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?