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Laundromat Etiquette: Basic Rules & Tricky Questions

Jennifer L. Betts
woman at laundromat

The laws of laundromat etiquette aren't cut and dried, but you need to use common sense and courtesy for others when using the laundromat to wash your clothes. Everyone is in a rush, and no one likes using the laundromat; however, by following a few unspoken laundromat etiquette rules, you can make this a pleasant experience for you and others.

1. Be Ready for Washing

When you get to the laundromat, you should be ready to throw your clothing in.

2. Avoid Leaving Your Clothing Unattended

It's important not to leave your clothing unattended. You don't have to sit and watch your laundry go through the wash or dry cycle. However, if you are going to run errands or take a brisk walk, then you'll want to set a timer on your phone for the length of the cycle. Why? Because others need to use those machines. Your clothes are likely to get removed by someone who needs them.

3. Be Patient

It is essential to be patient when someone else's clothes are in a machine you've been waiting to use. However, everyone gets caught up. Therefore, the moment the cycle finishes, you shouldn't throw that person's clothing out of the machine. Instead, it's customary to give them up to 10 minutes to remove their clothing from the machine. If the owner doesn't show up, gently move their clothing into a rolling cart or on a clean surface to wait for their owner.

  • Never dump their clothes on a dirty surface.

  • Use care with other people's belongings.

  • Never put their clothing in the dryer!

women inserting laundry into washing machines

4. Use Care With Machines

Since these are not your machines, use care when adding your detergents, bleach, etc. Adding too much soap or bleach will not only be harmful to the washing machine, but it could damage the clothing of the next person in line.

  • Measure fabric softener, detergent, and fabric softener carefully.

  • Check pockets for change or jewelry.

  • Don't overload machines.

  • Clean out the lint screen when done with the dryer.

5. Show Respect

The laundromat and the people within it are all there for the same service. Therefore, you want to show respect to the establishment and the people around you.

  • Don't stare at other's clothing. Everyone has personal clothing being washed in public by necessity.

  • Clean up any spills.

  • Throw away your trash.

  • Keep children occupied.

  • Use headphones for videos, music, or podcasts.

  • Help those around you that might be having trouble with machines, if possible.

  • Wait until your clothes are washed to claim a dryer.

  • Avoid taking up more space than necessary with purses or coats.

Young woman in a launderette

6. Avoid Eating or Drinking

Laundromats are dirty. Not only are they used by several people daily, but they are full of filthy, grimy laundry. All those germs aren't going to disappear magically. Therefore, you might want to think twice about scarfing down a bit of lunch while your clothing goes through the spin cycle.

7. Take Calls Outside

Inevitably, you'll get a phone call while you are doing laundry. However, be courteous to others and take it outside. Everyone is stuck at the laundromat waiting for their clothes, but they don't want to listen to your phone call.

Following the Rules of Laundromat Etiquette

When it comes to the etiquette of the laundromat, it's all about being respectful to the machines, people, and establishment around you. As long as you remember that, you'll have washing your clothes at the laundromat in the bag.

Laundromat Etiquette: Basic Rules & Tricky Questions