Awkward Moments at University: The Launderette

A majority of new students will be living in halls for their first year, which has everything you’ll need squeezed nicely into a student-friendly environment, including the dreaded laundrette.

At first, the laundrette doesn’t seem like too daunting a place; you just wash, dry, empty, repeat. However, there’s something uncomfortable about doing your laundry in the company of strangers, not to mention the risk of dying your clothes pink. The first time I went to the laundrette at my halls, I had to ring my Mum for words of wisdom and a pre-wash pep talk and then managed to catch my sleeve in the washing machine doors, which then locked for 36 agonizing minutes. I could have been in an episode of Mr Bean.

There will come a time when there’s only one dryer left but there are two washing machines about to finish. Inevitably, there’ll be a silent battle of wills and the fastest unloader wins the dryer. Another horrible situation is when all the dryers are full and you have to empty one for your laundry. There’s always the risk of being caught. When that happened to me, all I could say was, “… It’s not what it looks like.”

Perhaps it’s just me who has these uncomfortable situations but I’m certainly not the only one who would have liked some warning about laundrettes. After surviving first year, I now have the luxury of my own washing machine and dryer, so there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Here are a few tips about how to make the most out of laundrettes whilst avoiding awkwardness:

  • Never do washing on Sundays. This is when everybody realises they have no clothes for the next week and panic-wash. Do it the afternoons during the week, if possible.
  • Take a wingman. Ask your flatmates if they have any washing, so then you can both chip in, get more washing done and it’s cheaper.
  • Have everything ready before you go to the laundrette. Make sure your laundry card or cash and washing tablets are easily accessible, this saves time and worry.
  • Plan ahead. Some laundrette companies have a website that shows you which washers and dryers are in operation, so you can see if there are any free. This ensures you don’t go down and have to do the walk of shame back up to your room when all the machines are full.
  • Be ruthless. It’s every man for themselves, so fight for your right to wash!

ESCAPE! If you’re planning on going home for a few days, pile up your washing and take it with you!