A freshman’s guide to laundry room etiquette

Dorothy, you’re not in Kansas anymore. You’re in college and sooner or later you’ll find that you have to make a trip to basement of your building to do laundry. And you’ll find it was easier when you were at home and mom was the only person you had to worry about touching your delicates.

“People can be so impatient and obnoxious,” freshman journalism major Mia Simon commented to me recently.

Indeed, Simon. Wouldn’t it be so much simpler if everyone abides by the same rules? If there was a formal code of laundry room etiquette? Look no further—the following is my manifesto on community laundry facility etiquette: Anyone who does not have exact change is prohibited from entering the laundry room. Check yo self before you wreck yo self. Why would you put your laundry into a machine before making sure you can pay for the wash cycle? That washing machine is prime real estate and people don’t appreciate waiting while you walk around the building panhandling.

Do not remove someone’s laundry from the washer or dryer. First of all, it appalls me that you would touch someone else’s socks — I don’t care if they’re clean. Second, it’s rude. More often than not, there is an open machine you’re too lazy to walk over to. Patience is a virtue, my friends—I highly doubt you’re going to be there the second the timer goes off, so give others the benefit of the doubt.

Remove clean clothes from the dryer within an hour. Do people deserve a grace period? Yes. But does that mean you can leave your clothes in there for three days? No. Your mom calls, there’s a fire drill—completely understandable excuses, but neither spans multiple days.

Swiper, no swiping. If you really have the time to raid the laundry room and steal random clothing from people who violated Rule #3, there is something wrong with you. Don’t think that kid down the hall from you won’t notice you’re wearing the same limited edition Star Wars t-shirt that magically disappeared when he was doing laundry last week.

Pay for your own dry cycles. I bet you think you’re clever, don’t you? You violated Rule #1 and didn’t bring enough change and that girl over there just started a dryer and left. So you stopped her dry cycle, violated Rule #2, put your wet clothes in and restarted the machine. Smart, right? You are not clever. You also will probably be punched in the face if someone catches you.

My laundry detergent is not your laundry detergent. If you need some detergent, just ask. Most people will be more than willing to spare a cupful. There is no need to siphon off detergent while they’re not looking and make people wonder why they have to go on so many Tide runs to Target.

Make sure you have ALL of the clothing you put in the dryer. Check under the lint filter and around the edges of the inner drum. You might save someone the unfortunate experience of finding a g-string mixed in with their sheets and towels (that may or may not have happened to me).

— Laura Blasey is a staff writer for The Diamondback

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