Laundry: An Idiot’s Guide!

All of a sudden, the laundry fairy has disappeared (I mean, how dare they!) – it might be two or three weeks before you realise but there’s a growing pile of clothes that need washing and drying.

Most University halls will have some sort of laundry facilities, and we highly recommend when you look for a house in town that you clock where your nearest laundrette is (or even better, a house with a washing machine – yay!)

Before we give you a helping hand, let’s give you some gross facts. A study of Universities by Muvo back in 2014 found that students at York University were actually more likely to buy new clothes… than wash them. The same University also had 57% of students who would turn their underwear inside out for an extra day – what!

Sniff test? I bet we’ve all done it – but 73% of York University students do, compared to only 33% in Sheffield…

Put something dirty in the wash then saved it from its fate? Four out of five students apparently do the same thing.

And before you start smirking at this blog, according to the same study, 60% of Birmingham City University students had never or rarely done their own laundry. For this reason, we think our blog is justified.

Getting Started

Ok so where to start… find your nearest laundrette and prepare yourself for the boredom that will ensue. Find a friend, is the laundrette near a coffee shop? Have a book you want to read? Take it with you. If you do your laundry more often, it’ll take less time at every visit PLUS it means you’ll only need one machine, rather than trying to do a massive load and hoping two are available.

What Can You Wash Together

So do we split the clothes into colours/materials/favourites?! You’ll quickly learn that actually you need to be more careful about your materials than colours really. Make sure your favourite cotton jumper CAN be washed, and at what temperate – same goes with drying in a tumble drier.

Colours and whites – a new item on clothing will normally leak some colour in the first few washes, so we’d recommend keeping them away from your lighter clothes to begin with. After that though, it should be okay to mix your colours and whites, but do use some common sense!

What Detergent to Use?

Ask your laundry fairy! It’s probably easier to use the same detergent as used at home rather than wade through the world of detergents available – there are hundreds! You can buy it in liquid form, tablets, powders and then you can add softeners and conditioners. If you were feeling adventurous and wanted to try something new, we’d always recommend a tablet based detergent – this goes straight into the drum with your clothes. This means you can avoid the confusing draw with boxes 1 and 2 and that mystery section (what is it even for?)

Biological vs non-biological? Basically, the biological ones have enzymes in that can help break down stains and dirt – perfect for the sports kit. You can also use these on a lower temperate too. Sensitive skin? Use the non-bio!

What Temperature or Setting do I use?

This is quite an important step – important to get right so that your clothes aren’t tiny when they come out! We’d recommend 30°C or 40°C, most detergents can wash on these lower temperatures now and you’ll be doing your bit for the environment the lower the temperature!

Settings wise? Most of the laundrettes and University halls won’t have a lot of settings, most likely whites, colours, delicates etc. The only clothes that will need delicates will be ones with silk or wool, and if you’re not sure you can check the label on the clothes and see what it recommends!

Drying Your Laundry

Laundrette? Pop it in the dryer but be careful not to shrink anything! Again with clothes that might be a bit delicate or different, check the label and see what it says. Some clothes can’t be tumble dried, so it is worth looking before you shrink it or it loses its shape.

Drying in the home? You need to make sure you dry clothes in a well ventilated room. Some of our student houses have a specific utility room set aside from drying clothes, but if not, you’ll probably start draping clothes over radiators, banisters and a good old clothes horse in the bedroom. That’s fine – we all do it, except that this will increase moisture in the house (especially in the colder months) which will result in condensation mould. Make sure to keep those windows open when drying clothes and ensure the air doesn’t get too moist or humid.

Have you got any student hacks for laundry? Let us know!