For newcomers, laundromats can present a somewhat confusing set of unspoken rules. Do you tip the attendant? Can you bring a snack? Maybe most importantly, is it safe to leave clothes alone at a laundromat? Typically, leaving your clothes unattended at the laundromat is frowned upon. Find out why you may need to keep a closer eye on your clothes.
Is it Safe to Leave Clothes Alone at a Laundromat?
Why Leaving Your Clothes Alone at a Laundromat Is a Bad Idea
An average washing machine cycle lasts between 25 and 40 minutes, while an average dryer cycle lasts between 30 and 40 minutes. And while it might be tempting to leave your clothes unattended and pay a visit to the coffee shop down the street, it’s better to stay put. First, leaving your clothes unattended is generally considered rude. If you leave your clothes in a washer or dryer past the cycle time, you could be holding up someone else’s load. If you leave your clothes in for a few minutes past the cycle time, there’s a good chance that you’ll find your wet clothes tossed on top of the machine – or even on the floor or in the trash can. Then, there’s the possibility of theft. Although laundromat owners take every measure to ensure customer safety, laundromats are public places – and someone may be lying in wait to snatch your pricey jeans if you step away for too long.
Solutions for Laundromat Customers
So, is it safe to leave clothes alone at a laundromat? Probably not. To avoid potential theft or property damage, make sure to remove items from washers and dryers as soon as your cycle ends. If you absolutely have to step away, make a note of the time you started your load, check the timer on the machine, and set an alarm on your phone so your clothing isn’t left unattended after the cycle ends.
Solutions for Laundromat Owners
Laundromat owners and managers can take several steps to remind customers of laundromat safety and etiquette practices:
- Signage: Start by developing a set of ground rules for your laundromat – for example, no clothing left unattended. Then, post those rules on a sign near the entrance of your laundromat. You can also post multiple signs throughout your facility reminding customers that they leave clothing unattended at their own risk.
- Surveillance: There are several benefits to installing security cameras at your laundromat. First, video cameras are proven to discourage theft and break-ins. Video cameras also help protect your business if something valuable is stolen, providing valuable evidence for police.
- Cleanup: If you find loads of unattended laundry left for more than a few hours, you can bag it and place it in a lost and found area. If the clothing remains unclaimed for a month or more, feel free to donate it to charity.
It’s never a good idea to leave clothes alone at the laundromat. Fortunately, there are several things you can do as a laundromat owner or manager to reduce this behavior, including signage and security cameras. For laundromat patrons, it comes down to common sense and good laundromat etiquette. A little extra caution goes a long way.
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