Clean freaks, night owls and Laundrygate

How IU does its laundry

By Vivek Rao and Jacob deCastro. Top video by Anna Brown.

With more than 600 washers and dryers across residence halls and apartment buildings on campus, you'd think it would be pretty easy to find the best time to do laundry.

But that'd be too easy.

IU offers an interactive tool to help students see which washers and dryers on campus are available. Reporters from the Indiana Daily Student collected information from this app every 30 minutes for two weeks. Here’s what they found:

Note: No data is available at 4 a.m. due to overnight server resets.


Floor 3 of the Civic Leaders Center is like any other floor in Briscoe’s Gucker building. One difference, however, is the whiteboard on the door to its laundry room.

Freshman Grace Shuette said there was a spat on her floor dubbed “Laundrygate,” where a student’s clean clothes were removed from the washer and left on the machine so another student could use the machine. This led to a brouhaha between the students — other floormates joined in by creating memes for the floor’s GroupMe. The floor’s resident assistant eventually put up a board on the laundry room door where students doing laundry entered their time in.

“I think the white board system is a great idea as long as everyone remembers to write their name,” Schuette said. “It’s worked for the most part, but sometimes our RA has to remind us in the group chat to put our names down.”


Night owls

The heatmap above shows that residents of Campus View Apartments do their laundry later in the day. Their laundry rooms record higher-than-average activity until 1 a.m. On the other hand, laundry use at Wright Quad typically tapered off around 10:30 p.m.

Civic Leaders Center lead Briscoe in laundry use

The Civic Leaders Center in Briscoe’s Gucker tower did more laundry than any other floor in Briscoe, with the exception of Gucker Floor 9. Our reporters did some digging, but found the number of students living in the center was approximately consistent with floor occupancy through the rest of the building.


The busiest laundry room is Eigenmann Floor 12

Eigenmann's Floor 12 laundry room was the busiest, according to our analysis. The six washers and six dryers in this laundry room were in use about 56 percent of the time — far above the campus-wide average of 27 percent.

In second place was Briscoe's Gucker Floor 2 laundry room, which was in use about 52 percent of the time.

Ghost town

Laundry rooms in Bicknell and Hepburn, two buildings in the BBHN apartments, were unused when gathering data. Tim Stockton, director of administration for Residential Programs and Services, said they were unoccupied and scheduled for demolition. RPS was in the process of salvaging appliances such as washers, dryers and refrigerators, which is why the laundry rooms were still connected to the system.

“The decision to close Bicknell and Hepburn were made in spring of 2019 by Facilities Operations based on the conditions of the buildings and the Indiana University-Bloomington campus long-term master plan,” Stockton said.


Suspicious dryer use

Dryer 4 on Briscoe’s Gucker 10 was in use continuously from 10:30 p.m. Aug. 4 until 11:30 a.m. the next day. Whether one resident really liked warm clothes or everyone coincidentally used the same dryer 13 times in succession, we’ll never know.

So, when should I do my laundry?

After averaging out laundry usage across all residence centers with data available, the best time to do laundy is at 6 a.m. The worst time, predictably, is 3 p.m. Using the table below, you can find the best time to do laundry in your residence center. If the red line is below the black line, the laundry machines are being used below average.

About this story

A web crawler was built to scrape information from the Laundry Status app every 30 minutes between Aug. 31 and Sept. 14. Our reporters analyzed this data with Excel and visualized it using graphing libraries.

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