New to doing laundry? I was too. Before moving two and a half hours away, I begged my mom to prepare me for my new independence. One of my major weaknesses prior to college was doing laundry. I quite honestly had no idea what buttons to press, how much detergent to pour, and what cycle to use. She willingly led me to the washer and dryer and instructed me to grab a pencil and get scribbling! Perhaps you’re in the same boat I was; if so, here’s some help!
- NEVER wash or dry anything on hot.
Hot water certainly rids fabrics of germs and stains, but at a price: This cycle can destroy the vibrancy and longevity of clothing over time. If the tag suggests washing an item in hot water, you should be okay; otherwise, stick to warm water. Likewise, be cautious of drying things on the hottest setting.
- Wash your bedding with warm water.
Sheets and mattress pads are typically made in lighter colors on a lighter fabric, so select a delicate or perm press cycle with warm water. Towels and blankets are much thicker and can be washed sufficiently with a warm normal cycle. Note that some comforters may not fit in your dorm’s washing machine, so there’s a chance you’ll have to wash those elsewhere at home or even a laundromat!
- Select cold water for all denim.
Cold normal cycles prevent your denim from shrinking and fading. Most tags on jeans and jackets encourage washing them inside out, as well. Note that cold water saves energy!
- Sort your fabrics based upon colors.
Lighter clothing (especially fancier items like blouses and scarves) should be washed with a warm delicate or perm press cycle. You may also consider washing these with Woolite or even a fabric softener as opposed to detergent! Darker items (including us musician’s “concert black”) should be washed with a cold perm press cycle. Bright colored items should always be washed with cold water.
- Pretreat your items with a spray.
Spray and Wash solutions can be a lifesaver! You can either spray the stain as soon as it appears or right before washing your items. Other on-the-go products, such as a Tide-Stick, should be applied at the moment of impact.
- Flip some items inside out.
Some vulnerable items can be easily damaged as they run along the drum of washing machines. Those are the following: socks, bras, underwear, dress clothes, denim (unless otherwise indicated), and any items with buttons, sequins, sparkles, or prints. Doing so ensures that the items will be cleaned thoroughly and dried lint-free!
- When it comes to drying, consider the following:
-Do not dry dress clothes; instead, let them air dry on a rack.
-Do not dry bras, fancy items, or anything that fits perfectly! Drying can shrink certain fabrics.
-Try to use the least amount of heat at all times. We’re always inclined to select the highest heat setting, but this wastes energy and can destroy clothing (and even burn it). Note that heavier items need a higher heat setting to completely dry, though!
-Jeans and towels may need an extra cycle.
-Regular, everyday items can be sufficiently dried on a medium cycle.