Laundry basics – off to University or setting up home for the first time!

It is approaching that time of year when thousands of students are starting university, many having to grasp laundry basics and setting up home for the first time.

Crash courses in operating a washing machine, separating different coloured garments, will be offered by parents nationwide as they prepare their teenagers for independent living.

We have all at some time mixed the wrong colours together and acquired undies in a delicate shade of pink or grey but as parents we do our best to pass on our learned experience to our offspring!

Parents are hopeful that teenagers will keep abreast of their washing. However, there will be an element that doesn’t, and only launder when they have run out of clean clothes or when, dare we say it, they go home to Mum/Dad.


Take your typical student house scenario and you will perhaps find the following:-

Savvy Sophie who likes routine and being organised; she splits her clothes into 3 piles, whites, lights and darks and washes every 7 – 9 days. She hangs her wet clothes up to dry, thereby saving money on tumble drying, and prolonging the life of her clothes. She never runs out of clean clothes to wear, unlike ….

Lazy Lucy, who only washes her clothes when she runs out and finds she has to quickly purchase new undies or hand wash items late at night, hoping they will dry within a few hours to put on the next morning. Lazy Lee, Lucy’s male equivalent going commando – not to be kinky but purely because he’s worn each pair of boxer shorts at least twice and the underwear drawer is bare.

Hoarder Harry likes to save up his dirty washing, and doesn’t mind lugging it all home every three weeks or so for his Mum to wash. He clearly isn’t grasping independent living!

Corner Cutting Chris thinks it is perfectly acceptable to spray his clothes with his favourite aftershave or deodorant to freshen them up – eugh!

Unless students are sharing a flat/house with its own washing machine, they can expect to pay circa £3.60 per wash in Halls or a laundrette. Many students will compare this cost to the number of drinks they may have purchased instead! Add in tumble drying which equals the cost of another drink, or two!


Laundry Basics – setting up home for the first time:

  • Laundry basket – purchase one with handles which can be picked up and taken straight to the washing machine/launderette.
  • Net laundry bags – essential to avoid losing socks in the washing machine.
  • Stain remover
  • Clothes Airer
  • Hangers – to hang wet shirts and dresses
  • Ironing board – if space is limited, purchase a small table top version.
  • Iron
  • A tub of Distinctive washing powder  – fail safe biological powder which eliminates dirt and odour at low temperature thus making it safer for students who will have to wash an array of colours together. Plus, the powder also freshens the air with its wonderful designer scent whilst clothes are drying! And, No need for additional fabric softeners either or to spray from top to toe with designer scent.


Tips for students laundering their clothes:-

  • Split clothes into 3 piles – whites, lights and darks. Take care washing new items of clothing since the colour may run a little initially.
  • Check care labels – some items, such as wool, require hand washing only or very low temperatures.
  • If using a laundrette, find out the quietest time in the week.
  • A full load actually leaves a third of the drum space free. Giving room around your clothes in the machine to facilitate water and powder to reach all areas of the wash.
  • Use only the specified amount of washing powder in the machine – using more will only cost you more and results will be no better.
  • Spin as much water out of your clothes as possible, reducing the drying time.
  • Hang shirts and dresses on hangers on your clothes airer as soon as the wash has ended – they will dry more quickly and have significantly less creases.


How long can you wear clothes before they need washing:-

  • Socks and underwear – up to 1 day
  • Jumpers and fleeces – 3 to 4 days
  • Shirts and t-shirts – 1 to 2 days
  • Jeans and trousers – 3 to 4 days
  • Dressing gowns – every 3 weeks
  • Pyjamas – 3 or 4 nights
  • Towels – weekly, however, take 2 towels since they take a while to dry – ensure they are spread out to dry between each use.
  • Bedding – officially weekly, however, every 2 to 3 weeks should be fine.