Ole Miss Family Association

University of Mississippi

Laundry Tips

Check out our Laundry Tips, provided by the Ole Miss Family Association.

This a great resource to print and mail to your student for the first week away from home!

  1. Gather what you need before heading to the Laundromat.

    • Quarters — it costs money to wash and dry clothes. You can use Ole Miss Express in the residence hall washers and dryers.
    • Detergent — clothes need this to get clean. Go to your local grocery store or Wal-Mart to purchase laundry detergent (liquid or powder). You’ll probably like the brand your family has used at home. Liquid is less messy but costs a bit more than powdered detergent.
    • Bleach — a must for whites. Be careful with bleach, one splash can ruin your red shirt or black pants. “Whitening” products are a safe alternative. Some detergents have a “safe” bleach additive; read the labels!
    • Fabric softener — helps eliminate static cling and makes clothes feel, well softer. Fabric softener comes in liquid (added during the rinse cycle) and sheet form (added during the drying cycle). Not everyone finds the need for using fabric softener so you are the judge on this one.
    • Small mesh bag – for delicates.
    • Laundry basket or duffle bag — no one wants to see your dirty underwear hanging over your arm. In a pinch, you can use a pillowcase.
  2. Separate your clothes according to color (and fabric).

    • This is the most crucial step of doing laundry. Clothes with color tend to bleed in the wash, and if you don’t separate your laundry by whites, lights, darks, and delicates, you’ll have pink underwear and socks until you buy new ones. If you can sort clothes, you can do laundry!
      • Whites—basic t-shirts, white socks and underwear, sheets, pillowcases and any other plain white clothes.
      • Lights—everything from pastels to striped or flowered white garments. It’s hard to go wrong with this category; if a piece of clothing is mostly white but has enough color to make you  question putting it in the whites load, put it with lights.
      • Darks—jeans, dark socks and underwear, dark shirts, and black pants. Brand new dark clothes probably should be washed alone the first time or two just to be safe.
      • Delicates—wool garments, sweaters, satin or other luxury fabric goes in this group. To be absolutely safe, these items should be hand-washed despite the availability of delicate cycles  on washing machines. To hand wash, fill your bathroom sink with cold water and a capful of Woolite. Soak the garments, rinse thoroughly in cold water and hang to dry. OR, take your delicates to a local dry cleaner.
    • Important: read and follow the care direction labels inside each clothing item.
    • Finally, as you sort your laundry, empty the pockets and zip the zippers.
  3. Wash the clothes! This is the simple part.

    • Pre-treat any stains (with Zout! or a similar product). Just give the stain a quick spray with and gently rub the treated area.
    • Select water temperature and wash settings. These will vary by machine. You can always play it safe and go with cold wash, cold rinse and a permanent press or regular setting. The hot water setting should be reserved for bed sheets and towels; it’s too risky for your favorite jeans and t-shirt. If you’re machine washing delicates, select cold water and the delicate cycle (duh!).
    • Most commercial washing machines have a detergent dispenser on top of the machine. If you are using an older machine, you’ll have to put the detergent directly into the machine. Allow time for the detergent and water to mix before adding your clothes, one piece at a time, to the washer.
    • The wash cycle takes 25-40 minutes so plan to use this time to study or bring a video game, book to read, or PC. NEVER LEAVE YOUR LAUNDRY OR YOU MIGHT BE MISSING MORE THAN A SOCK WHEN YOU RETURN!
    • The biggest problems people have with washing machines are (1) they overload the washer or (2) they use too much detergent. Never fill a washer more than 1/2 to 3/4 full, and follow the directions on the detergent box or bottle for the amount of detergent to use per washer load.
  4. Dry the clothes! This is the REALLY simple part.

    • Clean the lint filter before you start the dryer. If you’re using a fabric softener sheet, add it to the dryer.
    • As you move your clothes from washer to dryer, shake out each piece. Check to make sure the stains you treated have been removed; if not, treat and wash again. If you put a stained garment in the dryer, the heat will set the stain—forever.
    • Just as with washing machines, don’t overload the dryer. It will just take more time and quarters if the clothes can’t move around to dry.
    • Choose the lowest heat setting that will get the job done. For delicates, its best to use a dryer rack instead of the dryer.
    • Most drying cycles take 30-40 minutes, but you should begin checking garments 5-10 minutes before the cycle ends. Light-weight items dry quicker than jeans and towels.
  5. So, you think you’re finished…not quite. Now it’s time to FOLD the clothes!

    • Begin folding immediately to reduce wrinkles and eliminate the need to iron.
    • Hang shirts and permanent press items; never hang sweaters or fine knits. They do much better folded.
  6. Done! Congratulations! You are a laundry pro! And when you go home for a visit, surprise mom and don’t bring your dirty clothes with you!