Your Students' Union

Student Basics: How to do laundry (all by yourself)

For many new starters moving away from home for the first time often means learning new things... including how to do your laundry!

When you’re away from home, the simple tasks that you’d never normally do suddenly become your responsibility.

One of these tasks is washing your own clothes. Once your parents or carers role, it’s now down to you to pick up and clean your dirty laundry.

Before You Begin

The good news first. Most University washing machines have a limited number of settings, so the dials will be far less complicated than the ones you are used to at home. The simplest things on the machine to easily navigate around are the handle, the on button and the dial.

Breakdown of Laundry Symbols

The most important thing to learn is the labels on each item, so you don’t end up ruining your Friday night outfit or dying all of your clothes bright pink.

How to Work a Washing Machine

The substantial amount of buttons may appear confusing, but there are some simple options which will allow you to wash your clothes without giving you a confusion based headache.

Step 1: Pick what clothes to wash

One of the first things to think about is how many clothes you want to pile into the machine. Don’t overload it with months worth of laundry, nothing will happen apart from maybe a bill for a new washing machine and badly washed clothes.

And of course, classic lesson: never mix colours and whites.

Step 2: Determine the temperature

This is where the label reading comes in handy. Each item will require a different temperature, so don’t overdo the heat for certain items as they won’t survive the wash and will end up being in a very different condition to when you last saw it.

Step 3: Pick a cycle

Depending on the fabrics you’ve put inside the machine, the cycle will differ. A gentle cycle is preferable for all your delicate clothes, although a heavy duty wash can be used when your clothes have tough stains or are really disgustingly dirty.

Step 4: Decide on the detergent

Of course you may pick the cheapest one possible, but they all do offer different features, from stain removal to fabric softeners. So depending on the clothing on the day, your choice in detergent will differ.


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