Moving away to college is a big transition. For many students, you’re on your own for the first time. Sure, you knew you were signing up for classwork and studying, but suddenly there are a whole bunch of other things you need to handle on your own, like scheduling, finding food, and of course, doing your own laundry. With this post, we’d like to provide some tips to help make laundry time easier. Here’s Laundry 101 for college students!
Get the Right Tools
To get started, you’ll need—aside from a laundry machine—a few other basic laundry-related items. Nothing here is particularly expensive, and it should all be easy to find:
- A laundry basket/hamper. This is the container that you’ll use to collect your dirty clothes until you have a chance to wash them. If you have enough space in your room, you can place the basket or hamper near your bed, in a closet, or in some other out-of-the-way spot. If your room is super-cramped and you really have no floor space available, there are even models that hang over the back of your door.
- Laundry detergent. Detergent is the one laundry item you absolutely cannot do without. For your athletic wear or for garments made with synthetic materials, opt for WIN Activewear Detergent. Our detergent has been designed specifically to remove odor from these pieces better than most regular detergents, which are designed to treat cotton instead.
- Hangers. While you can probably fold up and put away most of your clothes, some items should be hung up, like button-down shirts, blouses, jackets, skirts, and dress pants. Whether you have a large closet in your dorm room or just a standalone garment rack, having enough hangers on hand for your nicer items is a smart move.
- Optional items. Depending on your specific wardrobe and preferences, you may want to buy a few other items. These can include dryer sheets (to reduce static), fabric softener (to loosen up stiffer clothes), a mesh bag (for small items like bras and socks), a stain remover pen (if you tend to get messy), a lint roller (for fancy events), and/or an iron and ironing board. Again, these are not essential, but they can be useful depending on how you like to dress.
Find the Laundry Facility
If you’re living in a dorm, your school will likely have a laundry facility you can use. Its location should be pointed out during your freshman orientation, but if you miss it, simply ask an RA to help you find it. If you’re living off-campus, your residence may have a washer and dryer; otherwise, you’ll need to locate the closest laundromat in town.
5 Basic Rules to Follow
Doing laundry in college—or anywhere, really—is a fairly simple task. If you follow these basic rules, your laundry should come out shipshape:
- Stay on schedule. One of the biggest keys to managing your laundry is to do it regularly. If you let your dirty clothes pile high in your dorm room, those clothes will get extra stinky—and they might not get as clean as you would like, even after you wash them. Also, you might have to stuff the machine full if you have a big load to wash, which will make the wash cycle less effective (plus your load will take longer to dry). Establish a schedule for your laundry early on, and stick to it to avoid these problems.
- Use cold water. Most washing machines give you the option of hot or cold water. While hot water can do a good job of getting things clean, it’s usually best to stick with cold, so you don’t run the risk of accidentally shrinking some of your garments. Rather than checking the tag on every garment to see which can be washed warm vs. cold, just use cold water to keep things simple. In most cases, it will clean your items just as well, without the risk of damaging your clothing.
- Stay close. It might be tempting to put a load in the washer and then head off to do something else. By doing this, however, you run the risk of other people taking your clothes out to use the machine, and if the machine malfunctions, you won’t know it until much later. Laundry rooms can make great places to study. If yours isn’t so nice, set a timer and make sure you go retrieve your laundry when that timer goes off, so you can free up the machine for others.
- Separate colors when possible. Modern garments don’t tend to bleed or run as much as clothes from earlier eras, but it’s still a good idea to separate your laundry when you can. Specifically, keep red items out of loads that include white garments, because if the red clothes bleed, the white ones will come out pink.
- Try using a mesh bag. Most on-campus washing machines are going to be rougher on your clothes than high-end, residential units. To protect items like underwear, bras, and socks, try putting them in a mesh bag before they go in the wash. This will keep them from getting damaged or snagged, and it will also keep items like socks together, so you don’t lose anything.
Playing Nice with Others
You want to make friends at college, not enemies. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to follow some basic etiquette when using a shared laundry facility. For starters, if there is a lot of activity in the laundry room, don’t claim two washers to run your loads simultaneously; stick to one and come back later for a second load, if you must.
Another mistake is to leave your clean laundry sitting in a washer or dryer for hours at a time. If you decide to leave while your load is finishing up, be sure to come back promptly to claim your clothes. If you wait too long, you’ll put someone else in the awkward position of having to move your clothes out of the machine in order to wash or dry their own. Not only is that poor etiquette, but it also puts your clean clothes at risk of being dirtied all over again by a stranger.
Proper Clothes Storage
With a little practice, you’ll find that doing your own laundry is no problem at all. But then there’s the issue of putting them away. . .
As mentioned earlier, some of your clothes will need to be hung up. Save this treatment for nicer items, such as button-down shirts, dress pants, and dresses. By hanging them up quickly after they have finished drying, you can avoid wrinkles. You may also want to hang up a jacket or two during the winter months, as these might be too bulky to fold and put away.
For everything else, you’ll need to do a good job of folding to keep the items free from wrinkles. If you have a small dresser available in your dorm, that’s the perfect place for your clothes to live. If not, or if you need more space, you can buy shallow plastic bins that will enable you to store clothes under your bed.
Try WIN Activewear Detergent
If you find that your workout clothes or other synthetic pieces continue to stink even after you wash them, your detergent may be to blame. Order a bottle of WIN Activewear Detergent to clean these items and keep them smelling fresh. Our special formula is designed to wipe out odor from your activewear garments—and it’s just as budget-friendly as most regular detergents. Order a bottle today, and smell the difference for yourself!