OPINION: Laundry rooms are getting unruly


Emily Escobedo Ramirez, Opinion Writer

College is where students gain more freedom and start learning how to live independently. For many, laundry is a mystery that remains unsolved. Recently, the laundry rooms in the residence halls have become overrun with unattended loads and long wait times. It has led to arguments between residents and occasional shutdowns of the laundry rooms by housing. All these issues can be prevented, yet some residents fail to understand how their negligence affects others. 

One major issue that occurs is the timekeeping aspect of laundry. On average, washing machines take 30 to 40 minutes, while dryers take 60 minutes. Residents can anticipate taking about 2 hours to do their laundry, but that does not account for other factors. The ratio of machines to residents contributes to the limited availability. For example, Summit Hall houses 333 residents yet only has six washing machines and eight dryers. That averages 55 residents to one washing unit and 41 to a dryer. Thunder Hill Hall houses 573 residents and has 18 washing and drying units available, leaving a ratio of 31 residents per unit. These proportions are also assuming no machines are either out of order or not in use. With these numbers in mind, additional machines are necessary for resident use to combat the overexertion and stress doing laundry creates.

Maintenance of the machines is also an issue in keeping laundry rooms tidy. The washing machines in residence halls thoroughly clean clothes, yet are slightly older models. It allows them to be susceptible to careless messes, such as poorly dissolved Tide Pods and excessive dryer lint. The washing machines sometimes do not fully disintegrate Tide Pods and leave behind packaging residue that residents do not clean up. The drying machines also have residue dryer sheets and lint residents fail to throw away due to hesitancy to clean up. These tiny things build up over time and can become the reason for machines to break down or cause safety hazards. Residents should be more conscious of how they leave the laundry rooms and clean up after themselves.

Additionally, some residents fail to be timely in doing laundry and dump their clothes in the machines for large amounts of time, leaving residents to resort to moving them out or throwing them on the ground. While it is understandable to be late by a small margin, there are preventative measures. Placing a timer, reminder or note to oneself is beneficial to prevent holding up a machine for others. Consequences for these acts result in shutting down the entire laundry room for periods of time, thus punishing all residents for others’ faults. These instances bring tension and occasionally arguments between residents, causing a somewhat easy task to become a tedious journey. The necessity to be more responsible while doing laundry is crucial. Residents are no longer living with family, but instead in a communal space that they and others pay to use. Using these services with respect and care should not be difficult to grasp.