While it may not be the most glamorous apartment amenity out there, laundry facilities are important! Where and how you do laundry has a big impact on your apartment living experience. Seriously,  who wants to haul dirty clothes to the laundromat or their parent’s house week after week? 

There are a few laundry options out there, including in-building, on-site and in-unit. But what does in-unit laundry mean, and what are the perks of in-building vs. in-unit vs. on-site laundry? And most importantly, which is best for you? 

What is In-Unit Laundry?

What does in-unit laundry mean? In-unit laundry refers to a washer and dryer located inside your apartment. Usually, you’ll find them in closet space in a hallway, bathroom, or kitchen. If you live in a townhouse, you may have a laundry room on the lower floor or in the basement.

Since space is at a premium in an apartment, the washer and dryer are usually of the stackable variety, but they could also be arranged side-by-side. You might even run across a combination washer and dryer unit, which is very common in other parts of the world.

Another option you may find is an apartment or townhouse advertising washer and dryer hookups, thus providing the possibility of in-unit laundry. In this case, the resident is responsible for purchasing or renting their own washer and dryer.

In-Unit vs. In-Building Laundry

In-building laundry means washers and dryers are located outside your apartment, but in the same building, perhaps on the lower level or in another communal area. Because the appliances are located inside your building, you don’t have to worry about dragging your laundry outside in bad weather.

Unlike in-unit laundry, these washers and dryers are typically shared with other residents in your building. A general rule of thumb is one set of washer and dryer per every 10-to-15 apartment units, according to the Multi-Housing Laundry Association

In-Unit vs. On-Site Laundry

Similar to in-building, on-site laundry is located outside of your apartment. But unlike in-building laundry, on-site laundry can be located elsewhere on the property.

On-site laundry might mean there is a separate, dedicated building for washers and dryers. It can also mean that there are several laundry rooms throughout the community, each to be shared by a different group of apartments. With on-site laundry, you may have to go outside to another building to wash and dry your clothes. Depending on the size of the apartment community and the location of the laundry room, that could be a bit of a walk, so don’t forget your communal laundry supply kit.

Is it Better to Have In-Unit Laundry

While in-unit laundry is a convenient option, it isn’t the best option for every renter.


  • Privacy – You don’t have to take your laundry outside of your apartment.
  • Convenient – Do laundry whenever you want, and leave it unaccompanied without worrying about someone waiting for you to finish.
  • Payment – The cost of an in-unit laundry facility is already included in the rent, and you don’t have to pay per load.


  • Cost – Rent is usually slightly higher for apartments with in-unit laundry. And, if utilities are not included in the rent, you’ll pay more for those as well.
  • Maintenance – Residents become responsible for keeping the machines clean and alerting the property manager to any issues that might come up. If the in-unit washer breaks, it can cause a huge headache for you and your neighbors.
  • Space – An in-unit washer and dryer take up square footage that might otherwise be used for storage or an extra closet.

Southern Management Can Get Your Laundry Spinning

Whether it’s in-building vs. in-unit vs. on-site laundry, Southern Management’s apartment communities have a variety of convenient and affordable clothes care options. No matter what your laundry preferences are, we have a setup that meets your needs.

At Southern Management, our priority is to provide amenities that improve our residents’ quality of life. Our apartment laundry facilities are aimed at saving time, money, and providing the best experience possible.

Browse our more than 75 communities throughout Maryland and Northern Virginia, many of which have in-building, on-site, or in-unit laundry facilities. Contact our team to learn more today!