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Laundry 101

Think the hardest things about college are your course load and your classes? Think again; the correct answer is laundry! It may seem self-explanatory, but without mom around, college is fraught with shrunken jeans, originally-white-but-now-blue shirts, and pants whose pockets are stuck together with bubble gum. Want to avoid that fate? Then take a deep breath, grab your mesh hamper, and take a peek at these mom-approved laundry tips and tricks!

1. Before putting clothing in the washer, check to make sure that if the garment has pockets, there isn’t anything in them. Gum, stickers, pens, makeup, and coins are public enemies numbers 1-5 for washing machines! The ink from pens will stain your entire load, stickers and gum will make everything stick together, and makeup will turn everything into a powdery shell of its former self.

2. Before you wash jeans, pants, shorts, capris, jackets, or other garments with zippers and buttons, zip and button the item and then flip it inside out. By zipping and buttoning the item, you are preventing excess straining from the laundry machine. Turning it inside can help with this as well but it will also keep the dyes fresher and prevent them from running.

3. Any items with embellishments such as graphics, rhinestones, sequins, etc. should be washed inside out to prevent excessive strain and fading, as well as inside a garment bag (or pillowcase if you don’t have a garment bag). The garment bag will take the brunt of the force leaving your clothes clean while extending their longevity.

4. Most bras, underwear (especially thongs), swimsuits, and workout gear should never dry in the dryer-it’s too harsh on the nicer, more elastic materials used to make these garments. Instead, hang them on a hanger or drying rack to air dry.

5. When possible, do separate loads for dark and light clothing. If you do not have enough clothing items for this, you can use color catchers (available at most grocery stores) and wash them together. Color catchers are little slips of material that go inside with your laundry and attract free-floating dyes from the clothes.

6. If there is a stain, do not fear — stain stick is here! Before washing, apply a stain stick to the affected area for a more targeted cleaning. Be careful with the amount that you use on sensitive or light-colored fabric.

7. In terms of temperature, you could really use any but I prefer to use cold water for the washer and medium to low heat for the dryer. If all else fails, select the undergarment/delicates option for a gentler yet still cleansing wash.

8. The exception to the above temperature rule is sheets and towels. Sheets and towels tend to be more durable and can be washed on warm and dried on medium or even high.

9. In an effort to conserve water and energy, don’t just wash or dry one article of clothing. Make sure that if you need to do laundry, you have enough to justify a load. On the flip side, be careful not to overload the machines! Yes, this is possible and not only will it destroy the machine but it will also destroy your clothing.

10. If you don’t know how much soap to use, read the label on the bottle. Using too much soap can cause the washing machine to overflow, potentially damaging itself, your clothing, and anything that stands in its way.

If you follow these tips, not only will you have nice, clean clothes, but your mother will be proud of you.

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