Laundry logic on spin cycle

Why do we have the same number of washing machines and dryers at each laundry installation on campus? A washer load runs for around half an hour, while a dryer load requires a full hour, meaning that dryer availability is the limiting factor. Let’s say that all of the washers are used simultaneously. Half an hour later, all of those clothes can be moved to the dryers, leaving the washers open. But if people were to use the washers at that point, their clothes would finish washing while the dryers were only half way through the drying process. Thus, they would have nowhere to dry their clothes. If even more people came in to use the washers next, the backlog would only build further. Put another way, an installation with four washers and four dryers has the capacity to wash 192 loads every day.

But it can only dry 96 of those loads. These excess washers are a waste of space and, as a practical matter, frequently leave wet clothing to wrinkle and collect dust in the laundry room because no dryers are available.

With a new generation of laundry machines coming in this summer (as reported by the Record on March 4), perhaps the administration could take care to ensure that we have equivalent washing and drying capacities at our disposal.

Oren Cass ‘05