A load of crap: Laundry fees should be the least of our worries


Brady Saylor

Freshman Jack Brooks unloads laundry in Holmes Hall on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Brady Saylor | Staff

Bailey Darbro, Reporter

Dryer sheets, socks and scent beads lay scattered across the floor. 

Sidestepping the damage, I bundle up my clothes and shove them in the nearest washer only to discover the machine is out of order. 

The problems facing campus laundry facilities — ongoing maintenance issues, steep prices and lack of cleanliness — aren’t new. 

I’ve had my fair share of issues with the laundry room in my dorm. 

I’ve had to pay extra money to dry my clothes multiple times, and people have taken my laundry out of the dryer without my permission. 

There have been days where I’ve sat in the laundry room and waited over an hour for an open washer. 

At one point last semester, my dorm only had four washers available for 300 residents. The other two washers were out of order. 

I often question if doing laundry here is worth all the hassle. 

One load of laundry costs $1.50 to wash and another $1.50 to dry. These costs can add up quickly over a year and pose a financial strain on students. 

I’ve spent $350 on laundry this school year, not including detergent and softener costs.

That’s $350 I could’ve spent on textbooks, food or other necessities. 

The sticker price of room and board at UK is over $14,000. Why aren’t laundry expenses included under the category of “room?” 

After all, doing laundry is an essential part of living in the dorms. Students don’t have to pay extra to use the communal kitchens or bathrooms depending on which room layout they choose, both of which involve similar water and energy usage to washing machines. 

If we don’t have to pay to use basic utilities such as toilets, showers or microwaves, why should laundry machines be any different?

Room and board excludes the costs of tuition, books, transportation, groceries and personal items. These additional expenses put a financial strain on low income students. 

For students who are used to living at home and having access to shared family items, college life can be financially taxing. Charging students to clean their clothes adds even more weight to their burden. 

Other universities provide free laundry services for their students, including Northern Kentucky University, The Ohio State University and Xavier University. 

The University of Louisville offers a weekly laundry stipend for students. Each resident receives two wash cycles and two dry cycles each week, free of charge. The amount for these expenses is pre-loaded onto their student ID cards. 

No student should have to lay their clothes out to dry when they already paid for a dryer. 

No student should have the added burden of planning trips home just so they’ll have something to wear. 

No student should have to worry about laundry fees.