Laundry wars: The case of the angry camper

Dear Chuck,
letters to the editorI had something happen this weekend when I did the laundry and I’m wondering if anyone else encountered this situation and what did they do. Here’s the scenario:
The campground laundromat has four washers and three dryers. One dryer doesn’t work. One is a heavy duty dryer. The other is a regular stackable dryer like you have at home. Someone has a load in the dryer [towels in this case] but isn’t around. I do three loads of wash – permanent press dark colors, permanent press light colors, and a load of towels and whites. The wash ends and I put the light colors in the small dryer.
A few minutes later the heavy duty dryer ends. I check the items – mostly towels – and they are very hot [my fingers are almost burning] and feel dry so I remove them, placing them on the folding table. I put my two loads in the heavy duty dryer and start it. Maybe ten minutes later the lady with items that were in the dryer comes in and informs me – in no uncertain words – that SHE has use of the dryer, has two more loads, and her items, after checking them, are NOT dry! I again checked a couple of towels and said, “They seem dry to me.” She was livid and left.
A few minutes later another camper comes in with one load of clothes. I inform him about this other person who has claim to the dryer and what happened. He said, “It sounds like the same woman I ran into two weeks ago.” He feels the load of towels on the table and agrees that they are indeed dry.
A FEW MINUTES LATER this woman comes in and the other gentleman nods his head ‘yes’ meaning it’s the same woman. She stands and watches my load finish drying. I remove the clothes and place them in my clothes hamper.
My questions is: Was I wrong to take her items out of the dryer? Should I have waited another hour or more while she dried two more loads? Has anyone had a similar experience and, if so, what did they do? Sit and wait? Remove the dry items? Take the wet clothes back to the RV to put on hangers to dry?
I’m just curious and thought this might be a question you could pose ‘to the masses’ that read the newsletter. —Tom Gutzke
Hi Tom,

If I were doing laundry, and someone had left their finished laundry in a washing machine or dryer and then left the laundry to return later, I would do what you did if there were no available empty machines. How did you know if the woman would return in ten minutes or an hour? If she wanted to do another load, then she should have been there when the current load finished.

I hope other readers will comment and take our quick poll. — Chuck

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Rory R

Before we bought our home and put in our own washer/dryer, we ran into this same situation in a laundramat. So when we bought our RV, one of the requirements was that it had it’s own washer & dryer. Color me a happy camper. We store dirty clothes in the washer and wash maybe 2 loads a week. We bypass CG laundramats and don’t have to go looking for commecial laundramats. Sounds like we are missing out on all the fun…


At one park in New Mexico, the laundry room was next to the office so we asked the staff person if it was okay to remove items left in the machines. She said she would do it; their policy was to let staff handle it so patrons did not have to deal get into a disagreement over it.

I noticed that she donned protective gloves when removing the laundry. Never occurred to me what I might find in others’ laundry!

We recently noticed more and more parks using coded door locks so that only park patrons can access the laundry room.

lauren oliver

I have a portable washer in my rv that I set on my counter top (drains in sink) love it! See Amazon. Also I dry all my clothes either outside with Mrs. Peg portable clothesline or I put Mrs. Peg in my garage (TH). There’s so many portable drying devices out there. I usually dry all sheets and blankets outside. Remove all evidence after clothes dry. and, finally, if I need to use laundry mat at campground I go late—around 10 pm I have no laundry stress.


OMG! If we can’t get along doing laundry I fear our country is in deep do-do! I know this sounds old but…. why can’t people just get along?

Pete Almasi

I only place in one days worth of clothes in a nylon bag with a giant clothes pin keeping the bag closed.
Could care less if anyone took my clothes out unless the machine was still going when they took them out.
But I’m respectful and set my five watch Basel when I have to leave let’s say for a head call.
Signed old Navy salt.

Kyle Clevenger

If you wish to retain use of the dryer then remain with your loads. In my opinion, if you walk away and your cycle ends that machine is fair game. The only thing I would add is be considerate with the clothes you remove, i.e., do not just toss them on the floor.


Well, it didn’t have her name on it….. just sayin


I’ve been happily married for 48 years. What’s a washing machine ?



When I retired I decided to pursue a stress free life and have managed to do that most of the time. I take my laundry and my Kindle to the campground laundromat and plan to stay awhile. The best part is that I have met some great friends there. My advice- don’t leave your laundry. Be a good camper.


When I was visiting in Central Florida several years ago, I noticed a sign prominently displayed that informed patrons that if their laundry is left unattended, then the next person waiting for the machine is entitled to remove it. I remarked with amusement (an approval) about this to the attendant, and she informed me that they get a lot of snowbirds in there. For 6 to 9 months of the year, they use their own laundry machines at home, and when they snowbird, they feel the same entitlement to “owning” the machine until they get around to removing their laundry. To the laundromat, an idle machine that is not being used while customers are waiting is lost money. She also informed me of several incidents when a snowbird complained to her about someone else removing their clothes, saying they had only “stepped out for just a few minutes”, but the attendant knew that because of how long the cycle of the machines are and when people “step out for just a few minutes” it is typically just after they start the machine, that the irate customer probably actually left about 45 minutes earlier.


Prior to having my own W/D in my 5er, I tried using the park’s but ran into this problem all the time. I even laid out their shirts or pants so they wouldn’t wrinkle. After being berated multiple times (usually by the same 2 people) I started using the local laundry mat. Then I discovered wash-dry-fold service. I could drop it all off with hangers and they would do it all for $1 a pound. As a person with limited mobility, it was totally worth it. They tried to dry every thing on hot so you just have to be specific about what you want. They even loaded it in my car for me.


We only use rv park laundries when the machines are empty or nothing else is nearby. Commercial laundries have many machines and we can do multiple loads and get out quicker. When we use an rv park laundry we take a book or an iPad with us and sit it out. Only fair to others.


You did the right thing. If you have to leave the laundry room set your phone alarm to return in time to pull it out of the dryer. Come on campers Let’s be nice to each other!!!

Pat Re

Way too many times I have encountered the RUDE people who leave their laundry in the machines until it is convenient for them to remove them. I’ve encountered a few times when I have removed laundry from machines, done my load, put in dryer and then they come back to collect their laundry — finally. They were then indignant that they still had to wait for a dryer (I was using). Even encountered a few times when I removed someone’s completed laundry, put it on the table, did my laundry, completed and left. Came back the next day and their wet laundry was still on the table! So many times I have been so tempted to just leave their washed or dried laundry on the floor, or worse.

Jacques Marcotte

You did right guy! I would have told her to go climb a pole! Rude people like that really bring out the ugly in me!

Kostyal Don

It isn’t your home it is a public laundry. Stay and watch your operation or set a timer and be back before the load finishes. Every place I have stayed or worked has had the policy that clothes should be removed from machines promptly when finished. Anything short of this is just plain RUDE!


Taking the clothes out is perfectly acceptable. As others have said bring a book and wait like others in the world do. Too many people think it’s all about them.

Captn John

Always used the laundry until one day ~~ a nice lady came in and talked while getting 2 washers loaded. As she turned to leave it looked like she missed her last trip to the toilet by 5 minutes. We use washer/dryer separates in the 5er. Found the combos take too long and don’t do the best job at drying either.

John T

There’s a sign in the Quartzsite, AZ, laundromat saying that if you leave your clothes in the dryer, they will be removed and folded for you at a rate of $7 (I think it was) per pound.

I boondock full time, so I check laundromat ratings on yelp to choose which one to go to. Yelp has not led me to a bad one yet. I find barbers the same way.

Patti L

There is a great laundromat close to the RV park we use and I am a regular there. Brand new high efficiency machines and plenty of them. At the other park where we end our season for now, they have a washer and dryer in a large common building with plenty of tables, chairs, book exchange, board and card games. It’s the end of the season for them and so very quiet. I take a book and relax while making sure my laundry is in and out. But, I would have done the same thing-remove the dry and ignore the inconsiderate.