The Collegian
Saturday, July 02, 2022

Voice of reason: a guide to campus laundry room etiquette

Ever set your clean clothes in a glob of glue-like detergent that's been lying in wait on top of the washing machine?

Ever cruised into the laundry room one minute after a cycle finished and stood in the doorway while awkwardly debating with yourself whether to claim your clothes as someone else impatiently removes them for you, or come back later once they've left?

Ever been a little sketched out about the self-propagating piles of clothes that live in laundry room corners?

Here are some tips for cleaning the hostile laundry-room air while we clean our clothes.

No. 1 - Don't spill your detergent on the top of the laundry machine.

Not cool. Not necessary. We're all adults here, and (in most cases) on our way to college degrees. There is no reason we can't get all the detergent into the appropriate compartment in the washing machine. The thousands of 5-year-old laundry-machine users throughout the world serve as proof that transporting soap - liquid or solid - is not really all that complicated.

In fact, I'm convinced the only reason detergent ends up on the tops of machines is a seemingingly incurable disregard for others that also causes students to drop food in the dining hall and laugh as they walk away.

I understand that average students don't walk around with bottles of cleaning product or damp rags clipped to their belts (if you do, please come to The Collegian office and introduce yourself because that is awesome), but there are still ways to clean up these messy problems.

A. Use a dirty sock to wipe up your spill - you're about to clean it anyway.

B. When you're in D-Hall, grab a napkin and at least act as if you're trying to correct the problem instead of assuming someone else is eagerly waiting to do it for you.

C. Spend a few less seconds of your day multitasking and try your hardest to avert the spills completely.

No. 2 - Please allow a 10-minute buffer before removing someone's clothes from the machine.

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It seems as if half the campus is very impatient about their laundry, and the other half a little too relaxed. Let's meet in the middle to avoid that awkward moment when we realize that someone else is touching our laundry, or that we are touching someone else's laundry and he or she has caught us.

To the impatient: Slow down. Have some compassion for the laundry-leavers. Although you might be in a hurry, sometimes we get delayed making a sandwich or waiting until a commercial break.

Chill out. We're coming. Don't take our clothes out too hastily - if you think it's irritating that we're late, imagine how irritating it is to have someone with potentially swine-flu-infested fingers contaminating your clothes.

To the abandoners: Some students have places to go, people to see, laundry to move - help a sister out. It's OK to finish your PB&J, but maybe don't launch into your 15-page paper before attending to your clothes? After all, wet clothes start to stink if you leave them in the machine long enough, and that's just gross.

No. 3 - Claim your clothes if you find them in one of those amoeba-like laundry room piles.

No one likes to reclaim clothes that have been living on the floor of the laundry room, but the good news is that they're located in a laundry-cleaning facility. Maybe you're embarrassed? It's OK. Go under the cover of night. But don't leave them there - someone might recognize your threads.

And frankly, unless you stole your clothes, someone paid for them. You wouldn't leave a $50 bill in a pile on the floor, so go get your sheets, socks, T-shirts, etc.

The streets of Richmond are home to dozens of homeless people who could benefit from the clothes that you won't even go pick out of a pile. Seriously, if you have that little regard for your clothes, then give them to someone who will appreciate the layers.

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