Saturday, September 25, 2010

Apartment Life

I just went down to do a load of laundry (I was at a workshop all day, and then dinner with my dad... I'll do most of it tomorrow, but I thought I'd get one load done today before it's too late), and found that there was clumps of powdered soap all over the top of the washer. Given that I've never noticed this before, I figured it was the new people across the hall who did something to cause the clumps.

Clumps of soap on the top indicate three things:
1. The laundry was added first, then the soap. (This is how I did it growing up, but it seems that washing machines in apartments are finicky. I suspect it's probably because they're designed to be cheap without needing lots of maintenance, rather than being designed to wash the clothes well. Apartment washing machines seem to like having the soap added first. They also seem to do better with liquid detergent.)
2. Possibly too much soap was used.
3. Possibly the washer was too full.

Since the latter two tend to result in poorly washed clothes, and I don't feel like spending 20 minutes each week cleaning out the washer, I thought I'd give some tips to the new neighbours on how best to coax clean clothes from the apartment laundry facilities. (I admit that the selfish reasons were foremost in my mind, but I didn't go over with an "I just spent 20 minutes cleaning up your mess" approach. I checked first that they used powdered soap, mentioned that there had been clumps, and then gave them tips to avoid it from happening and get better results.)

Turns out my neighbours don't speak much English. Do you know how hard it is to convey the idea of soap clumps and how to avoid them when you don't speak the same language? I think I got the point across, and hopefully I didn't offend them. They were still smiling when I left, so hopefully things are okay.

Update: Laundry problem diagnosed. I just went down to put my laundry in the dryer, and the neighbour's laundry was still there. (The husband had put the laundry in, and then left with the key to the laundry room.) There were more soap clumps in the lint catcher... and at *least* two loads worth of laundry in the dryer. (Both lights and darks. This husband obviously needs some proper laundry training. I'll leave that for the wife to do, though.) I asked the neighbour if she minded if I took it out, and she said that was fine. I then offered to bring it up for her. She thought it would be a bother for me, but I said I didn't mind. It was still rather damp (due to the over-full load), but I brought it up for her anyway. I don't know if they normally air-dry the rest of the way, or if they'll put it in for another drying time later. I told them the problem was definitely due to overfilling. I'm guessing they come from somewhere that uses those low-water washing machines that work just fine if you pack in the clothes.

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