College: Doing Laundry

Laundry:  It’s one of those things that we tend to take for granted while living at home unaware at both the extent of our clothes-wearing-habits as well as the time it takes to wash, dry, fold, and even iron our favorite pieces.  While I certainly have ruined my fair share of items over the past couple of years via dormitory washing machines, I’ve picked up on some easy tips that can reduce one’s likelihood of screwing something up.

Laundry Tips002

Tip 1:  Sort Your Clothing.  

You cannot wash everything in one wash drum at one time with one packet of detergent.  Sort your clothing by color:

  • DARKS:  Darker undergarments, socks (if you use them), jeans, dark dress-shirts, or anything else (minus sweaters) that are navy, black, grey, brown, etc.
  • WHITES:  Everything that is predominately white (it’s ok if it has a subtle green stripe or something similar) should go in its separate pile in order to prevent any kind of bleeding.
  • LIGHTS:  Whether it be neon yellow or bright pink, put everything that’s left into the last pile to be washed on its own.

Tip 2:  Towels & Sheets Should be Washed Separately

Never wash (or dry) your towels or sheets with clothing.  Towels are major lint producers and will require your clothes to be washed again due to them being covered in debris from your linens.

Tip 3:  Never Wash Your Down Comforter:

Down is always dry clean only.  I try to get my down comforter laundered at least once a semester, but this is just a personal preference.

Tip 4:  Be Wary of New Clothes:

Read labels and be cautious when you wash new items.  If something is dark (like a pair of jeans) it might be best to wash them separately to spare yourself any trouble.

Tip 5:  Air Dry The Nice Stuff

From jeans, to OCBDS, to casual shirts, I let my “nicer” items tumble in the dryer (with a fabric softener) on delicate for 5-7 minutes and then put them on hangers to finish air drying.  This helps to prevent any shrinkage and will also keep the shirts looking less wrinkled in the end.

Tip 6:  Never Wash on Hot Water

Washing with hot water usually results in something being shrunk.  Unless you’re want to wash WHITE shorts, shirts, undershirts, etc., I would advise to never touch the setting unless the directions on your item specifically tells you to do this.

Tip 7:  Warm / Cold or Cold / Cold Are Safe Settings

Use these settings for clothes and sheets.  If you can set the washer on “permeant press,” do this as it’s a bit more gentle in washing your items.

Tip 8:  Dry Clean Sweaters

I know you can “technically” wash sweaters, but I advise against it.  Once you have several items that need to be professionally cleaned, take them to your local dry cleaner.  Be sure to mention that you are a student as there’s a good chance they are affiliated with your university and will give you a small discount.

Tip 9:  Stains

Before washing an item that has been stained, find a stain treater, spray it on, rub it in, and wash with warm water.  If the stain does not come out after it is treated in the washing machine, DO NOT put it in the dryer as the stain will “set.”  Whenever I can’t get something out using the above method, I usually just send it to the dry cleaners as a last-resort.

Tip 10: Set a Date

You would be surprised how many clothes can accumulate over a two-week time period.  Find a day that’s convenient with your schedule and make it a priority to get your laundry done on that day before your pile turns into a mountain.  Sure it’s a hassle, but it keeps your life organized and your responsibilities a little more manageable.


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