chinese Civil War in 1950 the RedScare somewhat inexplicably saw the CHLA denounced as a "Communist" organisation and its membership sharply declined.

This trope also exists in the UsefulNotes/UnitedKingdom, and is often associated with the London district of Limehouse, which was home to many Chinese immigrants in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century (there is little sign of this today, with London's Chinatown having moved elsewhere).

Subsequent technological and social developments have pretty much killed off the Chinese launderer as a current stereotype. If they appear in any form nowadays they're likely to either be laundromat owners or dry cleaners.

In most fiction, the Chinese launderer is a FunnyForeigner, spouting [[AsianSpeekeeEngrish pidgin English]] and clashing with customers over the amount of starch in shirts. They sometimes have bit parts in mysteries set in the appropriate time period, due to the use of laundry marks to identify where a piece of clothing has been.

Subtrope of EthnicMenialLabor.


[[folder: Advertising ]]
* In a series of 1970s commercials for Calgon, a Caucasian customer would ask laundry owner Mr. Lee how he got shirts so ''white,'' to which he would respond "Ancient Chinese secret." At the end of the ad, Mr. Lee's wife would invariably blow his cover:
--> MRS. LEE: ''(shouting)'' "We need more Calgon!"
--> CUSTOMER: "Ancient Chinese secret, huh?"

[[folder: Comic Books ]]
* In ''ComicBook/LuckyLuke'', Chinese people are either launderers or restaurant owners, but the launderers are really ubiquitous. They are the focus of the story once or twice but are mainly peaceful background characters who only want to mind their own business, although they are somewhat obsessed with the cleanliness of people's clothes (just as undertakers are obsessed with people's measurements).
** One short story features a Chinese man moving to Shanghai Gulch - a town where only Chinese people live - only to find out that he can't work as a launderer as he'd like to, since the town already consists of nothing but 182 launderers and 182 restaurant workers. The town is on the brink of economic collapse since the money just goes back and forth between the two groups, until the main character comes up with a solution.
** The most important example is Ming Lee Foo, a minor supporting character and a friend of Lucky Luke.

[[folder: Commercials ]]
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjNRXfRXnoc A famous Calgon water softener commercial]] from the 1970s references this, at least insofar as the laundry owners are of Chinese descent.
** Deliciously spoofed on an episode of ''Series/MadTV'', with Creator/JackieChan as the laundry owner. When the customer learns the "ancient Chinese secret", Jackie leaps over the counter, beats the stuffing out of him, and says "You tell anyone, you're a dead man!"
* One of the infamous Asian stereotype t-shirts made by Ambecrombie and Fitch has two stereotypical Chinese cartoons with the slogan "Two Wongs will Make it White"
** A reference to a racist political slogan of the yesteryear, which was used in barring Asian immigration to the US and Canada: "Two Wongs don't make White".
* [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DW3TQpz64rA This commercial for Jawbone headsets]] involves a character citing the stereotype of a Chinese Laundry at length [[spoiler:and getting curb stomped in revenge]].
* A Brazilian ad for washing powder had a ''Japanese'' launderer [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbVoTsHHQcw advertising his own place]] (the phone he lifts is that of the manufacturer).

[[folder: Film ]]
* Sid Caesar and Edie Adams accidentally broke through a hardware store wall into a Chinese laundry in ''Film/ItsAMadMadMadMadWorld''.
* A Chinese launderer in ''Film/BrokenTrail'' becomes the interpreter between the two cowboy heroes and the five Chinese girls they have rescued from indentured prostitution.
* Referenced by Film/JackNicholson in his most racist scene in ''Film/TheDeparted''.
* A StealthPun in ''Film/TheDarkKnight'': Lau, member of the Chinese mob, works for Gotham criminals as a money launderer.
* Subverted in the 1943 ''Film/TheBatman'' serial. Due to it being set in World War II, the main villain was a Japanese spy. Thus, one of the clues found is a handkerchief with a ''Japanese'' laundry mark. Robin quips that he's never heard of a Japanese laundry mark.
* Yen Sun, the girl Doc falls in love with in ''Film/YoungGuns'' is the daughter of a Chinese launderer.
* ''Film/TheSevenYearItch'': Richard Sherman's dress shirt was torn once when he sent it to a Chinese laundry service.
* At one point in ''Film/ThoroughlyModernMillie'', [[spoiler:Mrs. Meers]] disguises herself as a Chinese laundress.
* ''Film/TheWarriorsWay'': Yang takes over the laundry when he arrives in Lode, mainly because that's what everyone assumes he'll be good at. He actually has to learn how to do it from Lynne, the white woman who had befriended the ''previous'' Chinese launderer.
* In the Creator/HaroldLloyd film ''Film/{{Speedy}}'', during a big brawl between a bunch of thugs hired to rough up Lloyd's character and the locals who come to his defense, an elderly Chinese man comes out of his laundry store and casually burns the ass of every thug in his vicinity with his clothing iron.
* Subversion in the western comedy ''Film/TheGreatBankRobbery'', where the town's example of this trope (played by Creator/{{Mako}}) turns out to be an undercover Secret Service agent.
* In ''Film/MissMend'', Vivian Mend gets a job working at a Chinese laundry after a lockout at the factory leaves her out of work.

[[folder: Literature ]]
* Patrick Bateman, the titular ''Literature/AmericanPsycho,'' takes his blood-stained clothes to a local Chinese dry-cleaner.
* The title character of the story "The Deed of the Deft-Footed Dragon" by Creator/AvramDavidson.
* Francie Nolan takes her father's shirts to a Chinese laundryman in ''Literature/ATreeGrowsInBrooklyn''.
* In ''Literature/TheLaundryFiles'', The Laundry takes its name from the fact that it was run out of the apartments above a Chinese laundry during World War II.
* One ''The Dana Girls'' novel involved a Chinese launderer.
* The business directory in ''The Compleat [[Literature/{{Discworld}} Ankh-Morpork]] City Guide'' includes the [[FantasyCounterpartCulture Agatean]] Soft Soap and Laundry Company.
* In non-fiction travel memoir ''Literature/AroundTheWorldInSeventyTwoDays'', Nellie Bly praises "what Orientals can do in the washing line," and notes that six hours is enough for one to get a load of laundry back.
* In the Colleen [=McCullough=] novel ''The Touch'', upon emigrating to Australia from Scotland and being given a tour of her wealthy new husband's home, Elizabeth Kinross is embarrassed at the idea that men will be trending to her laundry--there was a substantial Chinese immigrant population in Australia at the time of the book's setting--but agrees after she's assured that the practice is very common.

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* Rare modern example: Used in an episode of ''Series/{{Monk}}'', where the Chinese woman who owns the laundromat is able to confirm a vital piece of evidence. Oh, and Monk, [[DefectiveDetective being Monk]], complains about the way she sews on buttons.
* On one episode of ''Series/ThePractice'', Eugene Young argues with his Chinese dry cleaner over a shirt that he thinks has been shrunken. As the exchange heats up, he starts mimicking the man's Pidgin English. As Eugene is black and [[ScaryBlackMan frequently seen as scary]], there's an unsettling "shoe on the other foot" sensation around his perceived racism.
* There was an episode of ''Series/TheLoneRanger'' where a Chinese launderer not only had to deal with prejudice from the locals, but some bandits kidnapped his wife.
* The pilot episode of ''Series/TheATeam'' had a scene in which Hannibal disguises himself as a "Mr. Lee" and meets with a prospective client at a laundry. Clients in later episodes [[ContinuityNod would mention also having met]] Mr. Lee.
** Amusingly subverted in that while Hannibal plays Mr. Lee as a stereotypical Chinese launderer, the episode reveals that the real Mr. Lee is not in fact Chinese.
* ''Series/RedDwarf'': Curiously, despite being a corporation-owned mining vessel, the ''Dwarf'' still has a Chinese laundry.
* ''Series/GetSmart'' seems to have a weird obsession with {{Chinese Launderer}}s and fits them in wherever possible, even if it is just in the background.
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS14E6TheTalonsOfWengChiang The Talons of Weng-Chiang]]" features a Chinese Laundry, justified by being set in VictorianLondon.
* Farnum from ''{{Series/Deadwood}}'' tries to disguise delivery of a corpse in a wheelbarrow full of laundry to chinese pig-farmer Wu.
* The entrance to Series/SpecialUnit2 underground headquarters is located in a dry cleaners run by an Asian man. Then a punk with a revolver runs in demanding all the money in the cash register. Every employee (including the Asian guy) then reveal themselves to be undercover cops by pointing their {{Hand Cannon}}s at him.
* An episode of 1920s-set detective series ''Series/TheMindOfMrJGReeder'' features a white slavery ring that has its base of operations in a Chinese laundry (though it's actually run by an English aristocrat, who's counting on the authorities, if they trace him that far, to assume that obviously it was the shifty-looking foreigners who dun it).
* In ''Series/{{Elementary}}'', Holmes sends Watson to pick up his clothes from a Chinese dry cleaner. [[spoiler:He wants to see how long it will take her to figure out that it's actually a front for a drug operation]].

[[folder: Music ]]
* 1930s-40s British ukelele whiz Music/GeorgeFormby had an entire series of songs about a Mr. Wu, who started his career in a laundry ("Chinese Laundry Blues") but later moved on (thanks to UsefulNotes/WorldWarII) to being an air raid warden, and then being in the military.
* Touched on in Matthew Wilder's "Break My Stride":
-->I sailed away to China
-->In a little row boat to find ya
-->And you said you had to get your laundry clean

[[folder: New Media ]]
* Parodied by ''Website/TheOnion'' with [[http://www.theonion.com/articles/chinese-laundry-owner-blasted-for-reinforcing-nega,1563/ "Chinese Laundry Owner Blasted For Reinforcing Negative Ethnic Stereotypes"]], about a second-generation laundry owner with somewhat fractured English who is [[StopBeingStereotypical constantly hounded and persecuted by his community]], despite his attempts to make peace.

[[folder: Newspaper Comics ]]
* Mock Duck from ''ComicStrip/KrazyKat''. (He also does a sideline in fortune-telling.)

[[folder: Radio ]]
* In ''Radio/TheGoonShow'' episode "The [=McReekie=] Rising of '74", Seagoon poses as a Chinese laundryman in order to infiltrate the Scottish camp and steal their kilts.

[[folder: Stand Up Comedy ]]
* John Pinette jokes about the reaction of stereotypical Chinese buffet owners to his large appetite. He recounts one owner claiming their business has changed to a laundry to try and get rid of him.
-->"No buffet here! We dry clean now. I take jacket, be ready on Tuesday. Now go!

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]
* The ''TabletopGame/{{Deadlands}}'' CCG ''Doomtown'' includes "Fu Leng's Laundry and Tailoring" (the name is a ShoutOut to ''TabletopGame/LegendOfTheFiveRings'').

[[folder: Theater ]]

* The 1993 [[TheMusical musical]] ''The Last Hand Laundry In Chinatown'' was in part "an homage to the struggles of the pioneering NYC Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance."
* The 1876 play ''Two Men of Sandy Bar'' by Bret Harte featured a Chinese launderer named Hop Sing, who appears to have been the TropeMaker for the stereotypes associated with the character, including the notorious "No tickee, no shirtee" line.
* This referenced in an inversion in ''Hairspray'': the heroine's mother has a laundry business which is called something like ''Occidental Laundry'' (to set it apart from all of the "Oriental" ones.)
* ''Thoroughly Modern Millie''.
* Widow Twankey from various {{Pantomime}} versions of ''Aladdin''.
* One of the scenes in ''Sheer Luck Holmes'' takes place in a Chinese Laundry, with its own song-and-dance number.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* ''The Dagger of Amon Ra'' features a Chinese laundryman named [[PunnyName Lo Fat]] in the game's first act, from whom you get a few clues and a dress. [=thewatersupply=] hasn't played the game since middle school; it might have been hilariously offensive.
* ''Videogame/EighteenSixtySixAMountAndBladeWestern'' includes Frankie Luong, a Chinese former laundryman, as a possible party member. In keeping with the common stereotypical portrayal of Chinese laundrymen in Western films, he can't end a sentence without an exclamation point.
* Mr. Wong's Laundrette ("If It Ain't Wong, It Ain't White!") of ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII''. The laundromat plays a minor role in the plot, as its transition from the established [[TheMafia Mafia]] protection racket to a [[TheTriadsAndTheTongs Triad]] one sparks a mob war between the two sides.
* An Asian, presumably Chinese, laundry owner appears in one mission of VideoGame/LANoire.
* One mission in ''VideoGame/RetroCityRampage'' has you rob a "Hon's Launder House".
* Spoofed in ''VideoGame/BarkleyShutUpAndJamGaiden'', in which the laundromat in Neo New York is run by an elderly Chinese man.
* A Chinese man with a poor grasp of English does laundry in ''VideoGame/MonkeyIsland2LeChucksRevenge''. In the UpdatedRerelease, he's [[ValuesDissonance replaced by a hard-of-hearing white guy]].

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* The entrance to ISIS in ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}'' is in an Indian laundry that features the same sort of employees and jokes as a Chinese laundry.
* Very borderline: In ''WesternAnimation/ChipNDaleRescueRangers'', Fat Cat goes to a laundromat to see a pair of Siamese cats about a fighting fish.
* Dr. Wang runs his ''WesternAnimation/{{Minoriteam}}'' from a laundromat.
* According to his backstory from Disney's ''Disney/AtlantisTheLostEmpire'', [[MadBomber Vinny]] actually became obsessed with explosives after witnessing the Chinese laundromat next door to his family's flower shop catch fire and explode due to an faulty gas leak.
* Mr. Washy Washy from ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy''.
* One episode of [[WesternAnimation/GeorgeOfTheJungle ''Super Chicken'']] featured one as the villain, who was running a literal money laundering business.
* A Chinese laundry gets attacked by a robotic "monster" in the fourth ''WesternAnimation/AnAmericanTail'' movie.
* In the WesternAnimation/DaffyDuck short "China Jones", Porky Pig's reoccurring character turns out to be the owner of a Chinese laudry, who wants Daffy to settle a "small matter of large bill", and the cartoon ends with Daffy having to WorkOffTheDebt.
* There's a Chinese launderer in ''WesternAnimation/WheelSquad'' but he doesn't show the typical stereotypes that come with the trope. He once taught martial arts on the side.
* Franchise/ScoobyDoo borrows a steam press from a Chinese laundry to create a steam screen against Zin Tuo's minions in "Mystery Mask Mix-Up."

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* The Royal Navy still uses Chinese laundrymen on their vessels.
* For some reason, there's a women's shoe company called Chinese Laundry.
* As stated at the top this has a strong historic basis and is not entirely uncommon to see even today. Further keep in mind that in many cities where renting an apartment is more common than owning a single-family home wash-and-fold service is still prevalent at many dry cleaners as an alternative to doing your own laundry at a laundromat.
** Laundries are also run by Koreans or Vietnamese; Korean-run laundries are particularly common on the U.S. East Coast (e.g. UsefulNotes/WashingtonDC, UsefulNotes/{{Baltimore}}, and UsefulNotes/{{Philadelphia}} as well as New York...to say nothing of northern UsefulNotes/NewJersey, where there are so many Koreans in southern Bergen County that a common insulting nickname for Fort Lee is "Fort Rhee").
** There also appear to be an inexplicable number of "French Laundries"... not just the well-known restaurant.
* A leftover of the era where Chinese-manned Laundries were common is the Venezuelan saying "Más caliente que plancha de chino", "Hotter than a Chinese man's iron". The "caliente" in the saying refers to angry hot-headness instead of physical hotness, through.