Surviving chores on your own

Isabelle Jones

Tips for students who may be new to doing laundry, washing dishes

How do you do laundry?

For those of you who have never done laundry until setting foot on campus, this step-by-step guide will help.

Campus laundry services

According to the Department of Residence Services Web site, all residence halls have laundry rooms with machines that use smart-card technology to pay for the washing. Students receive these cards when they move into the dorms. Money can be added to the cards at the residence hall’s area desk laundry card stations. It costs $2.50 to wash clothes and drying is free. Money on the card won’t expire.


• Laundry detergent (If you have sensitive skin or dislike fragrances, make sure to buy a detergent that is right for you.)

• Stain remover

• Fabric softener

• Laundry basket


Sort your clothes by color: lights, darks and whites. This is especially important if you plan on washing your clothes in hot water. If you wash them in cold, sorting is not as necessary. You should also sort your underwear into a separate pile from the other clothes and wash them in hot water to get them clean and germ-free.

Treating stains

You can pre-treat stains before washing the clothes with stain remover. Directions for stain removers vary, so check the labels.

Get the washer going

Determine if your load of laundry is large, small or somewhere in between. This will be simple to determine after a few trips to the laundry room. Campus washers have a 20-pound capacity. Start the washing machine by first selecting the appropriate setting and temperature. Hot water can shrink clothing and cause colors to bleed. Keep this in mind when selecting the temperature of the water. Add the detergent according to the directions on the box or jug. Let the soap mix with the water before adding clothes.

Check the tags

Before you put clothes into the washer, check the tags to make sure they can be machine-washed. Some are dry-clean or hand-wash only. (People often hand-wash bras or other undergarments because they are delicate and the rough wash cycle in the machine can damage the fabric). Some cannot be washed in hot water, which is why cold water is often the safer choice.

Adding the clothes

Place the clothes in the washer evenly. Do not lump them all to one side, as they may block the flow of water. Now, let them get clean!

Drying the clothes

When the clothes are finished being washed, it’s time to decide if you want to dry them in the dryer or hang them to dry. Drying clothes can make them shrink, and it can be too rough for more delicate clothes, like those with lace or fine details. Once again, check the tags of the clothes, as some can’t be machine-dried. You may want to add a dryer sheet with the load as well.

Once they are dry, fold them or hang them on hangers.

How do you do the dishes?

Doing the dishes in a residence hall is different from your home kitchen, considering you might be doing them in your bathroom sink.


• dish soap

• sponges/scrubbing brush

• towels

• drying rack

Doing the dishes is much less complicated than doing the laundry. Simply scrape the crusted-on food from the dishes into the trash can, not the bathroom sink, as that can be easily clogged.

“Be considerate when you wash your dishes,” former dorm-dweller and junior hospitality management major Leah Robinson said. “If you don’t want to pick nasty food out of the sink, don’t leave it for others.”

Make sure you use hot, soapy water. After you thoroughly wash your dishes with your sponge or rag and rinse the soapy water off, dry them or put them in a drying rack. You may want to get a tub to carry your wet dishes back to your dorm room and then dry them there.

If your dorm does have a utility sink for dishwashing, you can fill that with hot, soapy water, but just remember that others need to use it, too. Don’t hog the sink.

You may want to use some of your meal plan money to buy disposable plates and silverware to avoid doing dishes as often.

Contact editor Isabelle Jones at [email protected].