How Often Should College Students Do Laundry?

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By Samuel Limoni

One huge change new college students will have to endure is that they will have to start doing their own laundry. I know, I know, this is not fun, but it has to be done. Most dorms or off-campus living quarters will have their own laundry rooms.

Most students should do laundry once every week in order to wash clothes often enough to not overflow their room with dirty laundry. Colleges will charge around $1 to $3 per wash and dry, plus you will have to purchase your own detergent.

You can use traditional detergent, but when I was living in the dorms I realized how much better detergent packs are such as tide pods (link goes to the product on Amazon).

Detergent packs make it much easier and quicker to do your laundry because you don’t have to wait for the washing machine to fill up with water. Check out this video that gives a step-by-step on how to use tide-pods in a washing machine.

Remember to always put the tide pod in first before putting in clothes (especially in a top-load washing machine to avoid any detergent streaks on your clothes.

Do all college living quarters have laundry machines available?

Based on my experience and everyone I’ve talked to, all colleges offer laundry to on-campus living quarters. Most off-campus apartments and houses also have laundry machines, but some may not and you will have to either go to campus or a local laundromat.

When I lived in the dorms at my university, there were 4 different laundry rooms, one for each dorm tower. These laundry rooms had around 20 washers and 20 dryers each.

When I moved to an off-campus house, we also had 1 laundry machine and 1 dryer in the basement.

In the dorms, every time I used a washing machine, I would have to swipe my ID and pay $1.5 per use. Dryers cost $1. This money would come from an account that I put money into at the beginning of the year.

When I lived in an off-campus home, I would not have to pay to use the laundry machine directly, but because laundry machines use water and electricity, I would get charged on my utility bill instead.

Tips and Tricks that make doing laundry easier in college

Although there are usually laundry options available for all college students, there are issues that students will run into. Some of the biggest issues I faced were getting my dirty clothes to the laundry room, and not being able to use the laundry room because each machine was occupied.

So in order to overcome these issues, and many more issues, follow these tips:

  • Do laundry during off-hours. Most college kids will do laundry at around 4 to 9 pm. If you would like to avoid the rush, consider waking up early and doing laundry in the morning or during a time when most others are busy with classes.
  • Purchase a rolling or backpack laundry hamper. I understand that you (college kids) don’t like doing laundry, and because of that, I know you will be overflowing your hamper with dirty clothes. So, having a rolling hamper such as this one on Amazon is very important if you want to have any success in getting your heavy hamper all the way to the laundry machine. A backpack hamper is also a solution to make transporting easier.
  • Use cold water. Cold water washing will help prevent wrinkling, shrinking, and fading of your clothes. Along with this, dark-colored clothing is less likely to bleed in cold water washes. The Tide Pods I recommended above work great in cold water.
  • Don’t overload the machine. A big problem with college laundry rooms is that the machines go out of commission often. One of the biggest reasons for this is that college kids overload the machines. Overloading the machines not only can break them but will also prevent your clothes from getting clean.
  • Check your pockets. College kids are great at losing things (I would know especially) so make sure to check your pockets before starting up a laundry machine. I have left my AirPods in my pockets multiple times now and was lucky enough to spot them before they ended up broken in the washing machine.

If you want to see more, check out another article I wrote titled: 10 Tips To Make Laundry Easier In College

What to do if you don’t have access to a laundry facility?

If you don’t have access to a laundry facility, doing laundry can be difficult. There are generally laundromats that are within a walking distance or a short drive away from most campus or off-campus housing. Or some campuses will have laundromats available for off-campus students.

If you need to walk, I would recommend getting a laundry backpack such as this one on Amazon.

If none of this is available to you it will be difficult to do laundry, however, you do have some options.

  • Hand wash your clothes. Hand washing clothes sucks, but sometimes you got to do what you got to do. As long as you have a sink or a bin and some detergent you can get it done. This video will teach you exactly how to do it.
  • Ask a friend or neighbor if you could use their laundry machine. Chances are that if you don’t have a laundry machine in your house, one of your neighbors will. So, you might have to do some door-to-door knocking, but eventually, you’ll find someone who will allow you to use their laundry machine, especially in a college neighborhood as students are generally very lax.
  • Go home every 2-4 weeks and do laundry at home. If you have to, you can try to get your parents to bring you home every once in a while to do laundry. Many times they will be happy to take you home especially if they are empty-nesters when you are away. This method will require you to have a lot of clothes and multiple hampers.

How to stay motivated to do laundry in college

As college goes on, most students tend to start losing motivation to do things like cleaning and laundry, This mostly has to do with how hard their classes are and their lack of energy due to those classes.

Trust me I’ve been there, you should’ve seen how dirty my room was sophomore year. However, in order to be a mature adult, cleaning and doing laundry are important.

So the best way I found to motivate myself to do laundry is to:

  • Schedule laundry time. Finding a time when I am not busy and I know I won’t be tired from classes and studying and scheduling it for laundry is a great way to actually do it. Otherwise, I would forget.
  • Make a 2 in 1 trip. If the laundry machine is near the school store dining area, do laundry and a quick supply run in the same trip.
  • Reward yourself. After doing laundry, reward yourself with maybe a good meal, or dessert.

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