When you’re apartment living, communal laundry is often the norm. Whether you’re schlepping your clothes to a basement or just down the hall, these shared spaces can feel like a building’s equivalent of the DMV: everybody’s there, but nobody’s happy. To make shared laundry situations less of a pain, follow these common-sense dos and don’ts.
Do: Bring Your Own Supplies.
Repeat after us: that jug of detergent two washers over is not yours. Just because a trusting soul left it out doesn’t mean it’s communal, and using someone else’s supplies is a quick way to make a neighbor-enemy. Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping there are supplies at any given time, bring your own!
Tip: Store your supplies in your laundry basket under your clothes. That way, you’ll never forget to bring them along to the laundry room.
- Fabric softener
- Dryer sheets
- Stain fighter (optional)
Don’t: Leave Wet Laundry in the Washing Machine.
Newton’s Law of Laundry: When you’re washing, so is someone else. And that means that someone else is probably waiting on your clothes to be moved from the washer to the dryer, so they can take their turn. Be considerate and set a timer to remind yourself to switch the load. Not only will your neighbor be grateful, you’ll prevent mildew and nasty odors.
Do: Know the Building’s Rules & Hours.
It can feel like a life-hack to do laundry at 2 A.M. … until you’re up against a noise complaint and a broken lease. In some buildings, it’s great to do laundry in off hours like the middle of the night to avoid a crowd. But in other buildings, especially if there is laundry on each floor, it can make a racket and keep people up. Double check your lease and the Rules posted in the laundry room to make sure there aren’t any no-clean times.
Don’t: Lose Your Cool.
Communal living means having patience when others don’t follow your rules. If you’re in need of a dryer, but they’re full, give your neighbors the benefit of the doubt. Wait 10 minutes at least before dumping their clothes on the nearest machine. If you’ve checked back two or three times and the clothes are still in the dryer, be courteous when removing their belongings. If a basket is available, use it. If not, make sure to not drop their unmentionables on the grimy floor.
Do: Clean Out Lint.
A constant in the laundry world is a full lint screen. If you’re in a shared situation, always clean your own lint out of the screen when you remove your dry clothes. It’s a two-second task that makes the next person’s life a little bit easier.
Don’t: Treat the Laundry Room Garbage Like Your Personal Trash Can.
Go ahead, eat a sandwich while waiting on clean undies. Just don’t toss the wrapper in the laundry room garbage! The garbage can in the laundry room is for lint and dryer sheets only. Otherwise, it will start to stink and make everyone’s chore-time miserable. Be considerate and save your smelly trash for your own personal can.
Does all of this sound like a huge pain? We feel you. To make life easier, use ApartmentSearch to find an apartment with an in-unit washer and dryer. Narrow your search by in-unit laundry and, poof! Awkward, annoying communal room disappears.