“Who took my dryer balls?”: Thoughts on Jewell Laundry Services & Etiquette

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

There are a few—some might say many— widely held sources of complaints amongst Jewell’s student body; whether it is the persistently inconsistent, yet dependably uncomfortable, building temperatures or the inconvenient lack of parking. Amidst these things we all care to complain about are laundry services and etiquette. I asked a few students about their experiences.

Not long ago, an unnamed senior experienced what some would call, or at least the senior would, a blatant disregard for basic laundry room etiquette. After placing her clothes in the Melrose dormitory washers, she left her dryer balls on each washer lid with the intent of conveniently placing them with each load once they were moved to a dryer. However, a fellow Melrose resident had other plans. The senior returned promptly, a short thirty-five minutes later, to find her dryer balls missing.

The senior, a force to not be reckoned with, waited to see who the culprit was. It did not take long before the culprit revealed themselves. The culprit denied knowing how the dryer balls wound up in their laundry. However, the senior remains convinced that the dryer balls were taken and used by the culprit and not a mysterious third party. Understandably, the senior does not find the idea of a random havoc inducing laundry room distuber convincing.

When asked about her thoughts on appropriate laundry room etiquette, the senior responded, “As a rule, don’t touch other people’s stuff.” She did, however, add a few further considerations: “Because laundry is free, I think it’s okay to move someone’s clothes from the dryers into the washers after waiting five to 10 minutes. It also makes sense to me to move laundry out of the dryers. If you really don’t want people to touch your stuff, do what I do and make sure to move your laundry soon after it is done.” The senior further emphasized, “If it’s not to free up washers or dryers, leave other people’s things alone.”

Proper laundry room etiquette is a topic that students often discuss. Students tend to fall on two sides of the issue. On the one hand, many students argue residents should remove their own laundry within the five to 10 minute window, give or take a few minutes. It’s your stuff, you are responsible for it, or so the argument goes. Other’s adopt the position offered by the previously mentioned senior. As college students, we all have busy lives. It’s understandable if a resident forgets their laundry or does not return to move it for a while. Laundry is free, so it’s not much of an inconvenience for others to move laundry from washers to dryers. However, residents should not take offense if their laundry is moved after five to 10 minutes.

Besides appropriate laundry room behavior, students also have serious complaints about laundry services. Sophomore Kandace Gill notes, “Machines are often broken or occupied, so I usually go off of campus to the laundromat to avoid any issues.” While students enjoy free services on campus, they come with several problems. Many students complain of the lack of washers and dryers available. Yet, the biggest inconvenience is probably the weak dryers. It often takes two to three cycles to fully dry clothes, even when students only partially fill dryers.

To mitigate these problems, students have devised a few coping mechanisms. Some, like Gill, do their laundry off campus either at parents’ houses or at other locations. Some students do laundry at less busy times, such as on Sunday mornings when most students choose to sleep in. To navigate around drying problems, many students choose to air dry their damp clothes when one dryer cycle is not enough.

One of the perks of going to Jewell is free laundry. Undeniably, inappropriate laundry room behavior and recent service issues take a bit of the shine off of the deal. With a shift to more thoughtful laundry room etiquette and a few maintenance repairs, laundry would be one less topic for Jewell students to complain about.

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