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An Apartment Renter’s Guide to Laundry Room Etiquette


If you rent an apartment, you may do your laundry in a shared communal laundry room, or you might have a washer and dryer in your apartment — if you’re lucky. It depends on your apartment rental. Some of our apartment rentals have shared laundry rooms; others have individual washers and dryers.

But if you share a laundry room, it’s a lot like sharing a bathroom if you rent your apartment with a roommate. Communal courtesy makes all the difference. You know not to leave the seat up, but what about the washer and dryer? What makes good laundry room etiquette? How important is it to toss out the old dryer sheets? How long is too long to let a pile of clothes sit? Is it okay to take someone’s laundry out?

Our laundry room etiquette guide will walk you through all the do’s and don’ts about sharing a laundry room in an apartment complex. No apartment renter is an island. We’re all one community, and if we take care of each other, it will be a better living experience for everybody.


Time Your Laundry

It’s not polite to hog a washer or dryer with your clothes indefinitely, especially if there are a limited number of washers and dryers in your apartment building. It’s inconsiderate. You might get your clothes removed or maybe thrown on the floor by an impatient neighbor.

Of course when you’re doing laundry, it’s easy to forget. You may be doing other chores around the house. Most washer hoarding happens because it slips your mind. We recommend setting a timer on your phone. This way, your laundry will be done in a more streamlined fashion — and your neighbors will be able to use the washer and dryer.


Keep a Clean Facility

Last time we checked, your mother didn’t live in our apartment building. And if she does, she’s busy — and you’re an adult. Toss our old dryer sheets, empty bottles, and other trash into the trash/recycling. Go through the pockets of your clothes before washing and drying to keep filth out of the machines. If something does slip through, be sure to remove it when you take out your clothes. Always spot check the washer or dryer when you’re done.



It’s an Apartment, Not a Restaurant — We Don’t Take Reservations

It’s a big no-no to try to reserve a washer or dryer by placing your hamper or belongings on top. Our laundry rooms are first come, first served. If you’re not actively using a machine, you can’t call dibs. It’s not like calling shotgun. Your laundry needs to be seated to have full rights to the machine.

And that includes the dryer. Wait until your clothes have completed their washing cycle before claiming a dryer. It’s common courtesy.


Should You Move Someone Else’s Laundry?

It’s generally considered a faux pax to remove someone’s laundry. After all, we’re talking undies and delicates here. You don’t want to cause unnecessary conflict.

Wait 10 to 20 minutes to see if they come back. If you know whose clothes are in the machine, and you know your neighbors a bit, knock on their door and politely ask them to move their clothes.

If you don’t know who’s using the machine and it’s been a while, contact a staff member about the problem. They can remove the clothes. After all, it’s not your job. That’s why you pay rent on your apartment. Service is part of the package.