When you live at home you have the awesome bonus of usually having one of your parents do your laundry for you. Moving out and into your first apartment means no more parents doing laundry for you -- time to learn how to do it all on your own.
When you think, "I'm going to be living in my first apartment" it’s important that you learn the ways of the washer and dryer. Whether you have your own washer/dryer or it’s communal for your apartment building or entire complex, it’s important to keep these tips and tricks in mind. It may just save you from having a shirt two sizes too small or turning your whites into pinks.
Set a Schedule
It’s never a good idea to wait to do your laundry until you are on your last pair of underwear. Instead, set a schedule. Do you want to set time aside once a week, twice a week? If you have your own washer/dryer unit you can do it whenever suits you best. If you have a communal unit you might think of doing it on a week day instead of weekend as there may be less people using it.
Separation is Key
Mixing colors may save you quarters or water, but it won’t help your clothes one bit. Depending on the types of clothes you own you can pick which way you want to separate them: darks/lights/towels or colors/whites/delicates or jeans/colors/delicates, etc. Make living in your first apartment easier by having one of those multi-baskets instead of just one hamper, then everything will already be sorted by the time you begin.
Halfway is Full Enough
When it comes to placing your load in the washer don’t over stuff it. You may be able to fit all of your colors in at the same time, but not everything will get washed. Fill the washing machine no more than halfway to ensure that everything gets thoroughly cleaned.
Read the Labels
The tags on your clothing are for more than just telling you what size they are. They also tell you how that particular piece of clothing can be washed. It’s important to read them before throwing something in the wash because certain items are “hand wash only.”
Check Your Clothes Before You Chuck ‘Em
When doing laundry in your first apartment it’s important to make sure that all your zippers are zipped and your sweatshirt strings are tied. It's prudent to check all your pockets for any loose change (yay free money!), gum (it could end up staining your clothes), or chapstick (it’s just a waste of good chapstick).
Get Stains Out Pronto
To save your clothes get the stains out as soon as you're able to. Most stains will go away as long as you know what to soak them in. Check out this DIY Stain Removal Infographic for the most common stain removing solutions.
Detergent – It’s a Must
If you’ve never bought detergent before it can be a little bit tricky. Don’t get the super cheap stuff as it tends to not work as well. Tide is always a great choice, but other brands like Seventh Generation (environmentally-friendly) and Gain also work great in your first apartment. Decide if you want to go the route of liquid, pods, or powder and make sure you read the instructions in order to not use too much!
Don’t Leave Clothes
If you're using a communal washer you probably don’t want to sit in the laundry room to wait for the cycle to be done, therefore set a timer. As soon as it goes off you move your clothes as others may be waiting to use the washer. If you have your own you're more than likely going to hear when your washer is finished, but it's still good to get them out right away. No one likes mildew growing on forgotten clothes. Gross.
Keep The Washer Clean
Pro-tip: When you're done using the washer don’t close the door all the way. Leave the door ajar just a bit, that way the washer has the ability to air out. The same problem of mildew can come up if you trap all the moisture after using it.
Don’t Place in Dryer
Hopefully you read the labels of your clothes before you put them in the washer, if not then it's important to do this now. There are certain items that can’t be put through the dryer, like spandex and elastic. Other items will wear down faster if you put them in the dryer, such as bras, yoga pants, bathing suits, and a fair number of delicates.
Check Dryer Lint
It’s important to take the lint out of the “lint trap” after every use. If you're using a communal dryer it would be helpful to check it before using. When the lint trap is full the dryer will heat to higher temperatures, therefore working harder than normal and causing it to use more energy. It can also be a fire hazard, so clean out those lint traps!
If you have to pay to use the dryer, maybe invest money in a drying rack or hang them on hangers around your place. If you choose the latter of the two and have a roommate it would be a smart idea to check with them before hanging your wet laundry all over the place!
Once all your clothes are dry don’t just set them on the bed and walk away. Fold them right away so that you can check “doing laundry” off your list of things to do. After that you're finished. Go relax and tell yourself "I just rocked doing laundry in my first apartment!"
Looking to complete a really deep clean of your first apartment? Download our Seasonal Deep Cleaning Checklist, it lists off all the places in your apartment that most people don't think to clean until they move out!