I live in a shared house. Recently someone from India moved in. Though we have an electric clothes dryer, some of my clothes are not suitable to put inside. For example, a few dress pants, swimsuit, workout clothes (e.g. Under Armor), thermal underwear, should not go inside a clothes dryer. They should be hung to dry.

I had been using a collapsible laundry rack to hang my clothes to dry. I kept it in a common area (and told the roommates they are free to use it). I don't think it's hygienic drying clothes in my bedroom. The new roommate is very offended by my laundry. I tried to compromise and say I would only have it out one day and pack it up as soon as possible. She complained to the landlord. The landlord is also Indian.

I had a talk with them and realized they don't know some clothes can't go in the dryer. They have a lot of trouble understanding this. How can I explain it? Are there any websites? They just say they put all their clothes in and haven't had a problem. I guess when I was growing up most people had the unfortunate experience of putting something in the dryer that ruined it.

After I tried to explain that some clothes need to be air dried to my roommate, she said told me to speak to the landlord so he can build something. I don't think this will work, and he also seems to think anything can go in the dryer. Since it's necessary for me to clean my clothes at the extreme this is something I could move out over. I certainly don't want to go to extremes and I doubt the landlord wants me to move out.

EDIT: to everyone saying "think of other places" I already tried. Clothes won't dry outside in the winter. There's no space in the laundry room. There's no space in a closet (a comment suggest this). I am open to suggestions. I admit a common area is strange, but the space is there and I can't think of alternatives. I don't think my bedroom is good because there isn't enough space and the ventilation for moisture isn't good.

  • 1
    I suppose your goal is to make it clear to them that this is non-negotiable for you and/or reduce their offence. Is that right? It will probably be hard to convince them that their own experience is invalid, but you can nevertheless explain your limits based on your own. That said, you certainly can find websites saying what you want about dryer suitability. I doubt you'll find much saying it's unhygienic to dry clothes in your bedroom. Are you willing to compromise on that point? Common space might be a hard sell...
    – Euchris
    Sep 24, 2019 at 9:11
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    "I don't think it's hygienic drying clothes in my bedroom." - Why would your bedroom be any less hygienic than a common area? If anything, I would think a common area with more traffic would be less hygienic.
    – David K
    Sep 24, 2019 at 12:13
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    Personally, a landlord that didn't immediately say, "that's between you guys, don't bother me with this stuff" is a bit of a red flag. Also, by "common area" do you mean a shared dedicated laundry room? There's a difference between a laundry room and other regular use rooms.
    – pboss3010
    Sep 24, 2019 at 12:28
  • Reminds me of this (closed) question interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/22905/… Sep 24, 2019 at 12:28
  • 3
    Please don't answer in comments; comments are meant for requesting clarification or suggesting improvements. Also, a few of the comments here were suggesting "lifehack" solutions like other places to put the drying rack or disputing OP's concerns about hygiene - keep in mind that if you would like to write an answer, answers here need to address the interpersonal skills involved.
    – Em C
    Sep 25, 2019 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


First, you need to think very carefully about the logic you intend to use. For example "I think it's dirty and unhygienic so I don't want it in my bedroom but you all should be fine with it being in the common area" is illogical. If it's gross and dirty, then why should they have to put up with it? If it's fine, then why can't it be in your room? You may well have an answer here, something about moisture levels while you sleep or the length of time involved, but you have to get all that sorted out in your head before you start.

Second, you need to establish whether you're doing a perfectly normal North American thing that lots of people do (it's true that I hang things to dry on the staircase railings) or whether you are asking them for a favour because your shared home is small and the only way to get what you want is for them to accept some intrusion into the common space. Again, this is something you need sorted out in your head, you can't vacillate between insisting everyone does this and then asking them to just be nice.

Once you know your position, start by apologizing for acting unilaterally without consultation. Whether they think the drying rack (or looking at your underwear) is gross or not, it's a thing that takes up space in a common area, while benefiting only you, and you just did it without checking with anyone. You need to acknowledge that.

Then explain your position: how some of your clothes cannot go in the dryer, how you cannot sleep if clothes are drying in your room, how you cannot wait for the landlord to build something, and so on. Finally, ask if you can put (leave?) the rack in the common area, and what you can do as a favour to your housemates in return. Then listen. Some may say that it needs to be in a different common area, less convenient to you. Some may say it can't be anywhere. Try to work towards a consensus.

If everyone is saying "well, we are not interested in your laundry rules, if you want to be weird and air dry stuff, you can do it in your own space" do not escalate or say you will move out over it. Thank them for the discussion and considering your needs. Move the rack to your room. Take a day or so to think about whether you really will move out over it. You have options: dry the clothes in your room. Put them in the dryer and accept a shorter lifespan for the clothes, then replace them when you live alone. Dry them outside. Who knows what else. As long as "get my housemates to let me dry them in the common area" is on the table, you're not thinking about the other possibilities.

If you cannot think of any other approach that will work for you, and you will move out, before giving notice to the landlord tell the housemates your decision and why you have reached it. Perhaps (slight chance, but perhaps) they will relent rather than see you leave. In my experience of housemates (and those of my friends and family) no-one has ever given in when told "do x or I will move out" but once in a while, after a failed campaign for x and several tries at alternatives, has given in when the person started to move out over it. (Not always though, so don't say this till you really are going to move out.)

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