Laundromat Etiquette
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18 Tips for Better Laundromat Etiquette | Your Complete Guide

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Using a laundromat is a necessary evil for lots of people. So, we may as well make laundry day as pleasant an experience as possible, and the way to do that is by observing the unspoken rules of laundromat etiquette.

Yes, 18 rules seems like a lot, but most of it is commonsense. Sometimes we get so caught up in our problems and our plans that we forget where we are.

What Is Laundromat Etiquette?

Laundromat etiquette is basically treating other patrons the way you would like to be treated. It’s not your personal laundry room, we need to be respectful of others.

If it’s 2 am and you’re the only person in the place, some of these rules won’t apply. If there are people around you, be observant, friendly, and helpful and you might even have fun!

Laundromat Etiquette

With a bit of planning, laundromat visits can be much more pleasant and you can save some money along the way too.

1. Know The Rules Of This Particular Laundromat

The first time you use your local laundromat, take a moment to read the rules that are usually in the form of a sign on the wall or chat to the attendant about how things are done in this neck of the woods.

2. Be Ready To Wash

Don’t waste everyone’s time and take up space by sorting your dirty laundry on the machines or at the folding table. Sort your laundry and check the pockets before you leave home.

3. Check Each Machine Before And After Use

Before you load up the washer or dryer, check that nothing has been left behind by the last user. If they’ve left a red sock, it might not have a good effect on your laundry. Remove the sock and put it in the lost and found while your load is being washed.

After the cycle ends, check the washer and dryer before you walk away. You might find one of your buttons or an orphan red sock!`

4. If A Load Has Finished And The Owner Has Not Returned, Be Patient

Is it rude to take someone else’s clothes out of the washer?

  • If there are no other machines available and the owner of the laundry has not returned after 5 minutes, you can check with the attendant if you or they can remove the unattended washing from the machine.
  • If you remove the laundry, treat it like your own laundry. Do it carefully and put it somewhere clean near the machine, in a cart if one is available, or on the folding table.
  • Don’t put it in the dryer because you don’t know if the person was intending to do that and, some of the clothes might not be suitable for the dryer.

5. Don’t Use Too Much Detergent, Bleach, Or Fabric Softener

Measure these additives before putting them in the machine. You don’t need as much as you think; the manufacturer wants you to buy more, so they overestimate how much you need. You’ll save money!

Measuring laundry detergent instead of splashing will also ensure that there is no residue left behind. If there is too much soap, the residue that is not rinsed out of the machine will leave a soapy residue on your clothes.

Any bleach can actually damage the next load of washing to go in the machine. It could be your clothes….

Clean Up Spills Thoroughly

Keep the laundromat clean. If you have any accidents with detergent, softener, or bleach, make sure you completely clean up the mess. You might damage someone’s laundry or worse, you might cause a slipping hazard.

Laundromat Etiquette

6. Don’t Overload The Machines

Have your washing already sorted into loads of laundry to keep them evenly proportioned and not jam-packed.

Can I Throw All My Clothes In The Washing Machine?

Apart from the fact that some clothes should not be washed together, trying to do your washing all in one load will not save you money or time.

Overloaded washing machines produce clothes that are not clean. The washer cannot reach each piece of clothing when they are all wound together because there’s no room for them to be agitated. Not only that, your clothes may also be damaged and will certainly be wrinkled. Unless you’re a slob, you’ll need to do the wash again in two loads.

Overloading the dryer does not increase dryer efficiency, it produces a big lump of wet fabric. The dryer will attempt to remove the moisture from this chunk, but it will take much longer drying cycles, which will cost you more. Your clothes, when they eventually come out, will be wrinkled and difficult to iron.

7. Attempting To Reserve A Machine Is Bad Etiquette

It is considered rude behavior to try to hold a machine before you’re ready to use it, or to hold multiple machines in a full laundromat. Make sure you’ve got your change and your detergent ready. Don’t leave your laundry basket on a machine unless you’re actually ready to use it.

8. After You’re Finished With The Dryer, Clean Out The Lint Trap

Would you like to remove other people’s lint from the lint screen before you use the dryer? No? Well, pay it forward by removing your own lint as you leave the dryer.

A full lint trap is a fire hazard. Plus it makes the dryer less efficient and so it needs to work harder. It’ll take the cycle longer to finish and it’ll cost you more.

9. Be Ready To Take Your Clothes Out Of The Machine

There are other people waiting to use the washer or dryer, so don’t hog it. Remove your washing as soon as the cycle finishes.

Do You Leave Clothes Unattended?

When you’re putting together your laundry and all the accessories at home, you might want to include something to read, or take a word puzzle mag, or plan to write in your journal. The machine cycles take around 25 to 40 minutes each and if you’re just sitting staring at the wall, it can get very boring.

If you’re really bored, you might want to go for a walk, do some errands or get a cup of coffee…so are you supposed to stay at the laundromat? It’s fine to leave the laundromat BUT set the timer on your phone to a few minutes before the machine cycle is due to finish so you can be there to unload. If the machine doesn’t have a countdown timer, and you’re not sure of the length of the cycle, ask the attendant.

If you’re late back, don’t be surprised if your washing has been removed from the machine. You can perhaps avoid having your laundry thrown on the floor if you leave your basket on top or in front of the machine.

Some laundromat attendants will remove your laundry if you’re not back and there are other customers waiting for your machine. If your laundry is not in sight, check with the attendant. There may be a fee for getting your washing back.

Also, keep in mind that laundromats are welcome to everyone, even thieves. You might get back in time for the cycle to end, but your laundry may have disappeared…..

Laundromat Etiquette

10. Why Is It A Good Idea To Take The Clothes Out Of The Dryer Right Away?

It’s polite to remove your clothes from the dryer as soon as the cycle has finished, but it also means fewer wrinkles. The longer the clothes sit in the dryer, the more the creases will set.

11. Fold Your Dry Laundry At The Folding Table

Unless you’re one of only a few in the laundromat, remove all your clothes from the dryer and allow another person to have the machine before you start folding your dry laundry.

12. Leave The Lid Or Door Open When You’re Finished

This is a polite way to indicate that the machine is now available. Other customers won’t waste precious time trying to work out if it’s their turn yet.

13. The Folding Table Is Only For Clean Dry Laundry

  • Don’t put wet or dirty clothes on the folding table. Other people need to use the folding table after you, and people have been there before you.
  • Don’t use the folding table for reading the newspaper or eating your lunch.

14. Don’t Add To The Noise

The laundromat is a shared public space, not your living room. Nobody is thrilled to be there, so do your bit to make it a more pleasant experience.

  • If you make or take a phone call, take it outside or speak very quietly.
  • Use your inside voice.
  • Don’t listen to loud music or videos unless you’re wearing headphones.
  • Keep your kids under control.

15. Observe Cart Etiquette

Laundry carts or trolleys are a thoughtful addition to a laundromat. They can make your laundry life much easier but remember the other patrons.

  • When you’ve finished with the cart, return it to where it belongs for the next person.
  • While you’re using the cart, ensure you are not blocking the aisle.
  • Be careful when you’re pushing the cart; don’t knock anyone over or knock their heels.

16. Put Your Trash In The Trash Bin

Clean up after yourself. Lint, old detergent bottles or dryer sheets, or any other debris needs to be trashed.

17. Don’t Spread Out

It’s a shared space so don’t take up extra room.

  • Don’t leave your wet clothes unattended on the folding table.
  • One chair per person.
  • Don’t leave your coat, bag and other personal possessions draped on the machines, chairs, or folding table.
  • Don’t stand around in the path of other people.
  • Wrangle your kids.

18. Be Considerate Of Your Fellow Laundry Captives

  • Don’t stare at other people’s laundry and don’t watch them as they do their thing. Allow them to do their tasks as privately as you can in this communal laundry room.
  • If there is no designated children’s area, bring enough books and comforting possessions to keep them busy and quiet.
  • The COVID-19 virus has taught us about social distancing, bringing hand sanitizer, wearing masks, using disposable gloves, and following the public health laws. Hopefully, when you’re reading this, the coronavirus threat will be dramatically lessened.
  • Stay in a good mood, be polite, and do your bit to make the laundromat a comfortable, relaxing, and even pleasant place.


Laundromats are a great convenience, but it’s important to be considerate of other people when using them. Follow the laundromat tips above to be a thoughtful visitor and make everyone’s experience (including your own) more pleasant.

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