For some living in an apartment community with a communal laundry room, the laundry room etiquette’s ins and outs are either new or uncertain. The most basic rule of the laundry room is to be courteous of others. While many people know exactly how to navigate the communal laundry room, some have yet to be initiated.
Here is a brief list of apartment laundry room etiquette that will keep you from having to deal with hassle or headaches when doing the chore of washing clothes in your apartment building! Planning your next laundry renovations? Hitch Property Constructions has you covered!
What is a shared laundry room?
Shared laundry rooms are standard in having on-site laundry without installing washer/dryer hookups in every unit. Shared laundry rooms will typically consist of an on-site space with multiple washers and dryers that residents share. These machines may be coin- and card-operated or require residents to access the room with a key or fob.
Is It OK To Take Someone’s Laundry Out?
This can be a touchy subject and should be handled with care. First and foremost, bring the concern to the attention of management. They may already have a policy in place for this very situation.
Waiting for another resident to clear their laundry out of a machine will most likely be the most persistent problem you face in a shared laundry room. A good rule of laundry room etiquette is you should never move anyone’s stuff if you can help it. You don’t want to cause any conflict over someone’s personal belongings.
What should you do with other people’s laundry?
However, if you have to use a machine, it’s a good rule of thumb to wait at least 10 to 20 minutes to see if the resident in question is coming back for their laundry. Taking clothes out of a dryer and placing them on top of a machine is much more acceptable than removing someone’s wet clothes and putting them elsewhere. If you don’t have to pay for each machine use, some might say to place someone else’s clothes from the washer into the dryer, but maybe everything in that load isn’t fit to be tumble dried.
If you can tell for sure whose clothes are sitting there and know those neighbours well enough, it is acceptable to knock on their door and let them know you need the machine. In most cases, wait a few minutes to see if the resident is coming back for their laundry.
Shared Laundry Room Etiquette 101
Don’t Hog Machines
The first step to ensure you’re the very best neighbour you can be regarding washer and dryer etiquette is to be mindful about how long you’re using the machines. Set a timer, so you know when your clothes are done, and you can move them to the dryer to free the machine up for the next person.
Before doing laundry, make sure you have enough quarters to wash and dry your load. You run the risk of annoying other tenants if you’re continually asking for quarters because you’re a little short! Grab any spare change out of your cup holders, break a few dollar bills for quarters at your local convenience store, or go to the bank to buy quarters. Make sure that you will have enough change to do laundry for quite some time.
Some management companies no longer utilize quarter machines but instead give the resident the ability to buy electronic keys, which keep a balance of credits used, thereby removing the need to haggle for quarters. In these instances, make sure you keep track of your balance and reload when necessary.
It’s wise to bring your detergent and other items back to your unit after you’ve started washing your clothes. If you leave them in the laundry room, another resident may use them. A good practice is to have a separate bag with your soaps, coins, and any other items you need for laundry so you can grab it on the way out. You don’t want to make it a habit to rely on other residents for detergent or coins. If you use an on-site laundry space, it may be a bit of a walk from your unit to maximize your time and ensure you don’t leave others waiting for a machine; make sure you’re prepared. Be sure all the clothes you wish to wash are ready to go in a hamper, basket, or laundry bag. You should also bring any detergents, softeners, dryer sheets, etc., with you to avoid multiple trips. And don’t forget coins or other payment forms if you have to pay for your laundry service.
Save time and avoid hanging out in the laundry room by sorting before you leave your apartment—also, pre-treat stains in advance to keep from needing to lug an extra product with you. Don’t forget to check your pockets for loose change or anything else that shouldn’t go in the wash.
Decide whether you want to leave your hamper in the laundry room based on the amount of time it takes to do your laundry. If you think you might be late getting your clothes, it is appropriate to leave them next to your machine if someone needs to move your clothes out. Also, on the subject of hampers, don’t use someone else’s hamper! If it is left behind for a week or more, you may consider throwing it out. Check out a wide range of laundry renovations Melbourne services at Hitch Property Constructions.
Using an old or discarded hamper can be dangerous since you never know what may be growing in it or why it was left behind in the first place. However, even if you know who a hamper is for, don’t take advantage of someone else’s hamper without permission. This could cause tension or confrontation with another resident.
Keep the laundry room clean.
One of the biggest cons of sharing an apartment laundry room is the potential for mess. More people can mean more potential for trash and spills. If you’re using a shared laundry space, don’t throw any food items into communal trash cans. Trash cans in the laundry room may not be emptied as frequently, and you’ll increase the chances of attracting pests and bugs. Make sure you change the lint traps in the dryers after every use. It’s up to your maintenance department or landlord to clean the dryer vents, but you as a renter can ensure top performance by emptying the lint traps.
It would help if you also were mindful of your detergent, softener, and bleach usage. Using too much detergent or too much bleach can leave unwanted residues in washing machines and push certain parts to degrade faster.
A communal laundry room is a shared space, so it’s up to every resident to keep it tidy. Wipe up any spilled detergent, clean out the lint trap, and throw away used dryer sheets. Remember that trash receptacles in laundry rooms are for things like dryer lint and sheets, maybe an empty detergent bottle, but not your household garbage. Nobody wants to smell the remnants of last night’s dinner when they go to switch their clothes over.
Respect your fellow residents
Sharing a laundry room with multiple renters can be a balancing act. Just remember to respect everyone’s space and belongings at the end of the day. If you’re not sure if someone is using a machine, don’t be afraid to ask politely. Making assumptions can make for an awkward situation. If you see a new resident struggling with the laundry equipment, offer to assist them. It’s essential to make every communal space in your complex a place where every resident can come together. After all, we all put our pants on one leg at a time.
There are probably a lot of people on similar schedules using a limited number of machines. If you want to remain on good terms with your apartment neighbours, don’t monopolize the machines. Washing a laundry load typically takes 30 to 40 minutes, and drying takes 45 minutes to an hour. Use a timer to ensure you remove your laundry at the cycle end so that your neighbours don’t have to wait around.
A challenging part of sharing could be the wait time if someone got to the machines before you. If someone has clothes in the washer or dryer, don’t interrupt their cycle to replace them with yours. You wouldn’t want someone touching your underwear and personal belongings, so it’s very likely they don’t want you touching theirs. If you find yourself waiting frequently, consider planning for a less busy time to do your washing. If someone hasn’t moved their clothes yet after their cycle ended, try to find the patience to give them more time. They might have been delayed by an assignment or chatty roommate they can’t escape. If more than 10 minutes have passed after their cycle ended and they still haven’t returned, see if there is a laundry basket to transfer the clothes to so they stay clean. Putting someone’s wet clothes on the floor is always frowned upon. If need be, set them on top of the washer or a clean surface. Regardless of why, generally taking someone’s clothing out of the washer is considered rude, but unfortunately, sometimes there isn’t another option.
Don’t throw somebody’s clothes on the floor! Be patient if a machine has been in use for a while. If you notice that a washer/dryer has been stopped for over an hour and is still occupied, put them aside in a neat pile or take the clothes inside and put them in a plastic grocery bag. Leave them by the machine for the resident who may have left them there.
This will ensure their clothes are not soiled by putting them on the floor, and you can then move on with doing your laundry.
If you notice that a washer or dryer has completed its cycle and the owner hasn’t returned to deal with it, try to be patient. They’ll probably be back shortly. Don’t start a load and leave for the day. Instead, set a timer on your phone and change out your clothes when they’re done; this way, other residents can use the machines they need.
Do not throw apartment trash in the laundry room trash cans. Most communities provide these can account for the residents’ convenience to help keep a clean laundry area for other residents. The only items which should go in these cans are those associated with your laundry! Lint, dryer sheets, empty detergent containers, etc. It isn’t pleasant for anyone to use a dirty laundry room.
Time your laundry effectively
The most crucial aspect of working with a shared laundry room is to maximize your time and others’ time. You don’t want to leave your dirty clothes sitting in the washer or dryer while someone else is waiting for a machine. If you’ve ever lived in a dormitory or used a laundromat or any other shared laundry situation, you know how irritating it can be when someone removes your laundry when it’s done – or not done – and sets it on a machine. Avoid this problem by timing your laundry.
Don’t leave your clothes in the washer/dryer indefinitely. This is inconsiderate to other people and can cause your clothes to be removed and even tossed on the floor by another impatient resident. Instead, only do laundry when you have the time to see a load through the washer and the dryer. While it may take a while for you to find the time, it sure beats having your clothes dirtied by being tossed aside or collecting mould from being left in the washer for too long.
Unless you have the time to dry your clothes after washing them, hold off immediately!
Don’t try to reserve a washer or dryer.
These days, almost everyone has a busy schedule, meaning household chores sometimes fall by the wayside. However, if you share a laundry room, don’t try to preemptively start laundry day by setting your hamper or belongings on a washer or dryer, not in use. If you’re not actively using a machine, let another resident who’s ready to start their laundry take it. Wait until your clothes are finished washing to claim a dryer as well. You want every resident to have their chance to get laundry done.
Protect Your Belongings And Don’t Overload
Most laundry machines have guidelines printed on the lids. In general, you don’t want to fill the machine with clothes over the drain holes. Following this will allow for proper cleaning and should allow them to dry completely in one cycle. Overloading the engine can result in damage to your laundries like tears or burns. It’ll be worth the extra money to run a separate load instead of needing to buy new clothes!
Take Responsibility For Your Mess
If you make a mess in the communal laundry room, make sure you clean up after yourself. Nobody else is going to want to clean up your detergent spill or throw away your used dryer sheets and lint ball. Be respectful of the space and your impact on it since it’s not just you. It affects!
As with most things in life, common courtesy is the key. As long as you and other apartment residents can be respectful and conscientious when navigating the laundry room, this sometimes tedious task can run a whole lot smoother! We have a wide range of Melbourne laundry renovations services at Hitch Property Constructions.
Communal Laundry Supply Kit
While your apartment management team provides the space, energy, and equipment to clean your clothes, it’s up to you to provide the rest. Here’s what you need to take with you to the laundry room.
- When it comes to lugging laundry, smaller is better. Fill a smaller container from your larger bottle to cut down on the weight you have to carry back and forth.
- Fabric softener or dryer sheets. If you want to make the world a softer place and stay static-free, you’ll need to bring these items with you. Again, you may want to consider portioning liquid softener out into smaller containers or get a few dryer sheets with you instead of the whole box.
- To get those whites extra sparkly, bring your bleach. But be careful to avoid any spills. As a courtesy, make sure the washer drains completely after using bleach so that an unsuspecting neighbour doesn’t accidentally bleach their favourite black dress.
- Payment method. Many apartment communities use cards you can pre-load, so make sure you bring that and a payment method to reload your card if needed. If the machines still take coins, save a trip back to your apartment by getting double the number you expect to use.
- Laundry basket. Take a small laundry basket or hamper to leave next to your machine. This way, there’s a place for your belongings if someone needs to move them after the cycle ends.