How to keep your whites white and your colors bright
As the Class of 2018 arrives on campus, BU Today has put together a series of articles we call Campus Life 101. Each day this week, we are providing you with tips about some important basics: how to shop for groceries, how to do laundry, how to pick the right backpack to avoid injuries, how to avoid or reduce stress and anxiety, and how to stay safe on—and off—campus.
You’ve finally arrived on campus, unloaded the car, and unpacked your gear. No parents to nag you about when to go to bed, what to eat, or what to wear. Also, no parents to wash what you wear. Hmm. The laundry thing may be a test that no one’s grading, but you can still fail it.
Fear not. Mastering a few basics is all you need to ensure that your whites stay white, your colors don’t fade, and your jeans don’t shrink.
First off, find out what kind of washing machine you’re using. High-efficiency machines require their own kind of detergent, so check first before stocking up on supplies. Second, if you really want whites to stay white, separate light and dark items. Dark clothing can bleed, turning your white sheets a color other than white. Hot water should be used on whites (a bleach like Clorox is optional)—cold water for everything else (otherwise your colored clothes will fade). If you’re unsure what temperature to use on a piece of clothing or what dryer cycle to use, read the label on the garment. Most clothes come with at least that much instruction.
Now a word about the missing sock phenomenon, which any laundry veteran can tell you is not an urban legend. It goes like this: the number of socks you put into the washing machine or dryer is rarely the number you take out. Socks are static by nature and easily wrap themselves into sheets, towels, and the like, or can fall out when you’re stuffing laundry back into your duffel. They’re also notorious for slipping to the bottom of the machine or the back of the dryer. So avoid having a drawer full of mismatched socks by folding the tops of each dirty pair together when you put them in your laundry bag or pinning them together before throwing in the machine.
A tip for those of you who want to do laundry only once a month (yes, gentlemen, once a month is considered infrequent). Invest in a bottle of stain remover or one of those stain remover sticks. Apply to a stain as soon as it occurs. If you wait a month, the stain will be set and may be impossible to get out.
Finally, a word about laundry room etiquette. If you’re using a dryer that has a lint trap, empty it before you put your clothes in and again when you take them out. Empty lint traps will help your clothes dry faster and prevent fires caused by lint buildup. And be considerate. Don’t leave your clothes sitting in a washing machine or dryer for hours. And if you have to remove someone else’s laundry from a washer or dryer so you can use it, make sure that you remove every piece and put it all on top of the washer or dryer so the owner can find it (all of it) easily.
Find more tips on how to navigate college life in our series, Campus Life 101.11 Comments