8 Laundromat Tips to Follow Before You Go

Going to a laundromat can seem daunting, especially if you’ve never been to one before. However, with some preparation and knowing what to expect, your laundromat experience can be quite smooth. Here are 8 tips to follow before heading to the laundromat:

Sort Your Laundry Before Arriving

One of the best things you can do is sort your laundry before arriving at the laundromat. Here are some tips for sorting:

  • Separate colors from whites. Whites can easily pick up dye from colored clothing when washed together. Sort all your bright colors, darks, lights, and whites into separate loads.
  • Separate delicates. Bras, lingerie, swimwear, and other delicate items should be washed separately from sturdier fabrics. This prevents damage.
  • Don’t overload machines. Sort your laundry into manageable loads that will give the clothes plenty of room to move around in the machine. Overstuffed loads may not get fully clean.
  • Check pockets. Make sure to empty all pockets so you don’t accidentally wash tissues, receipts, or other items that could damage clothes or clog machines.

Arriving with pre-sorted laundry will make washing go much quicker and prevent mishaps like colors bleeding onto lighter items.

Gather All Your Supplies

In addition to your sorted laundry loads, there are some supplies you’ll want to bring with you:

  • Laundry bag/basket. Transport sorted loads in a laundry bag, basket, or other container. This keeps clothes contained.
  • Detergent. Bring enough for all loads. Many laundromats sell small containers if you run out.
  • Fabric softener. This is optional but can keep clothes feeling soft.
  • Dryer sheets. These cut down on static cling in the dryer.
  • Stain remover. Pre-treat any stained items before washing.
  • Quarters. Most laundromats only accept quarters so come prepared with enough. Some change machines are available.
  • Laundry pens. Use these pens to mark your name on the bags so you don’t confuse yours for someone else’s laundry.
  • Entertainment. Books, laptop, tablet, etc. to keep you occupied during the wash cycles.
  • Disinfectant wipes. Wipe down machines before use for extra peace of mind regarding cleanliness.

Having all your laundry supplies on hand will make washing go quicker and prevent unnecessary trips to and from your vehicle.

Know Your Machine Types

Modern laundromats offer a variety of machine types and settings. Here’s a quick overview:

  • Top-loading machines are the most common style. Load clothes through a central lid.
  • Front-loading machines have doors that open outward to load clothes. They use less water.
  • Stack units have a washer on bottom and dryer up top, to save space.
  • Delicate/handwash cycles are gentler, for delicates.
  • Heavy duty cycles tackle tough stains and dirt.
  • Double loaders can fit larger volumes of laundry.
  • Triple loaders are even larger, commercial size.

Take a quick walk around to note the types of machines offered before getting started. Signage will indicate any special-use machines.

Understand Costs

Laundromats display pricing per machine, but costs generally break down like:

  • $1.50 – $3 per wash cycle. Price varies based on machine size, cycle selection, etc.
  • $1.50 – $3 per dryer cycle. Similar to washers, this covers around 30-60 minutes of drying time.
  • $.50 – $1 for detergent. Detergent is sold per load in small boxes.
  • $4+ for triple/mega loads. These larger machines cost more but do bigger loads.
  • Optional services extra. Some locations offer services like fluff & fold where staff wash, dry and fold your laundry for you, for an added cost.

Bring sufficient quarters and smaller bills to cover your expected number of loads. Larger bills can sometimes be broken at the counter.

Choose Your Machines Wisely

Once you’re ready to tackle your laundry, pick your washing machines carefully:

  • Check size. Make sure the machine fits your load’s volume.
  • Read directions. Follow any posted instructions for that machine.
  • See if it’s available. Avoid machines marked “Out of Order”.
  • Look for damage. Don’t use machines with any visible damage or leaking.
  • See if empty. Avoid machines with clothes still left in them.
  • Check cleanliness. Give any dirty machines a quick wipe-down first.
  • Load properly. Don’t cram in too many clothes.

Taking a minute to examine the machines can prevent headaches! Notify the staff if any equipment needs repairs or attention.

Follow Proper Laundry Etiquette

There’s laundry etiquette that should be followed at any laundromat:

  • Don’t hog machines – Remove clothes promptly when cycles finish so others can use the machines.
  • No “saving” machines – You can’t reserve machines by putting items in them early. Wait until you’re fully ready to use it.
  • Be courteous of others’ laundry – Don’t move or handle other people’s clothes.
  • Keep supplies in check – Don’t leave belongings spread around the laundromat. Keep your area tidy.
  • Clean up lint/messes – Wipe out washers and empty lint traps when you’re done.
  • Report problems – Alert staff if any machine is not working properly.
  • Supervise children – Don’t let kids play around machines unsupervised.

Following etiquette makes the laundromat experience better for everyone sharing the space. Be respectful.

Carefully Load The Machines

When it’s time to wash your loads, load the machines with care:

  • Read setting options – Choose the right water temperature, cycle, etc.
  • Load loosely – Clothes need room to move and rinse properly.
  • Mix item types – Wash sturdy and delicate items separately.
  • Add detergent – Use per the instructions, based on load size.
  • Check pockets again – Remove any forgotten items.
  • Secure the door – Make sure the door shuts fully before starting the cycle.
  • Start machine – Insert coins then select and start your cycle.
  • **Set a timer **- Time your loads so you don’t leave clothes unattended too long.

With some care at this step, you can avoid damaged clothes or leaks and spills in the machines.

Handle Laundry With Care

Be gentle when handling wet laundry:

  • Check for stains – If clothes aren’t stain-free, rewash or spot treat.
  • Shake items out – Shake and separate any balled up clothes.
  • Watch the temperature – Don’t put hot wet items into a cold dryer, which can shock fibers.
  • Load dryers loosely – Clothes shouldn’t be cramped and need space to tumble dry.
  • Clean lint trap first – Lint buildup can lead to vent fires.
  • Select drying time – Set the right time based on load size and fabric types.
  • No overdrying– This causes wrinkles, fades colors, and damages elastic.
  • Remove promptly– Get clothes out as soon as cycles finish to avoid wrinkling.

Treating wet laundry gently prevents damage, saving you money and keeping clothes looking their best.

Verify Your Clothes Are Dry

Before you leave, double check that clothes are fully dry:

  • Check different items – Delicates and heavy fabrics dry at different rates.
  • Look at seams/cuffs – These thicker areas take longer to dry.
  • Take clothes out – Don’t just look through the window. Feel different items.
  • Tumble small loads – If needed, put small loads back in for brief tumbling.
  • Hang/lay to dewrinkle – If needed, let clothes dewrinkle before folding.
  • Test before folding – Feel clothes again before folding to ensure totally dry.

The last thing you want is to get home and find soggy wet spots in your supposedly dry laundry! Take time to verify.

Clean Up After Yourself

Before leaving, tidy up:

  • Clean machines– Wipe down any visible dirt and residue.
  • Remove laundry items – Check under, behind, and inside machines for stray socks or debris.
  • Empty lint traps – Lint left in traps is a fire hazard.
  • Gather all belongings – Don’t forget detergent, dryer sheets, etc.
  • Toss trash – Dispose of any empty containers, used wipes, etc.
  • Report problems – Inform staff if any equipment needs maintenance.
  • Say thank you – A quick thank you to staff as you leave is always appreciated!

Leaving the laundromat tidy makes it more inviting for the next person. Small efforts by all customers keep the business clean.

Ask for Assistance If Needed

Don’t be shy about asking the laundromat staff for help if needed:

  • If a machine eats your money or isn’t working properly.
  • If you’re confused on how to operate a particular machine.
  • If you realize you’re missing quarters or supplies.
  • If another customer is not following etiquette or onsite rules.
  • If you notice any unsafe conditions or equipment in disrepair.

On the flip side, be patient if staff seems busy assisting other customers. But don’t hesitate to speak up if you require help.

FAQ About Visiting Laundromats

Visiting a self-service laundromat for the first time? It’s normal to have lots of questions! Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

How do I check if machines are available?

Most laundromats have a monitor screen that shows which washers and dryers are currently in use. Look for machines not actively running a cycle. You can also just glance around to visually spot empty, open machines.

What temperature water should I wash with?

Choose hot water for whites and heavily soiled loads. Warm is suitable for most colors. Use cold for delicates, darker colors prone to fading, or lightly soiled items. When in doubt, opt for a warm water wash.

How much detergent do I use in the machines?

Check the instructions on your detergent packaging for the recommended amount based on load size. Typically you’ll use around 1/4 cup for small loads, 1/3 for medium loads, and 1/2 cup for large or double loads. Don’t oversuds the water.

Should I use the delicate or normal cycle?

Use the normal or sturdy cycle for most everyday loads like t-shirts, jeans, towels, sheets, etc. Opt for the delicate cycle for bras, silks, lingerie, athletic clothes with spandex, and other fragile fabrics prone to damage.

How long can I leave my laundry unattended?

It’s best not to leave your washing unattended for more than 30 minutes at a time, and no more than 15 minutes for the dryer stage. Set a phone timer so you don’t lose track. This prevents theft and removes clothes promptly.

Can I reserve washers and dryers ahead of time?

No, machines are first come, first served. The etiquette is you cannot reserve a machine by tossing an item into it early. Wait until your full load is ready to be washed before selecting your machine.

What if all the machines are full when I arrive?

If it’s busy, politely ask other customers how many cycles they have remaining. Or simply keep waiting, doing a lap every so often to check for machines becoming available. Avoid hovering directly beside others. Come at less busy times to avoid long waits.

How do I dry bulky items like comforters?

Look for any oversized or industrial dryers that can properly tumble large and bulky items. If unavailable, dry comforters in two rounds, shaking out and rotating in between. Time each round based on thickness – this prevents inner layers staying damp.

What should I do if I notice broken equipment?

Please notify any laundromat staff immediately if you notice leaks, damage, machines not starting, or any other maintenance issues. Write an “Out of Order” sign and place on the machine so others don’t try using it. Staff will arrange repairs.


Visiting the laundromat doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. By sorting clothes at home, bringing necessary supplies, understanding costs, choosing decent machines, practicing good etiquette, loading carefully, handling laundry gently, drying thoroughly, and cleaning up after yourself, you can have an efficient and successful laundromat trip. Don’t hesitate to ask staff for any assistance. With some preparation and the right tips, you can breeze through your laundromat visit and keep your clothes looking their very best.

Here is a meta description for the article:

Prepare for a smooth trip to the laundromat by sorting clothes, bringing supplies, knowing costs, choosing good machines, having etiquette, loading and handling with care, ensuring clothes are dry, and cleaning up after yourself. Follow these 8 tips for laundromat success.