So you’ve run out of underwear: How to do laundry in a dorm


Stephanie Sansoucy

My first time ended with a phone call to my dad and some troubled housekeeping staff, but it doesn’t have to be that way for everyone.

There will come a time when you will have to do your first load of laundry in your new dorm. If you’re like me, you’ll need some help. Otherwise, you might put your dirty clothes and detergent into a dryer, turn it on and then learn your lesson the hard way.

That is exactly what I did: Put my clothes in the wrong machine and watched my first attempt at being an adult splash blue liquid all over the door of a dryer. I didn’t know that the washers were the top-loading machines, and I most certainly didn’t pay attention when the AppCard scanner asked if I just wanted to pay for one dry cycle (why would I need more than one?).

Junior psychology major Andrew Hall does his laundry in Hoey Residence Hall.
Junior psychology major Andrew Hall does his laundry in Hoey Residence Hall. File Photo | The Appalachian

Since the dryer incident of 2012, I’ve learned some tips about dorm laundry that I will now share with you.

1. The washers are usually top loading and are numbered starting with one. Dryers are usually front loading and start with higher numbers.

2. If you subscribe to the #YOLO school of thought and would not like to sort your clothes into whites and colors, avoid any repercussions of your risky choice and wash your mosh pit of clothes on the “white” setting. This will cut down on the risk of your colors bleeding together, but there are no guarantees. So be safe, sort your loads into whites, darks and colors.

3. Always pour your detergent into a cap or measuring cup before pouring it into the washer. You don’t want to be “that guy or girl” who floods the laundry room with suds.

4. Before turning on the dryer, use a tissue or used dryer sheet to clean the lint screen in order to prevent it from catching fire. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, the lint screen is located at the bottom of the opening to the dryer. You lift up the screen and a gross mix of hair and lint will be caught in it. This can be removed by simply wiping the fuzz off the screen.

5. Cut dryer sheets in half to save money.

6. Do not leave your clothes in a washer or a dryer. People will take them out and put them on the folding table if you’re lucky. However, I’ve seen my fair share of clothes dumped on the floor. Especially on a Sunday night when everyone remembers they have no clean underwear for class the next day.

7. If you do find yourself in a situation where you need to remove someone’s clothing from a machine, give him or her a courtesy 5-10 minutes before removing clothes. If you want good karma, fold the clothes on a nearby table.

When in doubt, call your trusted expert in domestic affairs. For me, this was my dad only because he got a kick out of it, and I didn’t want to shame my own mother. In the event of a mishap, whether that be flooding your residence hall’s laundry room or putting detergent in a dryer, let a residence assistant know so they can better assist you. Good luck.

Story: Stephanie Sansoucy, Community Outreach Director