Laundry 101

Loads of fun.

Living on your own brings a lot of firsts: your first solo grocery shopping trip, learning how to cook, and possibly the hardest of all – doing your own laundry. Hot-hot, hot-cold, warm-cold, warm-hot, not to mention permanent press… what is this secret language? Well, we are here with a comprehensive laundry guide to get you through the confusion and give your parents a break from the weekly laundry calls!

1. Read the Labels

Each piece of clothing should have a small tag on it telling you specific directions, some are machine washable whereas others have to be hand-washed or dry-cleaned.

A handy guide.

2. Sort Your Clothes 1.0

You need to sort your clothes into two piles: whites and darks. The white pile can include pastels and light grey. You should also make sure to wash your delicate items separately. (Side note: make sure you double check that no red sock finds its way into your white pile, otherwise you might be sporting a lot of pink in the future!)

3. Sort Your Clothes 2.0

Next sort the two separate piles by fabric; for example, towels go with sheets and not with other clothes. But if there’s not enough to place in each pile for a full load, you can wash them all together.

4. Choose Your Detergent

If you have sensitive skin, go with a natural detergent that’s free of chemicals and irritants caused by added scent, and otherwise any detergent will work! For one load, use the cap of the detergent filling it to the line and then pouring it into the washer drum. Or throw a couple of Tide pods into the machine (ideally, 1-3 depending on how full the machine is).

5. Pick a Temperature

Towels and delicates should be washed on hot, whites on warm, and dark colors on cold. If you can’t remember which temperature to use (happens to me almost every time I wash clothes), just wash everything cold! If you use hot for everything, it could shrink some items. Crop tops are cool but a whole wardrobe of them could be a bit much, especially during the winter.

6. Load Items & Wait

This is my favorite step – go watch some Netflix or make some nachos! Just don’t forget to take out the wet clothes and put them in the dryer as soon as possible after the cycle has finished.

7. Dryer Time!

By far the easiest part of laundry. Put your items into the dryer on regular unless it’s the underwear load, in which case use the delicate button. Easy as pie!

8. Tips & Tricks

  • Don’t cram the washer – if it’s too full, your clothes won’t get cleaned!
  • After the washing cycle is done, shake your clothes out before putting them into the dryer so they come out less wrinkled.
  • Always empty out the lint tray in the dryer before using it.


Andy Karp is a senior at George Washington University and a contributor at From a young age, she has had a passion for creative writing, fashion and journalism. Catch her on Instagram, @foundingfoodies and Wishi, as an online stylist.

Cover image captured by Cayton Heath.

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