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The life cycle of laundry

A few laundry machines are open and ready for use in Minnich Hall.
A few laundry machines are open and ready for use in Minnich Hall.

Laundry. Whether you see it as a cleaning ritual or a boring chore, you have to do it.

Most people are introduced to laundry through parents nagging them to put their load in for a spin, but many first encounter the act by beginning their first year of college, when they’re finally out of the coop.

There are plenty of options for doing laundry around Miami University’s campus — in the dorms, at a laundromat or even in your house. But even with the options available, many people still end up with pilling, sticky residue and damp clothes. 

By doing your laundry incorrectly, you’re wearing down your clothes quicker, thus shortening their lifespans. It’s important for students to know how to properly do their laundry.

“I do my own laundry at home, but my washing machine doesn’t have the same settings as the ones here in the dorms,” said Julia Keto, a sophomore organizational leadership major. “Whenever I do my laundry, I just pray.”

According to Wash, water temperature makes all the difference when it comes to different types of garments. 

“I normally wash all my clothes in the cold water setting. It’s what I’ve always known,” Keto said. 

Photo by Allison Lee | The Miami Student
Laundry rooms in dorms display instructions for washing clothes.

Cold water is perfect for fabrics that bleed (think dark and bright colors), as well as delicates which are prone to wrinkles. Many fibers in clothing are actually susceptible to damage from hot water and hot water can even dull bright colors in your clothing.

Hot water is recommended for heavy soiling of the fabric, as it removes stains effectively. Just make sure you look at the labels on your clothing, since different garments may require different temperatures.

You should also only use the directed amount of laundry detergent as the bottle calls for. Too much detergent, and you’ll be left with sticky clothes, as the detergent might not have washed all the way out.

College students may struggle with damp clothes even after a drying cycle. The biggest culprit for that is over-filling your dryer or forgetting to clean the lint catcher. This is extremely prevalent because, when doing laundry in the dorms, the machines take your MUlaa as payment.

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Another issue many people come across is the amount of times they are actually doing their laundry. A Vogue article on the topic titled “How Often Should We Wash Your Clothes, Exactly?” reveals that some garments like denim and wool typically get over-washed. 

If you want your clothes to truly last, denims should be washed every three to 10 wears, whereas wool should be washed every five wears or even at the end of every season. Frequent washing and drying of these articles can wear them down, meaning you’ll have to buy staple items more often.

“Typically, I do my laundry once or twice a week, but for certain things like jeans, I only wash them after I wear them out and they get dirty, or after a few wears if I’m in,” Keto said.

Photo by Allison Lee | The Miami Student
The laundry room of Minnich Hall sits ready for students to wash their clothes.

Separating lights and darks protects your lights from the dark clothes bleeding onto them. Keto doesn’t normally separate her lights and darks, a habit she said likely isn’t good.

However, there is an option to protect your clothes without doing the extra work. Shout’s “Color Catchers” are a great way to protect your lights in the wash.These dryer sheet-esque sheets are ones you just throw in the wash without having to separate your load. They catch runoff from dark clothes, hence the name, and prevent your lights from soiling. 

But, if you are passionate about your clothes and are skeptical about these sheets, separating lights and darks will ensure that your light clothes do not get stained from excess dye in your brightly colored clothes.

Laundry can be quite the hassle, but it is worth it to do it correctly. Not only will your clothes last longer, but learning how to properly take care of your clothes can take your task from being mundane and stressful to simple and efficient.