A new spin on life: Doing your own laundry

Maggie Gates | Staff Photographer
Maggie Gates | Staff Photographer
Maggie Gates | Staff Photographer

By Nina Saluga | Staff Writer

It happens to the best of us.

Your alarm goes off, you flop out of bed and shuffle over to your dresser, only to find that your favorite sweats — let’s be honest, at this point in the semester we’re all guilty of bumming it — are in your laundry basket. You’re a busy college student that can’t even shower because all your towels are either peering out at you from the depths of your hamper, or remain unkempt on the floor of your dorm room.

Not having the time to keep up with laundry every week is an understandable concern. Classes are busy, and sometimes submitting that assignment on Blackboard takes priority over a tidy outfit. Using a dirty towel isn’t the end of the world, we get it.

What is not understandable, however, is taking your hamper home for mom and dad to take care of on the weekends when you’d rather be doing anything but taking grown-up responsibility for your own dirty laundry.

The fact that this article even needs to be written is a tad outrageous in and of itself, but that’s a different rant for another time.

For those of you who are still taking their laundry home to mom and dad, this instructional guide is for you. Here at The Duke we’re calling you out on your dirty laundry and providing step by step instructions on how to clean up your act.

1) At this point, laundry is a part of adult life and recognizing this is the first step toward conquering that seemingly insurmountable pile of towels you’re going to need in order to shower. Taking your laundry home to your parents is outrageous. Know you have a problem, own it and grab some detergent. You’re going to need it.

2) Worst case scenario: you enter the laundry room completely clueless. How long of a cycle do I need? Warm or cold rinse? Darks vs lights? Don’t panic! Check that cool little tag stitched onto every article of clothing you’ve probably ever purchased to figure out how to proceed next. The tag will usually give you explicit instructions for how to handle whatever you’re trying to wash. If not, it’s helpful to know that darks are washed in cold water to preserve their color. This may oftentimes be referred to as a bright load. Lights should be washed in warm water, and most of the on-campus washers and dryers have preset cycle durations so you don’t have to worry about how long to put a load in. 35 to 45 minutes is pretty standard though, in case you were wondering.

3) Next, let’s go over some laundry etiquette. First of all, do not — let’s repeat that — do not be that person that puts their laundry in the washer for a cycle and never comes to claim it or transfer it to a dryer. If you so happen to be this person, do not be surprised to find your clothes balled up on top of the washer or in a wet sack on the floor. If you’re lucky, some laundry saint might transfer your load into the dryer for you. But do not take this for granted! If you are so lucky as to run into one of these magical laundry fairies that moves your laundry for you — and that doesn’t mean to the floor — make sure you thank them and get your act together for your next load.

4) The same rules and restrictions from number three apply to dryer procedures.

5) Do not overfill the washers. It’s a rookie mistake with irreversible consequences. Be sure to use your building’s washer/dryer appropriate laundry detergent. If your washer calls for HE (high efficiency) laundry detergent, buy high efficiency laundry detergent. Please! Your resident assistant begs of you! Overfilling the washers and using the wrong detergent can damage the machines and will leave your clothes soapy and gross. Just don’t do it.

6) Do not use all of the laundry room equipment at once. There are other students on your floor and in your building trying to be adults here, too. Do not annoy their parents by giving these students a reason to lug their dirty laundry home with them. Do laundry more often so you don’t have to use the machines all at one time. Common courtesy, people.

7) If your floor or RA has implemented a schedule or sign up sheet for laundry room usage, do not be the person that signs up for a slot and doesn’t show up. Worse yet, do not be the person that shows up without signing up. Don’t take someone else’s time slot if they’ve signed up for a two o’clock time slot and they haven’t arrived by 2:01. Likewise, do not sign up for a two o’clock time slot and show up to do your laundry at half past two.

Here’s hoping to finishing the semester out with cleaner clothes, happier parents and more educated laundry room patrons, Duquesne.