Laundry Tips for College Students

Laundry can be harder than it seems, so here are some tips to keep your clothes in tip-top shape when using your dorm's laundry machine.

You never realize how many tasks your mommy handles until you go off to college: there’s no more home-cooked dinner, and you have to clean your own dishes or dust your own shelves. There’s one chore that can be a lot harder than it seems, though: doing your laundry. You wear your clothes every day, so here are some tips to keep your clothes (and mental state) in tip-top shape when using your dorm’s laundry machine.

Re-wear your clothes

The best way to keep your clothes in good shape in the first place is to avoid washing them altogether. If you only wear a shirt for a few hours, or managed to avoid staining your favorite pair of jeans, fold them up and put them back in the drawer to wear again before washing. This same idea can be applied to work-out clothes too: if you’re pumping iron and sweating, save that particular t-shirt for the next time you hit the gym. Why dirty up a clean t-shirt if you have a dirty one already?

Delicates really are delicate

I was one of those college students who would mindlessly throw my thin sweaters and tank tops in with a load of jeans and towels just to avoid paying extra for a separate load. Don’t do it! Create separate piles for different “types” of loads, and when each pile is large enough, throw them into the wash together. That way, you’re maintaining the quality of your clothes and saving yourself from spending the extra money to only wash a few delicate items. There’s a range of “textures” you need to keep in mind when it comes to classifying your clothes. As a rule of thumb, some common loads include bulky (sheets, towels, and blankets), delicate (tank tops, sweaters), regular (jeans, t-shirts), and of course, color. Also cheap? Handwashing delicates, which you should probably do anyway. Be sure to check the care instructions on your clothing tags to determine the recommended cleaning method.

Light brown is not white

When I was home for break one time, I woke up to Mama Seraphin washing my whites with a touch of bleach, and an accompanying lecture that I should never have washed whites with other colors. Truth be told, she’s right! Just like you should set aside your delicates, organize your loads by color too. And no, that doesn’t mean “sort of light” and “sort of dark.” Keep dark and bright colors together, and keep your whites separate. If you’re worried about a color bleeding from a shirt, only wash it with dark items, and choose the cold water option to prevent the dye from running.

Friends and enemies

If you’re in desperate need to wash something, and only have a few other things that need cleaning, find a friend! Oftentimes, a roommate or friendly neighbor may need a few things washed, so offer to do yours together to save some time, money, and energy (hooray for going green!). Make sure it’s someone you know and trust, though. It’s very easy for anyone to walk into the laundry room and steal clothes, so guard your undies, and set an alarm to make sure no dirty stranger’s hands go touching your freshly cleaned clothes when they’re finished.

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About Catherine Seraphin

Catherine Seraphin

Catherine Seraphin is a Multimedia Project Manager at Harvard University and a former Assistant Editor/Online Specialist for CollegeXpress. Catherine graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Journalism, a minor in English, and course concentrations in Business. She was previously an in-depth arts reporter for Penn State’s student-run newspaper, The Daily Collegian, and interned as a features reporter at a paper based in Southern Massachusetts. Catherine previously had a full-year internship with a well-known higher education PR firm. Her favorite experiences during college include her two years as a resident assistant and her involvement in THON, the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. There, she was on the PR committee that helped THON become the third-most tweeted topic worldwide. When she isn’t working, you can find Catherine shopping, reading, or running.


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