Laundry Tips for College Dorms

I have been living in a relatively large co-ed college dorm now for about 5 months now. I live on the third floor, so many of these tips might be different if you are on the floor with the laundry room. For example, you could walk into the hall to see if the machines are empty or not.


The best time to do laundry is NOT the weekend! That is when everyone tries to do their laundry. Also, there are a lot of night owls, so don’t think that when you pull an all-nighter you can do your laundry when you’re awake at 2 am. I have found that the best time to do laundry is at 6 or 7 am. The best day I’ve found to do my laundry is either a Tuesday or a Thursday.


Know how long the machines take and plan ahead. I have taken people’s laundry out of the washing machine that has been in there so long that it’s completely dry. This makes it so your laundry gets done faster, and reduces the chance that someone will remove your laundry from the machine for you.


Don’t be afraid to take other people’s laundry out of the machines! It happens all the time. It may even happen to you. If you don’t take the laundry out of the machines, I can almost guarantee that you will not be able to wash your clothes. When I have to take clothes out of the washing machine, I always just tell myself that the laundry has just been in the wash, so it’s clean. It makes it a little easier. Usually, I won’t take it out unless it’s pretty clear by the not-soaking wet clothing that it’s been in the machine for a while. People may get upset, but they should have been on top of it! It’s not your responsibility to make things easier for them while postponing the stuff you need to do.


I recommend keeping small items, such as socks, in a zippered laundry bag so you don’t end up with no socks. Trust me – socks get eaten by the dryer more in college than anywhere else.


Find a simple detergent to use. If you have sensitive skin, go with unscented and skip the dryer sheets. Also, think about where you are going to store your laundry detergent. Mine is at the bottom of my laundry basket. It’s a small container so it’s easy to carry downstairs. Think about the size of the container as well. If it is a big container with a spout, are you going to be able to lift it up to the machine? Do you have to put the detergent in the lid, and, if so, will the lid get sticky and gross?


If you are using those pods of detergent, THEY GO IN WITH YOUR CLOTHES in a front-load washer. They DO NOT go in the soap drawer. I have had to clean destroyed pods out of the soap drawer many times. It is not fun. (A tip: wear gloves if you are cleaning out pods – they are very concentrated. I connected these two the hard way.)


My¬†friend told me about this when I was helping her with laundry. When you are cleaning out the lint trap (and DO THIS. Every time. No exceptions.), use a dryer sheet to scrape up the lint so you don’t have to touch it. Yes, dryer sheets feel better than lint. Another thing, you might want to take the lint out of the lint trap before removing your clothes, if at all possible. Otherwise, you might discover that whatever you were washing brought lint into your room.


Do not leave your laundry until you only have one pair of underwear left. Trust me, you will not want to do it. Try to make it a routine to do your laundry once a week. That way, you’ll have a schedule and always know you will make it to the next laundry day with enough clean clothes. (for me, I only have one week’s worth of clothes, so I have no ability to make an excuse not to wash them).


Wash your sheets. I know, it’s a pain, but it is really a necessity. If you really are lazy (there’s no problem with that, we’re in college after all) then at least wash your pillowcase. I really need to get better at this. One thing that helps is having two sets of sheets that you can switch out so that if your laundry is done at the end of the day, you don’t have to make your bed when you are ready to fall asleep. Another tip is, if you have room, have your bed about a foot away from the wall. It is SO MUCH EASIER to change the sheets if you can get on either side of the mattress.

Now I’m off to get my laundry out of the dryer.



3 thoughts on “Laundry Tips for College Dorms

  1. Candi says:

    You have it down Fiona! Laundry was much simpler when I was your age. We didn’t have the pods. Dryer sheets or even fabric softener. We did have chlorine bleach though. Sheets and socks and shirts and maybe towels were white and we bleached to keep them that way.Oh, so were the summer whites my husband wore in the Navy. Those had to be very white. Whoa! Wait a minute! We sometimes used liquid starch… talk about complicated. I preferred the spray starch but it cost a lot more. My biggest concern was having enough change to run the machines. Do you have to use coins to run the machines you use?

    • Fiona Kelley says:

      We don’t use change. It’s included in our dorm room cost so that we don’t have that complication.

  2. Heidi says:

    I really, really like this blog. Thanks, Fiona. I think your laundry tips are excellent, and what a good idea to write about the task of doing the laundry. I’ve often heard that young adults leave home not knowing how to do the laundry. I recall being one of the college students who had to learn how to wash clothes. It is also quite different washing in shared machines. Thanks for the post.

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