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A College Student’s Guide to Laundry

By Madison Kopp, Blogger

College means two things: no parents and no one telling you to clean your room … until your dirty clothes start to pile up and your roommate starts subtly suggesting that you do your laundry.

Doing your own laundry may be challenging at first, but it is easier than you may think. Laundry symbols on clothing labels may seem confusing, but they are important for correctly washing and drying as well as bleaching or ironing. Here are a few common symbols and what they mean. 

Washing Symbols 

The wash tub icon tells you exactly how to wash the garment. Underscored lines indicate the recommended cycle and black dots representing water temperature. If needed, the triangle on clothing labels indicate bleaching instructions. Also, always be sure to add in your detergent before washing. 

Illustrations by Olivia Dutkewych

Now that you know the most common symbols for washing, you should be ready to start the laundry. Before anything else, you need to separate your clothes into piles. Darks and lights should always be separate to avoid the bleeding of colors. Darks include blacks, blues, browns, denims, etc. and lights include whites, creams, tans, pastels, etc. 

Most laundry will be washed under a normal load but when washing towels, beddings or heavily stained clothes, it will be on a heavy load. 

Detergent Symbols 

The next step is to put the clothes in and then add the detergent. Detergent comes in pods, liquid and powder. The dirtier or the more clothes in a load, the more detergent required. The pictures below will help you understand how much to use. 

For pods, toss the pods into the washer with the clothes and turn it on. 

For liquid detergent, use the cap to measure the dosage. Once you are done, simply add clothes and pour detergent into the dispenser and start the washer. 

For powder, the right dosage is very important. Once you are done, start the washer, add detergent, then add your clothes. The measuring cup will come inside the powder detergent. 

Drying Symbols

Laundry symbols not only tell you how to wash but also how to dry clothes. Determine whether the item should be air or tumble dried. The lines inside the square will tell you how an item should be dried. Just like washing symbols, underscored lines indicate cycle and black dots represent temperature. Also, be sure to add two to three dryer sheets to the load before drying in order to prevent static and lint. 

Drying Cycles

The final step is drying clothes. It is important to choose the correct temperature when drying to prevent the shrinking and damage to the clothing. Immediately take your laundry out of the washer to prevent musty smells. Just be sure to not overload the dryer to allow all clothing items to dry. Lastly, add a dryer sheet to stop wrinkles and prevent static.

Now you know how to do your own laundry from start to finish. Happy folding!

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