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Laundry Tips for College Students

It can be intimidating, living on your own for the first time. Even if you had to do chores around the house, going to college is a whole new ball game. You might find yourself in the dormitory laundry room with no idea how to proceed. If you are wondering about the best way to do your laundry now that you are in college, we have put together a guide with everything you need to know!

Step-By-Step Laundry Guide

If this is your first time doing laundry yourself, it’s natural to be intimidated. Don’t worry, though! We will take you through all the laundry tips you need to know for the perfect college experience.

1. Gather Your Supplies

The first step to doing laundry is to get together your dirty clothes. It is a good idea to separate your laundry out ahead of time and store whites and colors in separate bags. However, if you don’t have two laundry bags, don’t worry—you can take care of this at your laundry location.

In addition to the clothes you will want to get together, you should also gather up your laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets. If you are on a strict college budget, it is totally possible to do your laundry with just laundry detergent. If you want to get a little advanced, you can also throw in some bleach with your whites, though you should reserve this for when you feel confident about your laundry skills because bleach is the one ingredient that can go wrong if not used properly.

The last thing you are going to want is a payment method. Many dormitory laundry rooms take cards now, but not all of them. You should bring some coins along in case it is an old-school facility.

2. Separate your colors from your whites.

The last thing you want to do is wash a new red shirt with your white pants and turn them pink. Separating your whites makes sure they are protected from any color bleeding.

3. Add in your detergent.

If you use a detergent that goes directly into the drum of the washing machine, put it in before you load the clothes for the best results. You should try and avoid pouring detergent directly on your clothes because it could cause some damage.

If you use scent beads, you always put them directly in the drum, not in the detergent drawer. In most cases, if you use liquid or powder detergent, you will put it in the detergent drawer. The exception is on some top-loading washers, where you will load detergent directly into the drum.

4. Add In Your Clothes

The nice thing about using a dormitory laundry room instead of a home laundry machine is that you can do all your laundry at once! This can save a lot of time, especially if you are doing your sheets or multiple weeks’ worth of laundry. Add in all of your loads at once, and then you are ready to choose the program.

5. Use Moderate Settings

If you want to really protect your clothes, wash them at the coldest temperature. However, if your clothes are extra soiled or you are worried about them being properly sanitized, you can opt for a hotter setting.

For your whites, you can use the hottest settings because you don’t have to worry about the color fading. For colors that bleed, you are going to want to use the coldest setting, as this will reduce the chances of the items transferring color. If you are washing a colored or dark item for the first time, it is best to go with the coldest setting because the first wash is when they are most likely to bleed.

6. Set A Timer

If your laundry facility is away from home and the machines operate pretty fast, it makes sense to bring a book or a computer with you to keep yourself busy while you do your clothes. If, however, you live in the building, it is totally fine to go back to your apartment while your washing gets done. Just make sure you start a timer so that you don’t forget about the clothes!

If you are using a laundry room equipped with Smartomat machines, make sure to download the Smartomat app onto your phone. It has a timer for your laundry, and the app can even tell you if washers and dryers are available in the first place.

7. Transfer To The Dryer

Make sure you don’t choose too high of a setting. While it can seem nice to get your clothes back after 15 minutes completely dry, if you want to maintain the longevity of your clothing, it is best to opt for medium heat. And don’t forget to clean out the lint trap! Not only can lint prevent the dryer from operating properly, but it can also create a fire hazard.

8. Fold Immediately

If you want your clothes to look nice, it is best to fold them immediately after they come out of the dryer. If you can bring your clothes in a laundry basket (as opposed to a laundry bag), it can make it easier for them to be folded. This will prevent them from becoming wrinkled.

Some Additional Tips

Choose a high-quality laundry facility.

Your housing might have laundry facilities included, but if the facilities need to be better kept, sometimes it is better to go elsewhere. For example, dryers that don’t work properly could cost you twice the money because you have to use them twice the time. Older machines might not wash clothes as effectively or even may damage clothes.

If you find that the facilities in your student housing laundry room are extremely poor, it might even be worth talking to the building manager about upgrading them, especially if you might be living in the space for multiple years. In the meantime, though, you are going to want to seek out a high-quality laundry facility.

Hang dry delicates (or dry them on low).

You might think that higher is better when it comes to the temperature of your dryer. However, high temperatures can damage delicate fabrics. This is especially true of underwear and bras. If you don’t have a drying rack at home, you can dry them on the lowest drying heat—it might just take a bit longer, but it will be worth it in the long run.

Avoid Washing Shoes

It might seem like a good idea to throw your shoes in the wash for a quick clean-up. However, the washing machine is not the right method to clean your shoes for a number of reasons! First of all, shoes can damage the machine. Secondly, washing your shoes in a laundry machine can damage your shoes. Putting your shoes in with other items can also wear down your clothes.

Don’t Use Too Much Soap

It is important to use the appropriate amount of soap, especially with a front-loading machine. Using too much soap can damage the machine and cause it to overflow. If you are using non-high-efficiency detergent, you should use one-fourth of the amount.


In conclusion, doing laundry in college can be intimidating for those who are new to it. However, with the right supplies and knowledge, it can be easy and stress-free. By gathering your laundry supplies, separating your colors from your whites, adding in your detergent, using moderate settings, and setting a timer, you can successfully do your laundry in college. By following these steps, you can ensure that your clothes are clean and well-cared for.

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