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College Laundry Tips

Chances are lots of college-bound freshmen are asking for a new computer to take to school this Fall.  But there’s something even more important than a new lap top for back-to-school–a laundry basket full of all the essential supplies a student will need to do the laundry at college, of course!  Not sure how doing laundry works at your student’s college?  That’s not surprising—the question rarely comes up during college tours unless you’re Dr. Laundry and like asking about it.  If you don’t know, you can run a search on your college’s website with the keyword “laundry” and get the information you need before your student leaves home.  Many schools now include free use of laundry machines in the housing contract, so your freshman might get to leave the quarters at home!  Remember, life lessons learned outside of class can be just as important as what’s being covered in lecture, so make sure your favorite student has everything he or she needs to get an A+ in personal management: 

Laundry Basket—small enough to fit easily into the closet, yet sturdy enough to transport clothes and cleaning products is ideal.  Set it on the clothes washer or dryer while the laundry is washing and drying so others will know to find another machine!

XL Twin Sheets—regular twin sheets are too short for most dorm room beds.  Check labels and choose sheets that are bleach friendly.  Many colored sheets can be safely bleached.

Bath Towels—white towels and wash cloths are the easiest to care for, but keep an eye out for bleach-friendly towels if your student prefers color.  Two sets can help make it to the weekend when there’s more time for laundry.

Plastic Hangers—fill the closet with these, and she will already have what she needs when she wants to air dry an item.

Plastic Wall Hook—she’ll need a place to hang that wet towel after his shower so it doesn’t end up on the floor (yuck!), damage the back of a wooden chair, or get a mildewy smell.

Detergent—check the ingredients to make sure it includes enzymes in addition to the cleaning agents

Clorox® Smart Seek Bleach—she can include more items in her bleach load with this terrific new product that is safe for many mostly white items with a little color (such as white t-shirts with transfer prints or monogrammed white items).

Measuring Cup—measuring helps use the right amount.  A 55 oz bottle of Smart Seek Bleach can wash about 14 loads, enough for one semester (unless her roommate is always “borrowing” it…)!

Clorox2® Stain Remover and Color Booster—not only can he add it along with detergent to get his dark and mixed color loads super clean, it doubles as a pretreater for hard-to-remove stains.

Having easy to care for textiles and the right products is only the start.  It’s important to have good laundry habits so students can get their laundry clean without the seemingly inevitable mishap.  Here are some basic strategies that will help them succeed:

Sort laundry before washing—keep it simple and sort into three basic color groups:   whites/bleachables, light colors, and darks.

Bleach load goes first—who knows what was in the washer before you got there.  Run the bleach load first (sheets and towels plus any other bleachable items) to freshen the washer before the next load.

Check for stains—pretreat any stains before washing with a little liquid Clorox2® Stain Remover and Color Booster.

Read care labels—know what you are washing, and avoid bleaching wool, silk, mohair, leather, spandex, and non-fast colors.  Always wash in the warmest water temperature recommended.

This simple approach makes it easy to stay on top of the laundry, and avoid having your student come home at the end of the semester with a mountain of dirty laundry.  If she does (or if her college is close enough to just bring the laundry home any time she needs to run a load), make her do it!  This way she won’t miss an important opportunity to develop independence and problem solving skills, a big part of what college is all about!