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Weird College Laundry: Dry-cleaning, Hand-Washing & More

March 3rd, 2008 admin


Here’s my college laundry confession: my freshman year, I had a hard time figuring out how to turn on the dryer. Really. I’d been doing laundry for years at home, but my mom’s dryer was different than the one at school, and I couldn’t get it to turn on! I felt so stupid!

What I’m trying to say is, laundry can be tricky and frustrating. Just handling the basics of sorting, washing, drying, folding, and putting it all away is plenty for most students. But what about those odd pieces of clothing that take special care? That suit that needs dry-cleaned? That blouse you have to hand wash? How do you do that at school?

Dry-Clean Only

If you don’t want to trek off campus to find a dry-cleaner (or wait until your next trip home when Mom might do it for you) I’d definitely recommend using Dryel (click there and you can get a coupon for $4.00 off). There are directions in the box (which means its easy) and all you need is your clothes, your Dryel kit, and a dryer. Super easy, and it actually works. I still use it even though I live off-campus because its also so much cheaper than getting it done professionally.

If you have a nice suit, you may as well take it to the local dry cleaner-they’ll press it for you so you don’t have to. It costs a little more, but it’s usually worth it.


The trickiest part of hand-washing is knowing that you need to use a different type of detergent. You can’t just pour regular detergent in your sink and expect it to work the same way. I usually use Woolite-it just takes a tiny capful to do a sinkfull of clothes. There are directions on the back that tell you how to use it for hand washing. You can either wash your clothes in the sink, or bring a small tub (12″ by 10″ or so should do it) to wash hand wash items in.

If you’re not too worried about your clothes wearing out and decide to use the washer anyway, the least you should do is make sure the washer is set to a delicate cycle. But keep in mind that machine washing hand-wash only items could damage them.

Air Dry, Flat Dry, or Hang-Dry Only

Since dorm rooms are usually small, I got pretty creative with this. First, I bought an over-the-door 5-hook rack (like this) for about $10. I generally used it for coats & towels, but if I had laundry that needed to air dry, I would dangle hangers off the hooks, and drape my laundry over the bars of the hangers. That worked pretty well: it kept all the laundry out of my way, and reduced stretching, shrinking or warping caused by the dryer. I did this with my “flat dry” items too, but be careful because those are usually the most apt to stretch out. (Note: I don’t suggest laying your “flat dry” clothes to dry on your roommate’s bed/desk. 🙂 )


Photo: At the saloon by ollinger

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ahamdi godsfavour  |  April 14th, 2008 at 7:51 am

    good day sir,
    l am a young man of 23, l do hand laundry pls l want to ask how do l apply or use drycleaning solvent to suit without using a washing and drying machine. i am a nigerian,this information will help me a lot to become agood and effective drycleaner in my local area. thanks

  • 2. Jamie  |  April 14th, 2008 at 9:52 am

    @ ahamdi: I’m sorry Ahamdi–I don’t know the answer to that. I am not a professional dry cleaner, and I don’t know an at-home way of doing it without a dryer. Sorry I couldn’t help, but good luck with your business!

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