She even managed to shoot the suspect with his own gun.
Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood payed tribute Thursday to the woman, Naou Mor Khantha.
Mor Khantha is a Laotian-born mother of three. She was working her overnight shift at the laundromat when the incident occurred.
Surveillance video shows a man armed with a 9 millimeter handgun enter the laundromat.
Police say he was attempting to rob and rape the woman after trapping her in the restroom.
A wrestling match ensued between the two.
"I was scared. I was in fear of my life. I had to do what I had to do. I arm-wrestled him to save my life," Mor Khantha said.
She wrestled with him for 10 minutes and then the gun was fired.
In the video, Mor Khantha is shown fleeing with gun in hand; the suspect emerges moments later with a shattered left arm.
She fled to the 7-Eleven across the street to call police.
The suspect collapsed on the sidewalk outside the laundromat, but was able to scramble back to his feet.
He was arrested several blocks away.
He is identified as 23-year-old Daquan Brooks from Wilmington, Delaware. He remains hospitalized in serious condition. He will be charged with aggravated assault and robbery among other charges.
"She fought for her life. She won. She's a lucky young lady," Chitwood said.
Mor Khantha tells Action News she had previously been held at gunpoint by a 14-year-old suspect.
She now says she's looking for a new line of work.