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LAUNDRY A STUDENTS WORST NIGHTMARE Most students don’t mind admitting that doing their own laundry is something that they find a struggle when they first go to university. In most cases it is something that your mum or a carer has probably been doing for you for all of your life. Even if you do some yourself then it can be a big change having to do it all: sort, wash, dry, iron, fold and put away- it can seem a bit of a nightmare. But there’s no need to worry, we’re here to help and with our simple guide you will be a pro in no time.

Basic machine washing:

Now, we can’t really help you as much with this one as all washing machines are different. However, some simple tips to help you ensure that you don’t have disasters are as follows:

Always check the label:
Some clothes will not be machine washable (the little bucket symbol with a cross through). They will usually be hand wash only or dry-clean only if not. The temperature of your wash will be determined by how many dots are in the bucket symbol- one dot and you need a cool wash, two dots a warm wash and three dots a hot wash. A cool wash is 30˚C, a warm wash is 40˚C and a hot wash is 60˚C. Sometimes it will tell you the temperature within the bucket but if not the above temperatures will be appropriate. Delicates such as underwear go in a cool wash and towels and suchlike a hot wash, pretty much everything else is fine on warm. (Remember the cooler wash you can do the better it is for the environment, a lot of washing powders now can be used on a cool wash but still provide brilliant cleaning so switch down if possible.)

Separate whites from colours:
We’ve all seen the films where somebody slips a red sock in with their whites and the whole thing comes out pink. To avoid this make sure that you wash whites separately and group colours together in terms of how vivid they are (e.g. pastels in one wash and brights in another. If you want to be extra safe then you can invest in colour catcher sheets which will absorb any excess colour that comes out in the wash and helps avoid any accidents.

Wash size:
Don’t overfill your machine as your washing won’t come out very clean, about full is perfect and more energy efficient too.

Washing powders:
For money conscious students there are washing powders with built in fabric softener so you only have to buy one product. Generally there will be a good range of cheap washing powders available so either grab what is on offer or experiment until you find a smell you like that does the job too. Use the amount as stated on the pack.

Dry Clean Only:
It can be a pain to find a laundrette to get all your dry cleaning done and have time to pick it up too. It doesn’t really fit into a student budget too well either, so an option that is easier on the pocket is to buy Dryel or a similar product. You use this with your dryer and your dry clean only clothes and it does the same job as the laundrette does. If it’s a special occasion it is probably worth splashing out to get it done properly but there are products out there which allow you to do it yourself easily so have a look around the aisles of your local supermarket.

Hand Wash Only:
It is sometimes possible to wash hand wash items in your washing machine if you use a gentle cycle but to ensure that they don’t get damaged then it is best to do them in your sink. There are various products out there (such as Woolite) that will allow you to specifically do a hand wash, but you can use a normal liquid or powder if you ensure that you only use a fraction (less than half) of the amount you would for a usual wash for a fairly large quantity of clothing. A bucket or sink is the best place to do a handwash and you can just leave them to soak in warm water for half an hour or longer if needed.

Tumble Drying:
Make sure that your clothes can be tumble dried (a circle inside a square) before you try it. Usually wool clothing can’t so don’t even try it unless you have a doll or teddy bear that would like new clothes. If they are fine then put them in for different times according to the item. Towels will take longer (about 50 minutes), items like jeans 40 minutes and other clothing such as T-Shirts 30 minutes. If they are still damp then just put them on for a little longer. Once they are out then iron and they are ready to wear.

Air Dry, Flat Dry or Hang Dry Only:
If you don’t have access to a clothes line you can wring out the excess moisture and then put these types of garments on hangers. Put the hangers on a clothes rack or coat rack (anything you can hang them on out in the open, not in your wardrobe) and maybe put a towel underneath to catch any drips. They should be fine to iron once dry. We recommend you don’t leave flat dry items out on somebody else's bed or in an open area such as the kitchen as you might annoy your housemates or risk something getting spilled on them.

Ironing:
Check the label of your clothes to make sure that you can iron them (if not the little iron symbol will have a cross through it) and the temperature that it says to use. To iron shirts it is easiest to pull the shoulders down into the corner of the ironing board (so it is as if the ironing board is your back inside the shirt, and the shirt is flat across it) as this will help you reach all the areas. For most other types of clothing it is simple enough anyway. Just make sure you avoid any motifs (particularly stick on ones) and just work around them. If there is one then you can turn the item inside out and it will probably be ok to iron over gently. Once ironed then fold or hang your clothes and they will be ready to wear. If you don’t have an ironing board then use a flat surface and make sure you put a towel down first to avoid any damage.

Stains:
If there are stubborn stains in your clothes that don’t come out in the wash then there are lots of products such as Vanish that you can use to get the stain out. Just rub it over the stain and hand wash it out. If this doesn’t work then products like Stain Devil are made for specific types of stain and so you can just use this according to the instructions and your clothes should be as good as new.

Look before you buy:
The only other tip we will give you is to look at the labels of clothes before you buy them. If they are dry clean only then maybe give them a miss unless you are prepared to do a special wash for them or take them to a laundrette. Ideally you want a lot of clothes that can have the same type of wash as this will make it a whole lot easier for you. Happy Washing!
 

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