So, your course is going great, you’ve settled in fine… Problem is, 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. Luckily, we’re on hand to help.
1. Invest in a laundry basket, and 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. Don’t forget fabric softener too, to make the clothes nice and soft… obviously. You might also want to get a clothes horse for delicate stuff that can't go in the dryer.
2. Labels in clothes don’t just tell you size/brand! Although most laundry instructions are pretty generic, look out for ‘Dry Clean Only’ – before you make a huge mistake!
3. There are ways of salvaging something ‘damaged beyond repair’. If you act quickly, 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.
4. Separate light and dark clothes. If you can’t be bothered, at least 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.
5. 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!
6. Pop in the clothes, but don’t overload the machine! Pour your detergent and conditioner in the correct slots, following instructions. Washing at 30 is generally the way! Take plenty of coins to operate it if you’re living in student halls. You won’t get change!
7. Keep an eye on the time to take your stuff out as soon as the load is done. It's polite, and great for your peace of mind to know your clothes are safe. Besides, damp clothes can get pretty gross.
8. Use the dryer provided, cleaning out the lint first. Make sure your delicate stuff is suitable and won’t shrink! Otherwise, invest in a clothes–horse – great for saving money and energy.
9. Don’t overload the dryer – it will take forever. Be sensible – if you know your drying is going to take ages, try not to annoy everyone waiting.
10. Hang things up – or at least fold them neatly – that way, there’s no need to iron them.
You survived! What to do if it all goes wrong? Dip-dye, anyone?