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Good laundry room etiquette

posted on May 23, 2022 in first time renting, organize and cleaning tips

Many apartment buildings feature communal laundry rooms that are exclusive for residents. Sharing a laundry facility can be a challenge in an apartment complex because doing your laundry is a fairly intimate activity. When that activity is conducted in the presence of strangers, things can get messy. As much as your neighbours' laundry room etiquette impacts you, your laundry room behaviour impacts them. Here's how to be a well mannered resident when you do your laundry in a communal laundry room.

Be patient and courteous 

When all the laundry machines are in use, it can be tempting to rush your fellow residents through the laundry process so you can get started. Resist that urge! No one likes to be rushed and your turn will come soon. Please wait patiently for your turn to arise.

Be practical and considerate 

If you notice that someone has left their laundry unattended in a machine, resist the urge to remove their laundry from the machine to start your own. No one likes it when strangers riffle through their belongings and they claimed the machine first. 

If a machine is monopolised and unattended for a very long time (like an hour or more), it's reasonable to carefully remove the laundry from the machine and put it into the resident's laundry basket or bag before claiming the machine for yourself. 

Be quick

Your laundry room likely has a limited number of machines which need to be shared by a large number of residents. Be quick when it's your turn to use them. If you're going to leave the room while your machine runs, set an alarm on your mobile phone for a few minutes before the cycle will complete so you know when it's time to return to the laundry room to flip your load. Avoid leaving your laundry unattended as other residents are likely waiting for their turn to use the machines.

Be clean

Laundry can get a little messy if you spill detergent, treatments or bleach while you do it. Be clean and considerate by thoroughly wiping up any spills you create before you leave the laundry room or finish using a machine so your neighbours don't stumble on a nasty surprise. 

Remove your lint

Another cleaning rule to follow in a communal laundry room is removing any lint from the dryer after you use it. This seemingly simple task can be a lifesaver as a buildup of lint in a dryer can cause a fire. Lint left behind can also reduce a dryer's efficiency. This act of courtesy impacts your entire apartment community, not just the next resident who will use the machine. 

Don't use too much detergent

Many people go overboard when it comes to laundry detergent. Look closely at the machine to determine a reasonable amount of detergent to use per load. This is better for you, your neighbours and the machine. Overdoing the detergent can leave a residue on your laundry and leave detergent in the machine that your neighbours won't be able to remove before they use it to wash their clothes. 

Consider unscented products 

Many people have aversions and allergies to fragrances. While you may love when your clothing and bedding smells April fresh, your fellow residents may not share your enthusiasm and your detergent's scent may transfer to their laundry. You might think this is no big deal, but fragrance oils are very difficult to remove from laundry and they may be offensive or dangerous for your fellow residents. Consider using an unscented, hypoallergenic detergent and other hypoallergenic products and treatments for your laundry.

Don't overload the machines

It can be tempting to let your laundry accumulate and then head to the laundry room to wash it all en masse. While this may be practical for you, this is a recipe for a laundry room disaster. If you overload washing machines, they become imbalanced and noisy. This will definitely rub your neighbours and the building staff the wrong way. If it seems like you have stuffed the machine to the max capacity, it's probably overloaded. A good way to avoid this is to use two machines to divide your laundry, ideally separating colours and whites (which is best practice anyway if you are going to wash in hot water).

We hope these tips for good laundry room etiquette will help you be a courteous laundry room user. 

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