college student

A College Student’s Guide to Washing Clothes

Starting college and are living away from home for the first time can be overwhelming, to say the least. Check out this college student’s guide to washing clothes. Learning how to live on your own and how to keep up with everything takes time. Just finding your classes can feel like an insurmountable challenge. Then you add to that the need to buy food, study, exercise, and find the time to do your laundry. Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to take laundry home on the weekends. 

a cartoon of a college student's guide to washing clothes

Before you venture out to the laundry room, make sure you have the necessary items. You’re going to need the basics, such as detergent, dryer sheets, a clothes basket, and depending on the laundry room, at least $5.00 in quarters.  

The next step is sorting your clothes. Put all the whites and very light colors together, darks together, delicates, and finally your towels, jeans, and bedding. Reading the tags on your clothes will make sure that you don’t wash dry clean only clothes or put things in at the wrong temperature. Or you could do like I did and just put all the darks in one load and all the whites in another. That’s not the best plan, since it will cause most of your clothes to wear out quickly, and none of your laundry will be very clean at all. Plus, there is the added problem of your delicates getting beat up pretty quickly. I eventually learned the proper ways to launder and found it to be much more successful. 

A College Student’s Guide to Washing Clothes in a Dorm

If you are using the laundry room in a dorm, try to plan on a time when it won’t be as busy. You’d be surprised how many people will leave their clothes in the washer in the middle of the day. When you know you’re going to be up late studying, go ahead and take that time to do a few loads as well. I found that I could usually get 2 or 3 machines later at night but would be lucky to get 1 during the day.  

What settings should you use? The tags on your clothing will generally tell you if they need to be on a delicate cycle or regular. Watch out for hand wash only items as well. A few generalities are that whites use hot water, as well as towels and linens. Use cold water for delicates and anything you think may shrink. Warm water will work for everything else.  

What Detergent to Use

a college students guide to washing clothes

When you put in the detergent, make sure to look at the package for the proper amount, then use a little less than that. A little detergent goes a long way. Some people use fabric softener as well. Once it’s loaded, choose the size of the load, then set the cycle on the type you are washing.  A full load doesn’t mean that it’s stuffed to the top of the washer. It means the load is about 2/3 full. Half-full or less is a small load. Don’t stuff it completely full or the clothes won’t come clean. Start the washer and wait until it’s done, then transfer everything that isn’t going to shrink into the dryer. Generally, everything can go on normal, unless the tags say otherwise. It is always better to err on the side of caution and use a drying rack for things that may shrink. 

Make sure that you stay on top of your wash. You don’t want to be the person that everyone else is getting mad at because you forgot about a load in the washer. Set a timer on your phone for a reminder. And lastly, fold your clothes right away so they don’t get all wrinkled up in your basket.