College Life

10 Tips For Doing Laundry In College

Welcome to College Laundry 101! If you’ve made it to college, you’re certainly ready to tackle one of college’s initial challenges: doing laundry in college all by yourself. Although laundry is a rather simple chore, many have relied on their parents to replace the hamper filled with dirty laundry with neatly folded and clean-smelling laundry.

Those who have done laundry by themselves for a while now– kudos to you! Now, parents won’t be around to help with doing laundry in college. It’ll be your responsibility to not smell like the frat party from last night or like a locker room. Luckily, doing laundry in college is actually not such a complicated task. Keep reading as we review the basic laundry basics!

Main ingredients required for doing laundry in college:

Dirty clothing (No more than a laundry hamper/basket can fit)

Laundry hamper or tote bag

Detergent (Liquid or pods)

Every washer is different, but you’ll most likely find high efficiency washers at school, so you should buy detergent that’s labeled “HE.” Detergent that isn’t labeled “HE” will still get the job done, but high efficiency detergent is more compatible with high efficiency washers.

If you want to be really lazy or convenient (depending on how you look at it), you can buy Tide pods. These suckers you toss in with your load, and you don’t need to worry about measuring out the detergent or making a mess with it.

*Recommended detergents: Tide, Arm & Hammer, Gain, All, Purex

Fabric Softener (Optional)

Bleach (Optional)

Dryer sheets

*Recommended dryer sheets: Bounce, Downy

Form of payment (If necessary)


Step 1: Separate your clothes.

It isn’t always necessary to separate your clothes, but sometimes it is helpful. Separating whites from darks is necessary when you have a lot of white clothing that you want to brighten with bleach. (Never put bleach in the washer along with dark clothes!)

Separating clothes when doing laundry in college is also necessary sometimes to keep “delicate” items (undergarments, more expensive fabrics, etc) separate from other articles of clothing that are not as delicate (sweatshirts, towels, etc).

Step 2:

Once you fill the washer with a load of laundry, put your pod right in with it or a splash of detergent (there should be lines on the cap to guide the amount).

Don’t worry: the dye from the detergent will not stain your clothes!

If you are using bleach, add some bleach as well. If you are also interested in using fabric softener to make your clothes smell extra nice and feel softer, add that at this time as well.

Step 3:

After the wash is finished, move your clothes that can be dried in a machine and add two-three dryer sheets. They make your clothes extra clean-smelling and soft. It’s up to you whether or not you immediately fold your clothes and put them back in your drawers or let them sit all wrinkly in the hamper.

Any clothing items that cannot be dried in the dryer should be hung immediately to air dry.

Tip: If you go through all the steps of cleaning your clothes, take the time to make sure they’re kept clean until wear.

Here are some tips for making sure your laundry goes smoothly:

1. Set a timer for yourself.

The worst thing is having someone touch your clothes because you aren’t there in time to switch or collect them. Laundry rooms are not clean for the most part, and clothes can easily get lost/stolen, so make sure you’re able to be in the laundry room when both loads are finished.

See Also

2. Combine loads with a friend.

If you have a small load or only a few things to wash, be environmentally (and economically) conscious and combine them with a friend. That way you can take turns switching the laundry and making sure the job is complete.

Tip: Always ask your friends/roommate if they need anything thrown into the wash if you are going down anyways. It’s a nice gesture, and chances are, if you ask them, they will ask you as well next time you might need it.

3. Bring an iron.

Clothes can get wrinkled after time, especially if they air dry. Bring an iron to get rid of wrinkles, and if you don’t know how to use one, YouTube it or have a parent show you before summer is over.

Tip: Don’t have an iron? Set your flat iron (for your hair) to a low setting and test to see whether or not this works for the fabric. Don’t have a flat iron? Buy a spray bottle of wrinkle spray at your nearest pharmacy.


4. Practice at home beforehand, if possible.

This is the most important tip. Have Mom or Dad watch you do laundry before school starts. It’s embarrassing showing up to college and not knowing how to do your own laundry. Sure, there are plenty of people who don’t know how to, but it’s easy to not fall in that category!

When you’re not in a rush, laundry can be fun and relaxing. It’s another step towards adulthood and independence. Plus, your parents will be overjoyed when you’re home on breaks and are capable of cleaning your own clothes!

What are some other tips for doing laundry in college? Comment below and share this article with friends!

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Emma Lemay

Emma LeMay is an avid journaler, aspiring world traveler, and loyal Earl Grey drinker. She plans on double majoring in public relations & advertising and minoring in journalism at Marist College.

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