The ins and outs of dorm living: The delicate art of doing your laundry

Joe Bittner, ‘Doah Staff Writer
August 20, 2013

'Doah photo by Liz Levey

‘Doah photo by Liz Levey

While it may seem that doing laundry is a simple and mundane task many people come into college with little experience of it. I can attest to this, I came to Shenandoah with instructions taped to the bottom of my laundry baskets — truth be told, I still have them. For those of you who can relate to this, here are a few tips.

Let’s start with some basics. First, make sure you check the labels on your clothes. Some should not be washed in the school washers and should be taken to a dry cleaner. Second, make sure you separate your loads. You want to make sure to avoid dangerous mixing. Third, treat any stains you may have in your clothes. Tide makes a great stain remover that you apply before the wash.

Next comes the actual machine. Put your detergent in the machine and select hot or cold water. Some clothes will tell you which temperature to use and some do not. Load your clothes into the machine, put your quarters in the slot, and press start.

Now, there are things that should be emphasized about doing laundry. These are important in making sure you do not ruin your clothes or break the machines:

1) Do not, under any circumstances, mix your whites with your dark colors. Unless your goal is pink and periwinkle undershirts and underwear, keep them separate. Of course, if you are trying to make a shirt a certain color and use this method it will not work. That’s just how it works — it will only happen when you do not want it to.

2) If it directly touches your butt or your feet, it goes in hot water. Hot water will help kill the bacteria found on these parts of your body. You can be the cleanest person in the world and shower three or more times per day, but you still need to follow this rule.

3) Do not overload the machines. If you have to forcefully push your laundry down to make room for more — especially if the load contains jeans or sweatpants — start another load. This sounds like common sense, but you would be surprised how many times washer machines overflow because of this.

4) If it is a designer brand, do not put it in the dryer for the full cycle. If the item is 100 percent cotton, do not put it in the dryer at all. It will shrink and be ruined. For example, if you own Polo T-shirts, hang dry them. It will save a lot of frustration, time and money down the road.

5) When you go to dry your clothes, make sure to check the lint tray. This step is skipped so often and is not only vital to drying your clothes, but can be a safety hazard. It is so simple that many people choose to ignore it. Just open the tray, scrape off the lint and put it back in. Failure to do this will lead to your clothes not being completely dry, and also can lead to a lint fire.

On the whole, doing laundry is not as difficult as it is time consuming. Set timers on your cell phone, iPod, etc. so you do not forget to change the loads. This will make it easier for you and less stressful for the other people trying to do their laundry so that they do not have to sit and wait for you to remove your clothes from the washer or dryer.

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