Updated: Oct 30
How to Master Laundry 101: A Student’s Guide
Are you ready to learn one of the most important skills for surviving university life? No, it's not how to write a killer essay or ace an exam. It's how to do your laundry!
Yes, laundry. The task you've been avoiding for weeks. That big pile of dirty clothes that keeps growing in your room.
We'll take you through the whole process, step by step, and even throw in a free laundry guide and student discount on the best laundry product at the end. So roll up your sleeves, both figuratively and literally, and dive into the world of laundry!
Step 1: Gathering the essentials
Before you start your laundry adventure, make sure you have following items:
Laundry bag or basket: To put all your dirty clothes, instead of throwing them on the floor! We recommend using a bag with a zipper rather than a basket, so you can easily carry your laundry to the machine and back to your dorm.
Detergent: Washing powder, liquid or pods can be expensive. Especially a good one that will clean your cloths and remove any stains. Use laundry sheets for less mess, or an eco-friendly alternative. Use that link for a student discount! Keep your detergent products in your dorm to avoid them being ‘borrowed’!
Fabric softener: This is expensive, harms the fibres of your clothes and is an unnecessary product that serves the purpose of softening and scenting your clothes. We recommend using a little household (clear) vinegar, which does not smell, but will maintain the colours of your clothes. It is better for the environment and also prevents limescale build up in the machine, which can also damage your clothes.
Mesh laundry bags: Using a mesh bag allows your delicate items such as bras, undies, silk tops or sweaters. You can also use them to keep your socks in pairs and resolve the mystery of the missing sock!
Stain remover: Because accidents happen. You can buy a spray, stick or pen to tackle stubborn stains like ketchup, oil, blood, or sauce. We recommend putting a scoop of baking soda in with the wash, to keep whites white, and it helps move stains too.
Coins or laundry card: Depending on the laundry facilities in your halls of residence or property, you may need these for the machines.
Step 2: Sort Your Laundry
Before you schlepp your laundry bag to the machine, separate your clothes into different piles, according to colour and fabric. This will help prevent colours from leaking and fabrics from being damaged. If you don't have enough of one category to do a wash, but you need the items, why not share a load with one of your flat-mates, and split the cost.
Here are the main categories:
These are your white clothes, obvs. You could also include nude coloured undies in your whites, but if you really want to keep your whites, well, white, then wash them separately and keep them bright.
Light coloured items, like pastels and creams or nude colours. You can wash these together, but avoid putting them with dark or bright colours as they will absorb the dark colour dyes.
These are your dark clothes, like jeans, hoodies, anything black, blue or red that could bleed colour. They can be washed together but beware of that the colours may transfer.
Items that need extra care, such as lace, wool and silk. These should be washed in cold water on a low spin, and hung out to dry flat.
Step 3: Pre-Treat Stains
If you have a stain like Bolognese sauce on your favourite T-shirt, don’t panic and don’t rub it in while trying to get it out!
Just apply a stain remover to the area, leaving it to absorb for a few minutes before throwing it in the wash. Follow the product instructions for best results.
Step 4: Load the machine
Once your laundry is sorted into piles and stains have been pre-treated, it’s time to load the machine. But don’t just throw everything in! Follow these tips:
Don't overfill the machine! You may want to cut down on the expense, but clothes need room to move for the water and detergent to do a proper clean.
Use the right amount of detergent. Too much or too little can affect the result and also damage the machine. Check the label on your detergent. Usually one tab per machine, or a cap full of liquid in the machine drum will do.
We recommend using an EcoEgg. Just pop the laundry egg into the machine with your laundry. The laundry egg is reusable for up to 70 washes so saves money, the environment and you can just order refills when the detergent balls need topping up.
If you're using fabric softener, or preferably clear household vinegar, pour it into the compartment provided (the smallest compartment of the three).
Select the right settings according to your load. Check the labels in your clothes for guidance and the free guide provided below.
Step 5: Wash
Now that your machine is loaded and ready, press start and let it do its thing. You'll have some free time while it washes your clothes – so multi-task!
Set a timer (plus an additional 10 mins - washing machines are notorious liars!) to pick up your washing at the end of its cycle and use this time to revise flashcards, write up that assignment due next week, clean your room, or give your bathroom a good scrub. Make your time count!
Just don't forget to go back for your laundry or you may find someone has dumped it on the floor to use the machine!
Step 6: Drying
When your wash cycle is finished, before throwing everything into the dryer – CHECK THE LABEL FIRST! Don't just throw everything in! The image above demonstrates that certain items cannot be tumble-dried!
Dryers use a lot of energy, and are therefore expensive to run. Not great for a student budget!
Arguably the best way to dry your clothes is to use a drying rack and space out your clothes well to allow air to circulate.
Check the labels on your clothes for drying instructions. Some items may need to be air-dried or tumble-dried on a low heat.
If you choose to use a dryer, add old and clean tennis or dryer balls (15% discount code) to bounce around in the dryer which reduces static and wrinkles in your clothes. These may be a bit noisy in the machine, but they will help to dry your clothes quicker too.
Dryer sheets are an unnecessary addition. They may make your clothes smell nice but they serve little purpose other than adding to your budget.
Don't over-dry your clothes. This can cause shrinkage and fading. Better to take your clothes out slightly damp and hang up to finish drying.
Step 7: Fold and store
The final step is to fold your clean clothes as soon as they are dry – preferably straight from the dryer, or after having hung them up on a drying rack. Throwing them crumpled up back into your laundry bag will just increase wrinkles and force you to iron them. And who’s got time for that?! Follow our tutorial.
Folding and organising your fresh, clean laundry is like a satisfying game of Tetris, but with clothes. Hang up the items you need and store everything else in your drawers or on shelves. Organising your clothes well makes it easier to choose your outfits and maximizes your space.
Congratulations! You’ve just completed Laundry 101! Download our laundry guide below and tape it inside your laundry basket or bag to have on hand when you need to consult it.
Happy washing and may your clothes always come out fresh and clean!
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