Many colleges students go away to school not really knowing how to do their own laundry. At home, they would have their moms do their laundry. It's easier that way because moms seem to always know what they're doing, and have the whole laundry thing down pat. So who better to ask for laundry tips than actual mothers? Fresh U asked seven mothers for their biggest laundry tips, all of which can help the average college student become a master of doing their own laundry.
1. "Be prepared." — Cheryl, Mother of a Virginia Wesleyan College student
One of the most important things that a student can do when doing their laundry is to be prepared. This means having all of the clothes you plan on washing, enough detergent or detergent pods, fabric softener sheets and anything else you might need to have a successful laundry trip.
Not sure what needs to be washed? Check out this helpful checklist from Good Housekeeping on how often you should be washing certain articles of clothing.
2. "Get on a schedule." — Lois, Mother of three college graduates
It's easy to put off doing your laundry: between going to class, doing homework and doing everything else that takes up your time, laundry can be a thought pushed to the back of your mind. But by getting on a schedule of doing laundry at the same time each week, it becomes less of a chore and more of just something you do. You will keep that giant pile of unclean clothes down, and it was save you from having to do multiple trips to the laundry room in one day.
As for when to go to the laundry room, try going when you won't have to wait around for an open machine. Most students will do laundry Sunday afternoons and at night, so try going during a weekday and during the daytime; most students will be in class at this point, so the laundry room will be all yours. A good rule is that if people are sleeping, it's probably safe for you to go.
3. "Sort and read the labels." — Carolyn, Mother of a Stockton University student
There are three main categories to separate and sort your clothes into before you wash them: darks, colors and whites. There are other categories such as delicates, towels and sheets, but there may be some overlap between all of them. When you wash dark clothing, wash it in cold water to avoid shrinking, bleeding or fading of colors. Colored clothing should be washed in normal warm/cold water. Whites should be washed hot water to keep them looking bright and clean.
Read the labels on the tags of your clothing to understand how they can be washed and treated. Sometimes, reading the symbols on these labels can be like reading a foreign language. Use the chart below to help decipher these symbols and help take better care of your clothing.
Afterwards, it's smart to check whether or not your articles of clothing can go into the dryer or not. Some clothing, such as athletic wear, bras and certain delicates can't go into the dryer. If you are not sure, hang the clothes on a drying rack to play it safe.
4. "Pretreat any stains." — Carolyn, Mother of a University of Oregon student & an Ithaca College student
Getting out stains can be one of the most difficult parts of doing your laundry. But no matter what has stained your clothing, there is always a way to get it out. Try using a pretreatment such as OxiClean Stain Removal Spray or let some laundry detergent sit on the stain for a few minutes before starting the load. If neither of those methods work, use this handy chart by Martha Stewart of how to remove certain basic stains.
5. "Check your pockets." — Michelle, Mother of an American University graduate
There is nothing worse than taking your clothes out of the dryer and finding out that a pen in one of your pants pocket had exploded, staining various pieces of clothing. It's quite a simple thing to do and won't take up much time; the more precautions you take before washing clothes, the less time you have to waste on damage control afterwards!
6. "Multitask." — Dawn, Mother of a Penn State University student
While you get into a weekly routine for doing your laundry, try to maximize your time by multitasking. As your clothes are in the washer and dryer, try doing homework that you have to get done or going to get a quick lunch. Check as much off of your list as you can while your clothes are getting clean so that you don't just stand around, getting anxious as you think of all you still have to get done.
7. "Group like clothing." — Dianna, Mother of a Loyola Marymount University student
After your clothes come out of the dryer, sorting like clothing will make it a lot easier to fold. If you put all of the jeans together, shirts together and sweaters together, you can fold all of the same types of clothing together which makes it easier and more efficient when putting your clothes away! Also when you have piles of the same types of clothing, you can start with the bulkier items and then go down in size so that it goes quicker the farther you get into folding your clothes.
On the same note, fold your clothes as soon as they come out of the dryer! This will reduce the chance for wrinkles and will reduce the amount of static that is present among the clothes in your hamper!
As you do your own laundry, remember these tips to have an extremely successful laundry trip. If you still feel as if you will never be as good at washing your clothes as your own mom is, just remember that practice makes perfect. The more you do laundry, the easier it will be; you will start to learn how you like to specifically do your laundry, and what does or doesn't work for you! If you have any laundry tips and tricks that we didn't mention in this article, feel free to tell us on Twitter and Facebook!