On-Site Laundry Room Rules Everyone Should Follow

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On-Site Laundry Room Rules Everyone Should Follow

Lisa Wright · Mar 10, 2022
On-site laundry room in the basement of a small apartment complex.

Apartment amenities like swimming pools and rooftop decks are great, but when it comes to practical on-site perks, it’s hard to beat having a laundry room in your building. The convenience, the proximity, and the downright luxury of having a laundry room on the premises will quickly become apparent to anyone not having to schlep their dirty clothes to the nearest laundromat on a weekly basis — but of course, having an on-site laundry room does come with some responsibilities for both you and your fellow tenants.

Below are some of our best tips for making your washer/dryer excursions as pleasant as possible for everyone in your building:

Timing is Everything

Not having to transport this week’s wash to the local laundromat is a dream come true for many renters, but an at-home laundry experience can quickly turn into a nightmare if you and your fellow tenants can’t agree on some simple rules of conduct. Depending on the size of your building, you may have to share a small amount of washers and dryers with dozens of other people. In these cases, the best way to avoid conflict is to be courteous of your neighbors’ time.

If your landlord or property management company hasn’t posted rules for the laundry room, it may be time to establish a tenant-organized guide for the space. A simple list of do’s and don’ts will suffice, so long as it’s enough to form a sort of good faith agreement between you and your neighbors. Of course, some people may choose not to abide by these guidelines, but that’s okay. Anything that encourages people to act courteously is a step in the right direction.

That being said, people have their own ideas of what constitutes laundry room etiquette. Just because you wouldn’t remove another tenant’s clothes from the washer, doesn’t mean that someone else wouldn’t hesitate to grab your stuff in a snap. The best way to combat this is to keep an eye on your goods. Set a timer and head back to the laundry room in a timely fashion to grab your threads after every load.This doesn’t mean eagle-eyeing your load for the entire 30 to 45 minutes, it just means being aware of when your time is up so that your neighbors can use the machines as soon as you’re done — in short, good manners.

Use at Your Own Risk

Woman unloads clean clothes from the washing machine in her apartment building.

Just like at the laundromat, there’s a certain risk involved with leaving your clothes unattended in a public laundry room — even one that’s in the same building as your home base. There’s always a chance someone could grab your clothes from the washer or dryer before they’re done, or even just grab your clothes, full stop.

Depending on your building, there may be security cameras installed in the laundry room, which will certainly go a long way toward mitigating most possessions-related disputes. However, if your on-site laundry room doesn’t have video surveillance, just be aware that yes, you are still leaving items unattended at your own risk — even in your own building.

If thread thievery or rude, vindictive behavior becomes a regular occurrence in your laundry room, it may be time to talk to your landlord about adding additional security. The best way to approach this is by gathering a few friendly neighbors and putting the request in writing. If the message comes from more than one tenant, it’s much more likely to have more impact on your landlord.

Keep It Kind

It’s inevitable that at some point one of your neighbors will do something to get under your skin in the laundry room, whether it’s removing your clothes early or leaving the trap loaded with lint. Before you go on a rampage, keep in mind that everyone is different and has different ideas about what is (and isn’t) bad laundry room etiquette. Of course, if your neighbors’ behavior becomes a regular occurrence, you may no choice but to address it.

The best way to do this is by leaving a note, especially as it’s unlikely you’ll be able to pinpoint which of your neighbors is responsible for the problem. Keep it anonymous, polite, and vague (no finger pointing! even if you know the dude in 2-C totally took your clothes out of the dryer early). Chances are your fellow tenants will be glad that someone’s drawn attention to the problem, and at the very least, a public notice may stop the laundry room offenders from continuing to engage in unseemly behavior if they know their dirty deeds are on the collective radar.

If all else fails, bring the problems to the attention of your landlord, as things like theft and destruction of property should never be tolerated. After all, the laundry room is for everyone’s use – not just a select few who fancy themselves dirty duds dictators.

Keep It Clean

Washing machine with throw pillows on top and rattan laundry hampers to the right.

Spilled some detergent? Wipe it up. Removed your clothes from the dryer? Clean the lint trap. Chances are, the overall maintenance and upkeep of the laundry room will be your landlord’s responsibility, but don’t let that stop you from maintaining a basic level of cleanliness yourself. In short, if you make a mess, clean it up. Treat others’ property the way you want your property to be treated. Be respectful of others and don’t hog the machines. It’s not rocket science, it’s just good manners.

While having an on-site laundry room is a definite perk, it can also become a major headache if one or more of your fellow tenants fails to follow basic laundry etiquette. The key to avoiding conflict in shared spaces like these is to establish basic guidelines for the laundry room. Often, all it takes is a posted sign of loose laundry laws to get people to mind their p’s and q’s.

Above all, keep it friendly. If problems like thievery and rude, obnoxious behavior become an ongoing problem, take it to the landlord. Any neighbor-to-neighbor interaction should be based on civility, and the same goes for laundry liaisons. So before you start sudsing, take a little time to make sure you and your neighbors are on the same wavelength when it comes to laundry room manners, as it’s the only way to be sure your apartment’s laundry space stays squeaky clean.

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