Listen up. If you’re over 18 and your mommy still does your laundry, you’ve probably realized by now that you’re going to be SOL in the big scary world. Hey, it’s okay – at some point in your life, Momma stopped brushing your teeth, washing your hair, wiping your ass, and all the other things that kept you fresh-smelling and somewhat socially acceptable. You’re gonna learn to do laundry on your own, too, because the ability to remove Svedka and BO from your clothes is a basic function of self-sufficiency and personal hygiene.
So you’ve taken the first step and decided you don’t want to grow up to be Buster Bluth. But if you ask your friends how to do laundry, they WILL remember for the next four years and they will tell the hotties at da club and the hotties at da club will think you’re a pampered dumbfuck (you might be) and YOU WILL NEVER GET LAID. So here’s your (mostly) shame-free guide to being the independent fucking human you are expected to be in higher education.
Before you start, plan accordingly.
Step 1: Separate your laundry into four piles.
You will have four piles: light delicates, dark delicates, light regulars, dark regulars.
- Lights vs. darks: If it’s white, pastel, or mostly white, it will henceforth be referred to as “a light.” If it’s dark-colored, it’s “a dark.” This system exists for a reason: Intentional Pink is hot on both men and women, but I Fucked Up My Laundry pink means YOU WILL NOT GET LAID.
- Delicates vs. regulars: Delicates are anything you don’t want damaged in the washing machine or dryer, like nice sweaters, t-shirts you don’t want to shrink, lacy shit, wool, cotton, bras or your Friday Night Frat Panties. You will treat them gently in comparison. Everything else (jeans, sweatshirts, socks, your period undies) is a regular garment. Sometimes if you don’t have enough delicates for a load on their own, it’s fine to wash them with the same-shade regulars and sort them later.
Note: If you keep things in your pockets (midgets or Tater Tots) give them a quick frisk.
Step 2: Put in the detergent.
Every washing machine is a little bit different, but most of the time you can’t go wrong with putting the detergent in first. Read the directions to know how much to use; liquid detergents will typically have a line on the cap with mostly foolproof letters saying FILL ME TO HERE FUCKFACE, while powder detergents will provide a measuring tool with a similar message. Bigger loads need slightly more detergent.
Fabric softener actually works. The investment of $3 over 45 loads of laundry (that’s like…three years!) to make your clothes smell nice and feel soft is worth it. I recommend not using it until you’ve mastered the basics, and then marveling at how many people tell you that you “smell nice” when you haven’t showered in two days.
Note: Don’t leave your detergent sitting out and around in your dorm’s laundry room. Detergent thieves will totally drain your resources.
Step 3: Wash dat shit.
You’re going to wash the load of lights in warm water, and the darks in colder water. Delicates have a “delicate” setting, and regulars have a “regular” setting.
Payment? I have no clue how the payment system works in your dorm, and neither does anyone else. There’s no shame in asking around.
Note: Some NU dorms have text alerts for when your laundry is done. It’s a nice little service, and you should be aware of its existence.
Step 4: Getting it dry.
First of all, don’t leave your wet clothes in a pile for several days or they’ll get mildewed. It is a distinct and irreparable stench, and YOU WILL NEVER GET LAID.
A) Hang Your Delicates: Rack Rack City, bitch. Grab it by the armpits, whack it once or twice to get out any wrinkles, and hang it on a rack, a clothing line, or a hanger if you want to save time.
B) Regular Stuff In The Dryer: Backwards of sex- stick it in, put in a dryer sheet or two if you have it, turn it on.
Step 5: Folding Clothes, if you’re into that
There are so many options. You could do it like this.
Or like this.
Or like this.
Or you could not fold them at all, and hang them up.
Or you could not fold them at all, and invest in Febreeze’s wrinkle-removing spray.
Or you could not fold them at all. You’ve done enough, and you’ll probably get laid.
 You’re at Northwestern. Don’t go around calling yourself “socially acceptable.”
 Looking at you, Winslow.