How To Use A Washing Machine
How To Use A Washing Machine
Student Life

You’ve just moved out, and you’re trying to figure out, for the first time, how to do your washing. Hey, we get it, you haven’t done it before. It’s okay to be confused. There’s so many different settings, compartments, and different items you need to wash. We’ve got you covered. Now’s your time to shine.

Read on to figure out how to do your laundry at uni, and how to save some money on something you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg doing.

How To Do Your Laundry At Uni - Step by Step

1. Separate Your Laundry

The first step you need to do before loading up the washing machine is to separate out your laundry. This will help protect your clothes from any damage in the washing process.

Why do I need to separate my laundry?

If you don’t separate your clothes, colours will bleed and spread onto each other and have the potential to wreck your clothes. Delicate items placed in the machine on the wrong cycle can also experience severe damage and give excessive wear and tear. Separate your laundry into three or four piles

  • Dark clothes

  • Mixed colour clothes

  • White clothes

  • Delicate clothes (if you have any)

Check Your Clothes Care Label

At this stage, it’s always good to check your clothes care label, and make sure you’re okay to put your items through the washing machine. Most items are okay to go through the washing machine, but it’s worth checking the recommended washing machine settings or temperature to use. The last thing you want is to finish a washing cycle, and everything has shrunk or experienced heavy damage.

Check Your Pockets

While you’re at it, double check your pockets. You might find some forgotten about money or headphones in there. Or worse, stumble upon something that can damage your washing, or the machine! There’s no better feeling than finding some money you didn’t know you had any more when checking your pockets. Bingo.

2. Choose The Best Settings For Your Wash

Depending on what it is you’re going to put through the wash, you’ll need to choose different settings to suit. You will be able to vary the time and temperature of you wash cycle, aswell as choose different modes based on the materials of your laundry, like cotton or synthetics, or even delicate modes.

Most of the time you can keep it simple and use a quick wash option. As we mentioned above, if you’re unsure on what to go for, it’s always safest to double check the care label of your clothes before putting it in.

3. Pour In Your Detergent & Fabric Softener

This is the part most people struggle with, but don’t worry, it’s pretty straightforward. Firstly, whether you go for liquid, pods, or powder laundry detergent, make sure it’s suited to the fabric of your laundry. Always follow the instructions on the pack so you know exactly where to put the detergent in the machine.

Open up the drawer of your washing machine and pour in your detergent, and fabric softener if you fancy it. Pour everything into the correct compartments for the detergent and softener, described below. But if you’re still struggling, your machine will usually have a manual so check through that or have a quick Google referencing the model name you’ll find on the front of the washer.

Most UK washing machines come with 

3 compartments

 in the drawer:

  • Pre Wash Detergent

    : probably something you’ll never use, intended for super dirty items requiring a pre wash

  • Main Wash Detergent

    : usually this is the biggest drawer of the three

  • Fabric Softener

    : normally the easiest to spot, often has a flower symbol on it, and is shaped differently to the others

And remember, never fill the liquids above the ‘max’ line, as it’ll leave your clothes smelling soapy, and can risk clogging up and breaking your washing machine! If it’s all too confusing for you, just get the capsules, throw ‘em in the drum, and your laundry will be clean and smelling fresh and dandy in no time.

How To Dry Your Clothes At Uni? 

It can feel like you're sometimes throwing money away on doing your laundry. Water, electricity, detergent. It all adds up, and you might be wondering if it really has to. The good news is, yes, you can save money here and there.

1. Use a colder shorter cycle

Did you know that over three quarters of every wash cycle’s energy usage, is used on heating the water? So it makes sense that one of the easiest ways to save on your laundry is to turn down the temperature.

Using a short, 30°C degree wash cycle is normally enough for most clothes washes. If you’ve got mega dirty clothes, towels or bedding to wash, it might be time to turn up the temperature, and increase the time of the wash cycle, but for most of the time, you should be good on a 30°C wash.

2. Use the eco wash cycle mode

Eco-modes are brilliant for saving energy, and doing your bit for the planet. But the main reason we love using washing machine eco-mode, is the amount of money it can save you. Eco cycles often take a little longer than others, but they use way less energy and water, and so will save you a good chunk of money. Remember to keep that temperature down for extra savings!

3. Use less detergent on your wash

Not sure how much detergent to use for each cycle? Double check the instructions on your box or bottle of detergent to identify the recommended amount. If you are, but can see lots of frothy soap and bubbles while your machine is mid-cycle, it’s a sign that you can cut back on the detergent.

If you are used to using a cold temperature wash cycle, go for the liquid detergent over powder. This way you’ll avoid leaving any white residue behind on your clean clothes. It can not only mark your clothes, but also cause lots of grime to build up in the machine.

4. Let your clothes air dry naturally

As we’ve already mentioned, letting your clothes air dry naturally is a great way to save a lot of money. Get yourself a free standing clothes dryer to hang your wet laundry up inside, or throw everything over a washing line. Over the course of a year, you’ll look back and realise you’ve saved a lot of money, with the bonus of having your clothes smell super fresh and natural!

5. Only run full washing loads

A lot of people wash garments far more often than they actually need to be. Yes t-shirts, underwear and socks, should be washed after every wear. But trousers, jumpers, and everything else can be worn a few times before giving them a wash. Likewise, towels and bed linen can be washed every week or so.

Less wash loads saves on a lot of energy. Whenever you do think about putting on a wash though, make sure you fill the washing machine fully. This is loads cheaper than doing two half empty washing machine loads.

Just be careful not to overload the machine which can put strain on your washing machine. It can also mean your clothes won’t be thoroughly washed, and might need to be thrown in for another cycle. Try to fill your washing machine somewhere around three quarters full.

Tips & Tricks for Student Living

So now you know how to do your washing, congrats. Surprisingly big achievement if you've never done it before! If you're looking for more advice on student living, check out our

Student Guides To Renting, Bills & Accommodation

to learn the ins and outs of renting as a student, what to prepare for, and what to think about. For more advice on life at Uni visit our

Student Advice Hub


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