What Is In-Unit Laundry and What Are the Pros and Cons?


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Laundry is a big part of life, and with unit laundry it can be a lot more convenient. But, there are also many reasons not to rent a laundry room with a laundry service. Find out what laundry in the unit really means, the pros and cons of having a washer and dryer in the unit, other common laundry options available in rentals, and more.

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What is unit laundry?

The in-unit laundry room refers to having a washer and dryer in the apartment, house, or other rental unit you live in. This means that the owner or owner has already purchased and installed the devices you are using. Your landlord or property manager is also responsible for maintaining, repairing and replacing appliances in the event of breakage or malfunction. In fact, reporting when these devices are not functioning properly may be part of your tenant’s responsibilities, as outlined in your lease.

If a rental does not have a laundry room in the unit, it may have one of the following options:

A community or shared laundry room

With this option, you would take your laundry to the designated laundry room, which looks like a mini laundromat with multiple washers and dryers, and pay per wash and dry. Depending on your landlord, you can pay with coins or with a reloadable card. You can usually find laundry rooms in single apartment buildings, apartment complexes where there may be one room or one for a few units, or in a multi-family home.

Washer-dryer connections

This option refers to the unit with water, ventilation and electrical installations ready for you to install your own washer and dryer. If you don’t already have a washer and dryer, you’ll need to purchase your own and have them installed or installed yourself. You can also just cover the connections, for example by placing storage in front of them, to block the view if you don’t want to bring your own devices.

Advantages and disadvantages of having a laundry room in the unit

Here are some of the benefits of having a laundry room in your rental unit:

  • More convenience to do laundry whenever you want
  • The convenience of not having to bring your own washer and dryer
  • It is usually housed in its own closet, utility room or location in the kitchen or bathroom
  • Less money is spent on laundry expenses like self-service or full-service laundry
  • No need to service, repair, replace or pay for the maintenance of these devices

There are a few drawbacks to unit laundry, including:

  • This often makes the rent a bit more expensive
  • It increases the cost of utilities, including water and electricity
  • It takes up space in your apartment which could mean less storage space
  • There is a potential for damage, such as flooding or fire hazard

Tips for keeping your washing machines in the unit clean

As a tenant, you are responsible for taking the best care of all appliances and property while you live in your rental unit. This may include regularly cleaning your washing machines in the unit to make sure they are running efficiently. Keeping them clean can also prevent long-term damage and ensure your laundry is clean.

Here are some tips you can follow to keep your built-in washing machines clean:

  1. Remove lint from your dryer lint filter before each use
    Before operating the dryer, always check the trap for lint and dispose of it. Accumulated lint can prevent proper ventilation and even ignite from heat, creating a fire hazard.
  2. Have your landlord or maintenance crew check the vents every two years
    If you’ve been living in a unit for two years or more, ask your landlord or request maintenance to check and clean your dryer exhaust vent and clear the vent to the outdoors. This can ensure that the dryer does not use too much energy and can effectively dry your laundry.
  3. Thoroughly clean the lint filter
    Every three months or once a season, thoroughly clean your dryer’s lint filter. Use some detergent and rinse it, or you can even put it in the dishwasher. This will remove any residue from any dryer sheets, detergents or fabric softeners you use and remove any little lint leftovers.
  4. Wipe down the barrel of your dryer
    Every few months, use a rag and rubbing alcohol to wipe down the inside of your dryer to get rid of any residue or lint. Just be sure to let your dryer air out and dry completely to prevent accidental mold growth.
  5. Clean your washer regularly
    Use a three-step process involving bleach, white vinegar water, then a vinegar water spray and a rag. Important Note: Do not mix bleach and vinegar as it can create lethal gas. You can also find other processes involving white vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide.
  6. Avoid overloading both machines
    Using smaller loads may take a bit longer, but it can help you ensure that your washer and dryer are running as efficiently as possible for many loads to come. Larger loads of laundry actually take more energy to clean and dry.
  7. Open the washer door
    After each wash, leave the door open so that the appliance can dry completely. It can prevent mildew and musty odors.
  8. Leave space between the two machines
    If you have both a washer and dryer, be sure to check their distance regularly. They should be spaced at least 4 inches apart to prevent colliding during their cycles.

While some people think the laundry in the unit is non-negotiable, others do well and even prefer to use the community laundry rooms or go to the laundromat. Think about your lifestyle and what you need for an apartment to determine if in-unit laundry is on your rental checklist.