Okay, college freshmen, I’m talking to you today. Welcome to Laundry 101. You’ve probably spent the last few weeks with your parents purchasing bedding, mini fridges, laptops and cases of Ramen Noodles, but how much time have you spent learning how to do laundry from Mom? Aside from your classes, how to do your own laundry will be one of the most valuable lessons you learn in college. Don’t count on taking your laundry home to Mom on breaks and weekends. Trust me, you’re going to need clean clothes before those come along. So assert some independence and follow these basic laundry tips.
Most college dorms have communal laundry rooms, so be sure to get a laundry bag or basket you can easily tote to the laundry room. If you’re a style conscious student, you can find canvas laundry bags that can come in several different colors and can even be monogrammed. Laundry doesn’t have to be boring or ugly! It’s also a good idea to get a laundry caddy to make carrying detergents and stain remover easier. (BONUS TIP: Avoid lugging around large containers of detergent by staying stocked up on Roux Maison’s powerful 6x concentrated detergents!)
So now that you have all of the laundry essentials, what are you supposed to do with them? Before you head to the laundry room, there are still a few things that need to be done before those clothes are ready to be tossed in the suds.
- Zip all zippers, unbutton buttons, secure all Velcro, and fasten any other closures
- Pretreat stains by blotting with stain remover from back to front
Sort, Sort, Sort!
Sorting may seem like a useless way to spend precious socializing time, but it truly can be the difference in the life and death of your clothing. And the great thing is that it’s not even hard! The simplest way to sort is to make four different piles of whites, colors, denim, and linens (towels and sheets). Now some people prefer to do more or fewer categories but these are the ones we recommend. Not sorting laundry can seriously damage clothing, so take the time to do it. Your clothes will thank you.
If you don’t want to bother with sorting right before heading to the laundry room, invest in multiple hampers or one hamper with multiple compartments to easily grab and go. This not only cuts down on time, but also saves you from potential laundry disasters like a red sweater finding its way into your white clothes.
Establish a Routine
One of the most important parts of being successful at laundry in college is to be consistent with when you do it. Whether you do it on Mondays at noon or at midnight on Saturdays, stick to a routine. The best time to do laundry is at an unpopular point in the day. This is usually going to be early in the morning or late at night on weekends and in the middle of the day on weekdays. By choosing times like these to do your laundry, you’ll have more washers available to you so you can get more loads done at once.
Check the Washer
Before you start throwing in your clothes, look in the washer and the soap dispensers to make sure they are empty. You don’t want to put your favorite T-shirt in the washer with a tube of someone else’s lipstick. Not only is it gross, it’ll ruin your clothes! Also make sure the soap dispenser doesn’t have any bleach in it before you turn on the washer. It’s pretty simple: just take a quick peek inside the washer. You might even find some free change!
Start Your Laundry
Now that you’ve done all the prep work, it’s time to get some laundry done! It may seem like a daunting task, but it’s really quite simple. Just follow these steps and you’ll have fresh, clean clothes just like Mom washed them!
- Check your labels to be sure they can be machine-washed!
- Choose your cycle. It’s usually best to choose the most delicate cycle to keep your clothes looking their best.
- Wash on cold. Yes, your clothes are still going to get clean.
- Pour in your detergent BEFORE putting in your clothes.
- Use less detergent than the recommended amount. (Or just two capfuls of Roux Maison!)
- Don’t overstuff!! Only fill the washer about ¾ of the way with clothes. If the washer is too full, your clothes will not get clean and the washer can be damaged.
Stay with Your Clothes
You’re going to be tempted to toss your clothes in the washer and go grab something to eat or meet up with friends. Resist! Leaving your laundry unattended is a good way for your laundry to get disturbed, or worse, stolen. Bring along some homework or watch a movie on your laptop. Just find a way to pass the time while remaining in the laundry room.
Fold and Hang Immediately
Another reason to stay with your clothes is so they don’t sit in the dryer for hours, turning into a wrinkled mess. Take your clothes out of the dryer as soon as they’re done and start folding. Just make sure the top of the dryer is clean before you lay your freshly cleaned clothes on top of it. Folding and hanging immediately reduces the need for ironing and saves you time!
Laundry isn’t the most fun part of college, but it’s definitely necessary. Armed with these laundry tips, you’ll look like a seasoned laundry pro instead of a freshman. And if you ever find yourself in a laundry bind, be sure to check our cleaning tip resources on our website. It’s like Cliff Notes for proper laundry care!