Shared Laundry Etiquette

Scenario: You’ve just moved to a new building. Hurrah, you have in-house laundry! Less hurrah, you have to share it with strangers.

Solution: Our guidelines for sharing this most sacred of clean spaces:

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1. Never, ever dry someone else’s clothing

You find someone else’s laundry in the washer, finished, and decide it would be neighborly to dry their clothes for them, since you have to move them anyway in order to do your own washing. WRONG! Not all items can be safely machine-dried, and even ones that can are sometimes better off line drying (preserving underwear elastic, anyone?). I’ve witnessed firsthand the kind of meltdowns that can happen when one apartment dweller permanently changes the size of hundreds of dollars worth of clothing—someone else’s clothing.

2. Don’t wait hours to switch your load

It’s always a dilemma, not to mention an irritating one: what to do when someone’s laundry is sitting wet in the washer for hours. Move it? Don’t move it, and instead waste more of your weekend? Spare your neighbors this particular choice, and dry stuff in a timely manner.

3.  Move people’s laundry…or don’t

So, what if your neighbors aren’t following guideline #2? There’s some debate over the polite course of action. We suggest checking back after half an hour; if the wet laundry is still there, it’s reasonable to move it (preferably to a basket, but in a pinch to the top of a dryer) and start your own.

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4.  Don’t take up all the machines

Well, maybe if it’s midday during the week, and there’s really no one around. But otherwise, you might be depriving neighbors of their only window to wash.

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5.  Don’t use other people’s detergent

Yeah, actually…I’ve totally broken this one. But I shouldn’t have, and neither should you.

6.  Clean the lint catcher!

If your dryer’s lint catcher is full of lint, it won’t dry things properly. And then you’ll need to do a second round of drying, and back up the whole process. Always swipe that lint out before you start drying.

7.  Leave it clean

This may seem like commonsense, but plenty of people overlook the lint they’ve discarded on the floor, the odd sock they’ve let fall from their arms, the wrappers they removed from pockets but didn’t manage to throw away. Don’t be a slob—or at least, keep your slobbiness to your own apartment.

What are your laundry room pet peeves? Tell us here or on Facebook!

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