When should you do laundry?

    There comes a point when you have to do your laundry – and there are fewer things in life more tragic than marching all the way down to the laundry room, only to find that every single machine filled. 

    We at NBN want to help you avoid this all-too-common scenario. To do this, we tracked data from LaundryView for each undergraduate residential building, averaging machine activity over a 14-day span. Blank regions are the most preferable times to do laundry; light–green regions are acceptable; and dark–green regions are best avoided. Search for your building below:

    Production by Matthew Zhang / North by Northwestern
    Data Source: LaundryView

    Trends and disclaimers

    The distributions for each specific dorm are surprisingly variable. You might find the laundry machines going off at almost any hour in Sargent Hall or the South Mid–Quads, whereas the residents of Bobb–McCulloch Hall save most laundry shenanigans for the afternoons and nights.

    There may be a couple of other factors behind this variability besides each dorm’s idiosyncrasies. One possibility is that two weeks is a relatively small time span to collect data, so outliers aren’t averaged out as much; and the other is that there is only an average of approximately seven usable machines in each dorm, and this smaller range also introduces noise into the data.

    However, grouping all dorms together produces a better picture of the average laundry activity across campus. There’s a higher frequency of finding completely occupied machines during weekends – Saturday more than Sunday – and the highest probability of all machines being available during the weekdays is during Tuesday and Wednesday. As far as time of day goes, going to the laundry room before noon is your best bet to finding an empty machine. Waking up early may be a tough sacrifice, but when disaster strikes, you’ll always know that you’ll have clean linen.


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