College Laundry Do’s & Dont’s

Going to college is something that is new & exciting, but there are daunting aspects as well. One of the worst is something that many people don’t think about: doing your own laundry. Leaving home means leaving your parents, who may have been doing your laundry for you all of these years. Do you know which colors to wash together? What settings to use? If not, you are in the right place. This post will give you the ins & outs of doing laundry all by yourself like the flourishing adult that you are.


(check out my instagram story highlights for a little tutorial video)

My parents made me learn how to do my own laundry the day that I went to Kindergarten, & I have been doing my own laundry ever since. So if I could learn when I was 5, I bet that college students can figure this out too.


One of the first & most important “do’s” is learn how to do laundry BEFORE you leave for school. If you didn’t though, it is not the biggest deal, but it can help to practice with the help of your parents right around the corner.

Now that those steps are out of the way, let’s break them down a bit to help you out along the way.

Sort Your Clothes

This is something that is important, but many busy college students ignore it. When you sort your clothes into darks, lights, & whites, you are helping to prevents colors from bleeding into others. It will also make your loads smaller which is better for the machines that you are using.


While I sort my clothes, I also make sure to flip everything right-side-out, so I don’t have to do it later when I fold my clothes. It also helps to ensure that your clothes are getting the most clean.

Throw in Washer

When I say this, I literally mean just toss them in. There is really no rhyme or reason to how I put my clothes in the washer. I just put one load in & call it good.


Just make sure that the load is not too big. You should not be stuffing clothes into the machine, and it should not be close to being full. A good rule is that the washer should be around half to 3/4 full. This way the clothes get clean, but can still move around.

Add Detergent

This step is going to depend on which type of laundry detergent that you are using. The most simple type is the pods. I personally use Kirkland Brand pods (from Costco) because they are easy & relatively inexpensive.


If you are using pods, you can just toss one in on top of the clothes that you put in the washer. It is as simple as that.

If you are using liquid or powder detergent, there is a spot to put that in the washing machine. They are in different places on different machines, but most of the time, the compartments are labeled. Look for a drawer that pulls out. It can be on the inside or the outside of the machine; it just take some looking.


Once you locate the compartment, DO NOT PUT TOO MUCH SOAP. A common misconception is that you need to fill those little cups that detergent comes with to get a good wash. I promise that you do not need to do that.


When I use liquid or powder, I only fill the compartment enough that it covers the bottom of the compartment. Doing this, my clothes still get clean, & I also save on detergent!


On a side note, I do not personally use fabric softener because I do not feel the need to spend money on it, but if you do use it, there is another compartment (similar to the detergent) for that as well.

Use Cold Water

As a new “laundry-doer” this can also be an important step.


Cold water can help lock in the colors in clothes. These means that it helps prevent bleeding of colors even further. This is especially good for when you are doing laundry in a college dorm because there is no telling how those machines work.


Usually you can select a cold water setting on the machine, but if you are unable to find one, you have a couple of options. If you are not particularly worried about your clothes being ruined, you can use the normal setting, but if you are worried, you can use a delicate setting that is on most machines.

Throw in Dryer

Once your clothes are done washing, the next logical step is to toss them into the dryer, but before you do, pull out delicate items!

Here are some things that you should not put in the dryer! Save this pic to your phone or computer to remind you later on!!


In general, you just have to be careful with what you place in the dryer because things can get ruined, shrinking, pieces could fall off, or they can shrink.

Clean Out Lint

Please please please make sure that you clean out the lint catcher before you dry your clothes! This may not be something that you know, but it is really bad for the dryer if you do not remove the lint on a consistent basis. When it comes to a college laundry room, many people forget to do this ( but not you !! ).
It is as simple as locating the pull of panel inside of the dryer. It typically labeled and right in the front by the door. Pull it out & scoop off the lint & toss it! Super easy, but also super easy to forget.

Run on Normal

Because you already pulled out your delicates and other items that can be easily ruined in the dryer, I would recommend just running the dryer on normal. You typically do not have to worry about the dryer as long as none of your delicates are in it.

Fold Your Clothes Right Away

Okay, this is not something that is on the graphic, but I think that it is worth mentioning. Folding your clothes can be something that you do not think you have time for, or maybe you just really hate doing it, but trust me. Fold it right away.

You never know when you are going to be busy in school or life, so if you are already on a roll, just get it done. You will feel much more accomplished.

The other benefit is that you won’t have to deal with wrinkled clothes because they will be hung or folded while they are still warm 🙂


I hope these help you out on your new adventure in “adulting”. Check out this graphic for some more dorm laundry tips that you may need!!

Good luck !!

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