For many young adults, college is the first time they have to do their own laundry by themselves. It can be challenging to know what to buy, how often to do laundry and what exactly you need to do. While lugging your laundry home every two weeks may seem easier, the best time to do laundry in college is weekly. With this guide to washing clothes 101, doing your own laundry will be a breeze. You’ll always have clean clothes to wear, and you’ll be a pro in the campus laundry room.
The most important part of doing laundry is preparation. To get the best results, you need to sort your clothes and learn which pieces of clothing need which setting on the machine.
Sort Your Clothes
Many students know you’re supposed to sort by color but still choose not to. If you want your clothes to last longer, you need to know how to separate laundry by color and by material:
Colors: Sort your clothes into at least two piles. One should be for whites and lights, the other for darks and colors. If you wash them together, the whites will become less white over time. You shouldn’t dry whites and colors together either.
Heavy and light: If you’ve ever gotten a clean article of clothing out of the washer or dryer and noticed a new hole, it could be due to a sorting problem. Heavy clothes and items with zippers or rough fixtures can get caught on lightweight materials and rip them.
You should also consider your delicate items and clothing with special washing instructions. All your clothing should have a tag telling you how the manufacturer recommends you wash that item. Three main types of laundry symbols and variations of each type indicate how you should wash, bleach and dry that article of clothing.
When doing your laundry, look for these symbols:
Wash symbols: These symbols look like a glass filled with water. They’ll tell you which setting you should use on the machine — normal, permanent press or delicate — or if you should hand wash or dry clean your clothes.
Bleach symbols: This triangle symbol indicates whether you can use any kind of bleach, only non-chlorine bleach or no bleach at all.
Dry symbols: Dry symbols look like a square with a circle inside. They indicate which setting you should dry your clothes on — normal, permanent press, delicate or no dryer at all.
Wash Your Laundry
When putting your clothes in the washing machine, remember these guidelines before you hit that “Start” button:
Laundry detergent: Not all college laundry rooms supply detergent, so make sure you have your own. You can purchase regular liquid or convenient single-use detergent pods.
Water temperature: Check the temperature settings on the washing machine. You can wash most clothes with warm water, but use cooler water with dark and bright colors or delicate fabrics to avoid colors bleeding.
Overloading the machine: Be careful to avoid overloading the washing machine. You want to ensure enough room in the machine for everything to move around once it’s filled with water, or your clothes may not get as clean.
Dry Your Clothes
Time to get those freshly washed clothes dry and ready to wear! Before you throw your clothes in the dryer, remember these helpful drying tips:
Check the lint trap: Avoid potential fire hazards by always checking the dryer’s lint trap before use! Clearing the lint trap also keeps your clothes from coming out covered in fuzz and can even help your clothes dry faster.
Dryer sheets are your friends: Dryer sheets reduce static build-up in your clothes and add softness to your laundry. Plus, they can add a pleasant, fresh scent to your clothes.
Get a collapsable drying rack: If you don’t feel like dealing with the hassle of waiting for a dryer to open up or have clothes that aren’t safe for the dryer, consider buying a collapsable drying rack. You can neatly air-dry garments without constantly taking up valuable floor space in your dorm or apartment.
Don’t Forget to Fold!
The final step of the laundry process is the most annoying and tedious for many people, but trust us, it’s necessary! When you leave your clothes crumpled in your laundry basket after taking them out of the dryer, they’re likely to become wrinkled. Why undo all your hard work washing them by letting them go unfolded?
You can choose from several different folding methods. Have a lot of clothes and not enough space? The rolling technique is popular for saving space in closets and suitcases. Want to ensure you don’t get any wrinkles in your new top? Put it straight onto a hanger when you’re unloading the dryer. If you want precision, you can invest in portable folding stations that give your clothes consistent, uniform folds.
Laundry Tips for College Students
These additional helpful tips will help you become a pro at doing laundry while away at school. Following these tips can help you avoid mishaps in your campus laundry room.
Check your pockets: It’s a good habit to always check your pockets before throwing your clothes in the washing machine. You could find something as harmless as loose change or something more harmful to your clothes, like lip balm.
Wash your towels separately: Towels are generally heavier and bulkier than other laundry items, so we recommend you wash them separately to avoid damaging your more delicate items.
Turn clothes inside out: Turning your clothes inside out before putting them in the washer will decrease the chances of color fading. Additionally, it’ll help defend your clothes against friction from rubbing against other garments.
Wash new clothes: New articles of clothing can contain dispersed dyes, which can cause allergic contact dermatitis. The best way to avoid this or lessen the chances of a reaction is to wash your new clothes before wearing them to eliminate any excess dye still present.
Use a washing bag: If you’re worried about your more delicate clothing, consider purchasing a washing bag, which can prevent your clothes from being tossed around as much in the washing machine.
Wash your sheets weekly or biweekly:Regularly washing your bedsheets rids them of skin cells, sweat and oils that collect there. You sleep in your bed every night for hours at a time, leaving plenty of opportunities for gunk to accumulate. Keep your sheets clean by washing them regularly.
Best Laundry Detergent for College Students
We highly recommend investing in pod detergents because of their convenience. Regular liquid or powder detergents can be a pain when you have to lug those giant containers along with your dirty clothes into your dorm’s laundry room. Plus, you’re more likely to make a mess if you accidentally drop the container or overfill the measuring cup.
You can wash your clothes confidently with detergent pods, knowing you’re using just the right amount of detergent.
Visit Our Student Page
College life can be a whirlwind, and we understand that you’ve got better things to do than sit in your dorm’s laundry room, wondering how long your laundry will take. Caldwell & Gregory is proud to offer even more helpful tips on how to do laundry in college on our student page!