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Tips & Advice

How to avoid a laundry disaster!

By TerSL 16 Aug 2018

If you never listened when Mum and Dad showed you how to use the washing machine and you’re finally facing the reality - you have to wash your own clothes read this, it might just save you from a laundry disaster 

 You will need:

  1. A wash station card .  You can buy them for £2 from the vending machine in your laundry.  Then just go online and top up your card. 
  2. A laundry basket
  3. Some detergent. It doesn’t need to be pricey, if it smells nice and won’t bring you out in hives (ask your Mum), you’re good to go. ‘Non-bio’ basically means there are fewer chemicals so it’s less harsh on skin, but ‘bio’ is slightly stronger. So it’s up to you.
  4. Fabric softener too for that just washed smell.
  5. A clothes horse for delicate stuff that can't go in the dryer.


  • It's always best to separate light and dark clothes. If you can’t be bothered with that keep the wash on a low temperature (say 30◦ or 40◦) so at least things won't run. And don't stick red jeans in with white underwear, okay? Trust us. If you’re going to ignore that advice, at least try using a colour catching sheet, found in pound shops.
  • Check your pockets. Your bus driver doesn’t accept soggy passes and you definitely can’t afford to be blamed for breaking the machines because you’ve left a 10p in your jeans. Beware of tissues and pens unless you want white fluff or ink stains on your clothes!
  • Pop in the clothes, but don’t overload the machine!  Remember to top up your laundry card online BEFORE you start. 
  • Familiarise yourself with the basic washing symbols you see on clothes labels.
  • If the label on your clothes says 'Dry Clean Only’ –funnily enough it's best to dry clean only.  If you're too tight to splash out on dry claening , stop buying dry clean clothes or risk them on a low temperature wash.  Don't say we didn't warn you though you could be making a big mistake!
  • Be a stain buster.  If you act quickly when there's a spillage you can save things. Red wine on your new cream dress can be gone in a flash – just pour on salt. Coat reminds you of an ashtray? Steam out smoke in the shower. Chewing gum on your hoodie? Stick it in the freezer and wait for it to harden so you can snap it off.

  • Don't leave your washing languishing in the washer for ever after the wash has finished. Damp clothes smell gross and may need washing again.  Plus do you really want everyone to see your undies!

  • Before you use the dryer, clean the lint off the filter. Make sure your delicate stuff is suitable and won’t shrink! oh and don’t overload the dryer – it will take forever. 

  • Afterwards hang things up – or at least fold them neatly – that way, there’s no need to iron them (ugh you don't want to go there!)

 Hooray - you've survived intact and so have your clothes!  


TerSL is Teresa. She works for Derby Student Living and likes foreign travel, Spanish food and walking her dog Archie in the Peak District.
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