It happens every August and September like clockwork: millions of students nationwide prepare for their next semester with anticipation. Dorm life can be a whirlwind of activity and life challenges, especially for first-year students.

For many, a new semester may mean their first time living independently and doing laundry. If you’re new to doing laundry: that’s ok! We all have to learn sometime.

Whether you’re new to doing laundry, using a coin-operated washer and dryer, campus life, or a seasoned pro in all of these—this guide is for you.

First things first
You may have some experience with laundry at home, but for the sake of this guide, we’ll assume you’re a first-timer. While there’s no shortage of helpful tips to maximize your efficiency and minimize your headaches in the laundry room, none of it is helpful without a solid foundation on the basics.

So, assemble the things you will need for your trip to the laundry room: detergent, payment method (some locations support using your smartphone!), dirty clothes, and a little ambition.

Start by sorting your clothing by colors, making separate piles for dark and light-colored garments. This crucial first step helps avoid transferring dye to your white clothes. Don’t forget to check all pockets for items like buttons, clasps, cash, earbuds, lipstick or anything else you’d hate to get wet. Before tossing anything in the wash, pre-treat any troublesome stains. Check out our stain removal guides on the WASH-Connect app or the help section for advice on treating tough stains!

Next, decide on which temperature setting is appropriate for your load. Whites and linens are often washed in hot water to disinfect, but high heat will facilitate material wear and tear. Modern detergents are formulated to perform best in cool/cold water—so when in doubt, opt for cold water.

Don’t fill the machine yet!
Once you’ve separated your clothes and decided on the proper temperature setting for your load, you’re ready to add detergent. Follow the detergent’s label to avoid over-soaping. Laundry pods, a popular on-the-go choice, must be placed in the drum before clothing for best results. Be warned: adding detergent, whether liquid, powder, or pod, directly onto clothing can cause discoloration and damage your garments.

It’s loading time
Fill the washer drum loosely, approximately 2/3rds of the way full. Add payment, close the door, and begin the cycle. Overstuffing the machine will lead to poor washer performance, so it’s best to wash two loads instead of risking an overpacked load. If you have the WASH-Connect app, feel free to go about your business because the handy app will notify you when the cycle has completed. If you don’t have the app… why wait? Download it now!

Dry, fold, repeat
Most clothing is dryer friendly unless the material tag states otherwise, so always check your tags. Certain fabrics like silk and wool may require specialty cycles.

Clean the lint trap. We repeat: Don’t forget to clean the lint trap. This step is so crucial that it bears repeating. Not only will your clothes take longer to dry, but a clogged lint trap is a fire hazard.

Add clothing, add payment, and start the cycle. That’s it!

When the machine finishes, be sure to remove your clothing promptly. Don’t be that person.

Final tip: Folding your laundry promptly after the cycle completes helps minimize wrinkles.

Choose WASH
For helpful resources, tutorials, and guides, check out our blog or download the WASH-Connect app today!