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Taken to the cleaners: Students pay $718 a year for laundry service

By Laura Fitzgerald, Senior Staff Writer

When laundry day comes, many students lug basketfuls of dirty clothes to and from their residence hall basement, hunkering down with books and laptops to wait for the machines to stop spinning.

However, some on-campus students skip this chore and, instead, use Miami's laundry service.

These students put their clothes in a padlocked cloth bag issued by the university and take it to their basement on a designated day every week. It returns by the afternoon, washed, folded and wrapped in plastic.

According to Director of Residential Services Stacy George, 377 students use the service this semester, which charges $359 a semester to the student's bursar bill. Students may check a box to sign up for the service when they sign their housing contracts or sign up on their MyCard account.

In comparison, one load of laundry cost $1.75 for the washer and dryer each, with 50 cents for extra dryer minutes, charged to the student's Mulaa. If a student does a load of laundry in the washer and dryer once a week for 15 weeks, that is $52.50 spent on laundry a semester, plus the cost of detergent.

George said students can also add and drop the service throughout the semester. If they decide to do so, the cost changes based on how many weeks the student has used the service.

According to the H.O.M.E office website, students may also be charged a $25 fee if they overfill their laundry bag, which means employees are unable to close the bag or it weighs considerably more than the weight limit of 20 pounds.

First-year Alex Foley uses the laundry service. He said it is not only convenient, but it saves him about two hours a week. It also saves his clothes, as he said he never did laundry at home and does not have to worry about mixing colors.

"It's not just the cost of the laundry and detergent and things like that," Foley said. "It's the amount of time you save, not having to worry about doing it."

Senior Daniel Saltzman used the service as a first-year. He said it was convenient, especially as he was adjusting to college life.

However, Saltzman did not use the service his sophomore year. He said he did not have a need for it anymore.

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"Plan your schedule right," Saltzman said. "You have time to do laundry."

The service was created in 2008 as a way to generate revenue, George said. It was modeled after University of Dayton's laundry service as a way to create jobs for Miami employees and save time for busy students.

"We felt that it was a service that students could find value in," George said. "Students always express that they are very busy and they don't have enough time."

Complaints are not reported often, but George said they range from wrinkled or stained clothes, to missing items, which could happen when clothes are accidentally mixed up.

In a previous article published in this newspaper in February 2014, several thefts of students both using and not using the laundry service were reported in the residence halls in Central Quad.

Miami employees are responsible for washing the clothes in the residents' own laundry room, George said.

George said the laundry services are a valuable option for those who choose to use it.

"It's not for everybody, obviously," George said. "But for some, they find value in it and would be willing to pay to have somebody else do laundry services for them."