How to Do Laundry in College

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Laundry in College

It’s finally happened: you have a bag full of dirty clothes and an empty closet with no options. You can’t put it off any longer. It’s time to learn how to do laundry in college. This walkthrough will show you how to get your laundry done the right way.

Step 1: Set Aside the Time

Laundry doesn’t just magically do itself for you. You’ll need to budget some time to get each step done. For most college-style laundry machines, you’re looking about two hours per load for sorting, washing, and drying.

Step 2: Sort and Separate

If you care about the quality of your fabrics or if you rather just not risk a bright color “bleeding” onto others — you have to separate. (If you’re not that picky or are in a rush, skip ahead to step 3 and look for the **.)

To sort correctly, go first by fabrics. Check the tags for anything that has to be washed a specific way (such as wash cold, air dry). These are delicates. Then, sort the rest by color. The usual method is lights, darks, and brights. Again, if you’re in a rush, condense and combine darks and brights.

Step 3: Wash Cycle

Head down to the laundry room and select your washer. Go for an empty one as no one likes others touching their things, even if it’s been there for awhile. Follow the instructions on the lid in terms of pouring your detergent before or after you put in your clothes. Load in carefully, making sure no straps get tangled in the drum of the washer.

When setting the wash:

  • **In a rush? Set the machine on cold wash. This will keep your colors and prevent bleeding, even if you don’t separate.
  • For stinky, stained clothes, go with a rinse cycle on hot first WITHOUT detergent (unless the tag says cold wash only). You’ll have to pay for this wash, but it’s so worth it. After the rinse, wash cold with detergent. You may also want to consider cleaning any stains via a stain pen or spray (pre-treatment) or washing by hand in cold water.
  • For the clothes you sorted with special instructions, follow the tag and use the “delicate” or “fragile” settings.

Step 4: Drying

Here’s where tag reading comes in again. Lots of clothes can’t actually be dried, especially your dressier clothing. You can save money by air drying in your dorm room using a pop-up drying rack.

To use the dryer, first check the lint rack (usually on the inside of the machine) and remove all the fuzzy, linty pieces. This will prevent your clothes from pilling or even starting a fire! Then, add your clothes, along with a dryer sheet or dryer ball. There’s also liquid fabric softener which can be risky if you’re new to laundry as they can sometimes stain.

Follow the instructions on your dryer. Some will be timed (the more stuff, the longer the dry) while others will have dry qualities (such as delicate dry, low heat, high heat, etc.). Drying in a new machine is often trial and error, so don’t get frustrated if your items don’t come out too warm. The worst thing you can do is overheat, so start on the moderate side of drying.  

Don’t go too far while washing or drying. It’s a foul to leave your wash in too long and hold up any lines.

Once done, you’re officially a laundry rockstar! Start getting a schedule down so you know the best times to get your chores done. You’ll soon forget what it is like to never have done laundry before!

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Katherine Carpenter

Katherine Carpenter

Hi I'm Katherine! I love DIY projects, especially ones that I can use to make my dorm room pop! My favorite flavor of ice cream is mint chocolate chip, especially when it's on a cone. I love hanging out with my sorority sisters and giving back to the community. Always remember to live, laugh and love!