Doing your own laundry in college can be a bit rocky at times, especially around others who are also trying to get theirs done. Here's how to survive, AND how to take care of your clothes if you're like me and didn't know much about laundry before going to college!
Surviving the Laundromat/Laundry Facility
Bring lots of small bills and change to feed the machines.
Stay in the laundromat the whole time your things are washing or drying (keeps others from hijacking your machine)
Bring pen-and-paper homework (no electronics--too easy to get lost/damaged).
Do your washing with a friend.
Cart big baskets of laundry to and from the laundromat using a hand truck.
Do your folding at the laundry facility while you have the space available.
Basic color sorting: White, light colors, red, and darker colors.
Basic fabric sorting: Thick fabrics, medium fabrics, and thin fabrics.
You can get away with washing red things with black things to reduce wash cycles.
Never sort anything red or even dark pink into a load of whites or light colors. (Learn from my fail!)
Water Temperature and Spin Speed
When in doubt, wash an item in cold water on the gentlest cycle with the lowest spin speed.
Actually, wash most things in cold water if you can; it saves money on energy!
For sanitation purposes, use hot water for towels, sheets, and cotton underwear.
Spin thick fabrics like towels and denim on high.
Spin thin clothes and other delicates on the lowest setting.
Load Size and Detergent Measurements
A bundle of clothes you can carry under one arm is a very small load.
A bundle of clothes you can comfortably carry with two arms is a small load
A two-handed basketful is a medium load.
A full two-handed basket heaped with clothes on top is a large load--don't overload your washer!
Very small load: fill measuring cup up to line 0.
Small load: fill cup up to line 1.
Medium load: fill cup to line 2.
Large load: fill cup to line 3.
If you're dealing with heavily-soiled items, increase the amount of detergent. (For instance, if I had a heavily-soiled small load, I would fill the measuring cup up to line 2 instead of line 1.)
Caring for Delicate/Fussy Clothes
Purchase a plastic dishwashing tub and use this to soak and hand-wash delicate clothes.
Use a "gentle laundry" soap or even some baby shampoo to hand-wash new, brightly dyed clothing (especially pink or red).
Use a drying rack to air-dry delicate clothes, or any garment you're worried about ruining.
Let air-drying clothes dry for at least 24 hours before folding or wearing.