Communal Laundry Etiquette

At least we don’t have to wash laundry this way anymore. [Via The Boston Public Library on Flickr]

This is for communal laundry rooms in an apartment or dorm or similar, a commercial laundromat is a completely different thing.

There are only a few rules for communal laundry but they are pretty important.

  • If you come in and the washer or dryer is stopped but full of clothes, it is kind to wait a couple of minutes (if possible) for the person to come back. If they don’t, you are perfectly free to remove the clothes and use the machine. You should do your best to put the clothes in a laundry cart or cleanish table. Never throw them on the floor! Technically, I don’t think you even need to wait to see if someone shows up, but I like to give a little buffer (though, I live only one floor above my laundry room).
  • If you do not want someone touching your things, you need to get there exactly when the wash or dry cycle ends and remove them.
  • Originally I had written that it is fine to use multiple machines, but that you might consider leaving one machine open if it’s a busy time like a Saturday afternoon. However, it has been mathematically demonstrated to me (seriously) that is it more efficient for all possible laundry doers if you do all your laundry at once and don’t cause down time on the machines. However, I do still think it is a bit rude to plan on doing, I don’t know, 8 loads of laundry on a day that you know your particular laundry room is busy.
  • If there is an accessible lint tray in the dryer, empty it when you remove your clothes.
  • Do your best to keep the room relatively neat, cleaning up your detergent spills and pocket detritus.

What annoys you about your shared laundry situation?

10 thoughts on “Communal Laundry Etiquette

  1. It’s an important public service you’re performing! Love this. One addition I have is being mindful of not taking more than your fair share of the space on the folding tables, as well as leaving them clean when you’re done.

  2. Also, if you live in NYC – first come, first serve. I still avoid the lady who screamed at me in the laundry room after I had “RUINED HER WHOLE MORNING” since I had 2 full loads of laundry and needed to take up 2 out of 4 washers and both dryers. Since I needed both dryers, I decided to do my laundry at 6:30am on a Saturday morning when no one, except crazy lady, was awake. She freaked out and called me selfish until I (hysterically crying) moved my soaking wet load from the dryer back into a washing machine. She hadn’t even started her laundry yet. I hate her. First come, first serve. Be patient. Maybe do your laundry another time if you cant stand someone taking up a laundry machine EXACTLY WHEN YOU NEED IT OMG.

    • Like I said in the post, I’ve seen mathematical proof that it is faster for EVERYONE if you use as many resources as you need all at once and get finished and out of there, especially if there was no one using any machine when you came in.

      • Nope, 6:30am. No one was down there. Went to transfer my stuff from washer to dryer and crazy lady had JUST showed up and demanded that I give her a dryer to use. She hadn’t even put her laundry into the two free washers yet! Also, the worst part is – if she had asked nicely, and politely as in “Hey, I really need to be somewhere very early, and Im having a rough morning – do you think I could use one of the dryers ahead of you?” – I would not be calling her “crazy lady”.

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  4. I always deduct 5 minutes from the actual Dry/wash time when i set a timer that way… I’m always pretty much at the machine when its done.

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