Do the basics of laundry elude you? Are you sorry you weren’t paying attention when mom tried to teach you how to sort your clothes and how much detergent to use? You will be after your tidy whities turn pink for the first time and the guys in the common bathroom laugh you out the door. Don’t worry. Laundry really isn’t so hard.
Unless you are lucky enough to take your laundry home every weekend so your mom can wash and fold it, you will probably want to learn how to take care of this little chore yourself. To do your laundry in a dorm Laundromat or local Laundromat you will need some quarters and/or dimes, but you can get these from the change machine that is usually hanging on the Laundromat wall.
While you can also buy miniature sized boxes of soap, it is smarter to go to the local discount store or buy a larger bottle of liquid (or box of powdered) soap when you are home for a visit. Store it on the floor of your closet and, if you don’t feel like carrying that large bottle, pour a little soap into a plastic glass or other container and trot down to the laundry room.
Sort your laundry this way: In the load of ‘whites’, you can put underwear, socks (any color is ‘color fast’), towels (any color because again, they are ‘color fast’ and will not bleed’), white shirts, pajamas (again, color fast), etc. For a load of ‘colored’ clothes, put your shirts, jeans, blankets (if the washer is large enough). If you have more of whites than colored clothes, and you want to balance the loads, you can put colored socks and/or towels in a colored load to balance it. NEVER put shorts, shirts, t-shirts, jeans in with your white clothes because these items may bleed and make your white clothes gray or turn them pink, red, blue, etc.
Wash a white load using hot water (with a hot rinse, if you have to wash out something really stubborn, or a warm or cold rinse if it is a normal load). Wash your colored clothes on warm or cool with a warm or cold rinse. Do not overstuff the washing machine or your clothes will not get clean. Dry your clothes well, but don’t over dry them or they will come out of the dryer with a slightly burned smell that will follow you around. You do not need fabric softener or expensive detergents or additions. An inexpensive detergent (liquid or powder) is fine. Check your dorm Laundromat to see if they prefer liquid or powder to keep the machines functioning better. Use the amount of detergent prescribed in the machine instructions and/or on the box. DO NOT add more detergent than you need or the machine could overflow with suds and you will feel like Lucy and Ethel on laundry day!
One last thing, don’t leave your clothes in the dryer for hours or overnight or you might find that your favorite sweatshirt has been whisked away! That’s about it. The rest is up to you. Give it a try and you will find that there is less mystery to laundry day than you ever imagined.