Step 1: Prepare for Laundry
Before considering doing your laundry, you need to make sure you have some of the necessary items for the task.
Necessary laundry materials include:
quarters or a student ID card (we know you are broke, but laundry isn't always free)
stain stick (for the pizza stains)
drying rack (or steal a few chairs if you have any delicates)
iron and ironing board (if necessary)
Once you have collected a few of the necessary items (some of these items are displayed in Figure 1 above) you will need to locate the laundry room.
Finding the laundry room
To locate the laundry room, you can ask another person on your dorm or apartment floor or you could just start searching for the nearest dark, musty basement room (as shown in Figure 2 above). Either way, when you get to the laundry room, make sure that some empty washers are available before you start the next steps. Another piece of information which you may need to find out is how to pay for your laundry. Most machines use quarters (up to $1.50 per machine), but modern laundry facilities may use a card scanner that you swipe your student ID card through as money is taken from your student account. Most likely a sign should be posted with payment procedures.
After figuring out where the laundry room is, it's time to head down with your clothes to make Mom proud and start the sorting step.
Step 2: Sorting Your Clothes
Step 3: Wash
Filling the Washer
The first part of using a washing machine is to fill it with water. No, don’t go get a bucket for water! The dials on a washing machine are used to fill itself with water of a certain temperature. Hotter water does a better job at dissolving dirt and stains, but may cause fading or color blending in colorful clothes. Colder water helps prevent color blending, but doesn’t fight stains as well. Try warm warm water as a 'catch all' if your having difficulties picking a water temperature! Another option on some washers is labeled permanent press. Clothes labeled as permanent press should be washed in this setting. Your pile of college T-shirts and jeans are most likely not permanent press though! After setting a water temperature you can start filling the tub and then add detergent.
Detergent and Fabric Softener
Your laundry detergent cap is the key to using the correct amount of detergent (see Figure 2 above). Pour detergent to the line marked ‘1’, ‘2’, or ‘3’ depending on the size of your load. Your washer may have a slot to pour the laundry detergent, if not, just pour the detergent into the tub. Liquid fabric softener can help to make your clothes softer. Use the same procedure as pouring detergent to pour your fabric softener.
Clean Those Clothes!
Your washer is now ready to take your clothes. Toss your clothes into the tub, shut the lid, and let the washer do its thing! Washing usually takes around twenty minutes, and afterwards you are ready to move on to the drying process.
Step 4: Drying Your Clothes
From Washer to Dryer
The first step in the drying process is to take the wet clothes out of the dryer and separate the delicates from the non-delicates. Delicates include items that are too delicate to go through the mechanical drying process at a high heat or long term setting. Although some delicates can go in the dryer, a specific setting is available on most models of dryers for such items. A small tag on the clothing item will indicate whether or not it is suitable for a dryer. Make sure to read the small tags on your clothing until you get a feel for what can go in the dryer. This could save your favorite bra or tee-shirt from being ruined. As shown in Figure 1 above, non-delicates such as towels are placed in dryer while delicates are separated. You may choose to use a dryer sheet at this time. It is not always necessary, but it will make your clothes softer and make them smell better. The delicates are to be placed on a drying rack of some sort as shown in Figure 2.
Clean the Lint Rack!
The next step is to find the lint rack in the dryer and make sure it is clean. The location of the lint rack will vary depending on what brand and model of dryer you are using. It looks like a small piece of screen and is responsible for catching the lint that comes off of your clothes while going through the mechanical drying process. If too much lint is built up on the screen of the lint rack, the dryer will not function properly, so it is imperative that the lint is cleaned off before the dryer is turned on, as shown in Figure 3.
Now that you have the proper articles of clothing in the dryer, the lint rack clean, and the dryer sheets included, it is time to set the dial and begin the final drying process. As seen in Figure 4, several settings are available for you to choose. Each setting is specific to what type of clothing you are drying and the different settings produce different amounts of heat and time cycles. A 60 minute timed dry is the most common setting to select for a normal laundry load.
Start that dryer and be ready for the folding step.
Step 5: Remove and Fold
Now that your laundry is ironed and folded like the clothes shown above, you have completed your laundry load. Next we will review a few safety items to consider while doing laundry.
Step 6: Laundry Is Done!
Some safety considerations exist when doing laundry. Always make sure washer and dryer machines come to a full stop before reaching into the machines to avoid injury. Also, avoid picking up any piece of clothing that has fallen behind or between the machines. This is college, nothing is sanitary so play it safe and just buy another pair of socks. Also, for your own emotional safety, never try to pick up a member of the opposite sex in the laundry room. Get their name and room number and bring your "A" game somewhere more lively than a dark, musty college laundry room.
Congratulations you have completed your first load of laundry! You will now be able to spend many wasted hours and quarters on this necessary task. Now that you have the laundry basics down, you can get back to that much needed studying. Or you could impress that special someone with your nicely folded set of clothes that you did all by yourself and maybe even offer to teach them how it's done because now you are the expert!