3 Top Challenges Series: Laundry for Students Away at University in Waterloo

Cooking and Cleaning and Laundry? AGHHH!

university waterloo students laundry rez-oneUniversity and college students across Waterloo are settling in to their first few months of being away at school. Then, the realization hits… who’s going to do all this cooking, cleaning and laundry?

The answer, unfortunately, is you! Being away from home for the first time and the responsibilities it entails can come as quite a shock to some students. Although most are able to make it through okay, it is always helpful to get some tips to make it easier.

The 3 top areas that challenge students in Waterloo living away from home are:

  • cooking
  • cleaning
  • laundry

So, Rez-One had put together some tips to help you take on these new-found responsibilities with a 3-part blog series dedicated to these student challenges.  This month… laundry!

Laundry Tips for Students in Waterloo

There is an old saying… “Don’t put off until tomorrow… what you can do today”. Really, you don’t have much of a choice when it comes to laundry. Unless you can pay someone to do your laundry, it is inevitable that you’ll have to visit to the laundromat sooner or later. Laundry is possibly the world’s most boring, tedious and mundane chore. However, it’s something that must be done, usually at least once every week. There many ways to do it faster, better, and boredom-free.

To lighten the load, remember that not every item of clothing needs to be washed right away. In fact, washing your clothes too often can wear them out quickly. You could probably wear lots of clothing more than once before you wash and your washing load will be reasonably light.

If you’re down to one pair of jeans or one clean towel, then it’s definitely time to do the laundry. It’s probably best not to wait until you have nothing left to wear. Really, laundry doesn’t take more than an hour and a half to do, especially if you have a washer and dryer. So, the best tip is to try not to put it off for too long.

Some articles of clothing are better off being hung to dry or dry-cleaned. Keep that in mind and plan because once you decide to do your laundry, there may be items that will not be ready to wear the next day. Make a point to schedule laundry time with your regular cleaning and class schedules. It is good to do laundry during the afternoon or an evening that you know you’ll be staying in so that it won’t get in the way of your studies or conflict with your social calendar. Bring a book, your smartphone, tablet or your homework to fill in the time for both drying and washing cycles. It makes sense to make it the same day of the week so that you know… laundry is every 2nd Tuesday evening.

Remember to read the care labels on your clothing before washing them. Some clothing labels indicate that they are not recommended for the dryer, but rather need to be washed with cold water, by hand, or not go in the washing machine at all. Check out the guide to common home laundering and dry-cleaning symbols.

The following are a few handy tips for making your laundry chores simple, easy, successful, and boredom-free:

Sort and Segregate – Prep & Pre-Treat

If you skip the sort step before starting the wash, then you will experience dye-transfer problems, where red sweater plus white t-shirts equals pink T-shirts with lint problems. To sort laundry properly, start with separating your clothing into white, light-coloured, bright and dark divisions to avoid dye-transfer problems. Wash white and light clothing separately. Also separating synthetics such as polyester, nylon, and acrylic from natural fibers like cotton can also cure dye-transfer problems; synthetic fibers can be dye magnets, absorbing the castoffs from dye-rich natural fibers. Separate your “whites” from your “darks” from your “fine washables”.

Troubled by lint buildup on your clothing? Keep lint-generator clothing such as sweatshirts, sweatpants, towels, and flannel fabrics away from nylon and microfiber lint attractors.

For even cleaner clothing, sort clothing by soil level. Jeans worn while playing football or rugby aren’t good wash-mates for lightly soiled blouses or shirts.

Fabric weight, too, should be considered, as the heavy stitching, zippers and buttons on jeans are too rough-and-tumble to share a wash cycle with your light-weight delicate clothing. As you load the washer, check each item of clothing. Close zippers, remove belts and ties, and check pockets for forgotten items that don’t belong in the wash such as pens, lipstick tubs, coins, bills, tissues and even your wallet.

Inspect each garment for stains and pre-treat them before you do the laundry. If you don’t have a stain remover, use a dollop of laundry soap on the stain and rub in. Use only use a bleach pen on white clothing.

Wash and Dry – Fold & Put Away

Always refer to your washer’s loading and capacity instructions, along with reading the detergent label directions, and use a measuring device so that you get your clothing cleaned properly. For example, filling a front-loading spin-cycle washer more fully gets clothes cleaner, but overloading a top-loader that uses an agitator will impede the cleaning process and could damage your clothing.

Remember to select the appropriate water temperature for the clothes in the washer – darker clothes should be washed with cold water and lights can be washed in warmer water.

Once the clothing is loaded, add detergent. Detergents come in different forms, including powder, liquid or pre-measured “pucks”. Some detergents are eco-friendly and are void of any sulfates. You may need to use more detergent for large loads, very dirty clothing, or if you live in an area with hard water. Use a bit less detergent for soft water, small loads or lightly soiled clothing.

During the final rinse cycle, you can add any fabric additives or softeners. However, follow manufacturer’s recommendations carefully when using bleach, non-chlorine bleach, or fabric brighteners, as these toxic products must be used with care and according to label directions.

When the washer cycle has finished, it’s time to dry. Place clothing in an automatic dryer and select the appropriate heat level and cycle duration. Give any twisted garments a good shake as you load them; you’ll give them a head start to dry smooth and wrinkle-free. Hang up your fine washables on hangers or a dryer rack to air-dry. Make sure you fold or hang clothing quickly after removing them from the dryer as the last bit of heat in the garment will help to smooth out wrinkles (and prevent the need to iron). Exercise caution with metal buttons or zippers, as they can be very hot after a tumble in the dryer.

Laundry facilities are available to all residents of Rez-One. As boring as it might be, laundry helps students learn a very important life skill that will further promote their self-sufficiency.

We hope these tips will help you with your laundry challenges while you are away at school. If you have your own laundry tips for your fellow students in Waterloo, add them in the comment area below.

And if you missed the previous blog posts in the series, check them out here.

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