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College Laundry Room Etiquette: 3 Simple Rules to Follow


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Doing your laundry is one of those great, sometimes irritating tasks that everyone seems to learn for the first time in college. If you’re used to having your own laundry machines at home, it can feel weird to do your laundry with a room full of other people’s clothes. Sometimes, you have to figure out what to do when the many people in your dorm don’t know the proper…etiquette of sharing a laundry room.

We’ve already told you guys our secrets for laundry success, but today we’ll share the three most important rules of shared laundry room etiquette. Commit these to memory and your lovely neighbors will thank you!

3 Rules for a Happy College Laundry Room:

1. Time your washes and promptly remove your clothes from the machines.

Nothing is more annoying than seeing what could be an empty machine filled with old, wet, molding clothes that have been sitting there for hours.

To keep your dorm-mates happy and avoid returning to find your clothes on the floor, or worse, missing (this has happened to people we know), always time your washes and remove your clothes from the machines on time! Yes, I know Netflix is calling with all four seasons of Vampire Diaries, but with timers available on every smartphone (and timer apps for computers in abundance), you have no excuse to leave your precious wardrobe behind.

If you absolutely can’t be there to pick up your clothes when they’re done, plan to do your laundry at a different, more convenient time! The great thing about laundry rooms in most residence halls is that they’re 24-hour. So pick a time when you’ll be there to see your clothes through to the end – get up early if you have to. Your dorm-mates, and wardrobe, will thank you.

2. Keep the cleaning room clean.

I once walked into my laundry room and stepped in a giant puddle of detergent because someone had spilled it and didn’t clean up. Let’s just say, my sock monkey slippers weren’t happy, and neither was I.

To show courtesy for your neighbors and thank your school for generously providing the washers and dryers, try to keep the room and equipment clean. Old dryer sheets, empty detergent bottles, and especially lint from the dryers, should all be thrown away. Once that lint builds up in the machines, it can be a fire hazard, and you wouldn’t want to be responsible for burning down your dorm building. That wouldn’t make your neighbors happy either.

3. Don’t use the laundry room as a “hang out” spot.

It seems logical that while you and your friends wait for your laundry to finish, you should all just set up post in the laundry room – can’t forget your clothes that way, right? But while this is a good idea in theory, there is a problem: laundry rooms are generally quite small – so this can be really inconvenient for your neighbors.

If you’ve never done it, take it from me: It’s extremely difficult to move a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer when there’s a small army of people in the way. It’s like a very tragic game of sardines, in which you aren’t winning.

Instead of convening in the laundry room, move your encampment to the common area of your dorm. If  you all hang out there, not only do you have a chance to help the unfortunate soul carrying five baskets of laundry to their room, but you also open yourself up to meeting and making friends with your neighbors. Two birds with one stone!

Your Thoughts?

I know these rules may not be common sense for everyone, but if you commit them to memory, your dorm-mates will thank you for your good manners… and you just might score some good laundry karma. (Who knows, maybe you’ll bump into a cute neighbor asking for a dryer sheet!)

Now we want to hear from you. Do you practice good laundry room etiquette? Do you have any laundry pet peeves? What are your laundry room rules? Comment below!

Posted on on January 20, 2013 / Filed Under: College Life / Tags: , , ,

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9 Responses to “College Laundry Room Etiquette: 3 Simple Rules to Follow”

  1. 1
    January 20th, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Here, the laundry rooms are connected to a lounge with armchairs and large TV. We also have wifi, a mini kitchen, and restrooms. There are stools and a TV in the laundry room as well. It’s like they want us to hang around to pick up our laundry on time.

  2. 2
    January 20th, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    The Hostel I was living in ..had employed a guy to do laundry for us, we just had to pick an empty machine put our clothes and tell our choice of detergent and pay for it .. and then return back … if we were late, he would empty our clothes into our buckets… of course we could never wash our delicate stuff …

  3. 3
    January 20th, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Sometimes random things come up while you’re doing laundry, though. A meeting gets moved up, a friend desperately needs help, etc etc. If there is wet laundry in the machine, don’t assume that the person who left it is being a jerk.

    1. Politely move the laundry into an open dryer and DO NOT START IT.
    2. If there are no open dryers, put it in a clean place where it won’t fall off or get separated. (neatly on top of a washer or folding table)
    3. If there are no other spaces available, you unfortunately have to wait.

    Why it works:
    1. Some clothes are not meant to be dried. If you start the dryer, you could be ruining another person’s clothes.
    2. There is no difference between wet laundry in a finished washing machine and wet laundry in an unstarted dryer or on a clean surface.

    On another note, the person who has been waiting the longest to put their clothes in a washer/dryer has first dibs. However, if that person leaves the laundry room all dibs are off.

  4. 4
    January 20th, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Some people are just rude in general. A couple of my roomies put their laundry in the dryers, and when they went to go get it, they were on the floors….still wet, with someone else’s clothes in the dryers.

  5. 5
    January 21st, 2013 at 12:18 am

    I always use the site If your school is listed, you can check for open washers, when your load is done, and how many washers/dryers are in use! I do laundry at school only rarely, but it’s a useful tool for when I do.

  6. 6
    January 21st, 2013 at 9:24 am

    … ‘a very tragic game of sardines’ is now my favourite phrase ever.
    Secondly, ohmigod yes to the first one, remove your clothes quickly. I’ve never had any stolen, but my mother did once phone me just after I’d put my delicates in and despite making various polite noises and ‘I love you but have stuff to do’s , I couldn’t get off the phone for about two hours. Came back to find this sweet gay guy had gotten desperate and transferred all my stuff over to a dryer.
    Okay, okay. So he was gay. Nevertheless, my mental reaction was along the lines of: ‘that’s very sweet, and thank you. However, I am now never going to be able to look you in the eye again.’
    Inhibited, me? Don’t see what would give you that idea…

  7. 7
    January 21st, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    isn’t that just common sense?

  8. 8
    January 23rd, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Oh my god. No one in my building knows how to clean a friggin lint filter, apparently. I always find them completely clogged. This whole place is gonna burn down, I swear.

  9. 9
    November 12th, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    My biggest frustration is I keep time and i proptly go down to get them with in 5 minutes of the washing being done, always to find someone taking them out for me, we have a lot of people in the apartments, but if you’re waiting for an open washer/dryer and one finishes before that. Give a person 5 to 10 minutes before fondling their clothes.

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