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60% of new students have never done their own washing

7th November 2014

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Most students moving out of their family homes to go to university say they have never or rarely used a washing machine, according to new findings.

This frankly ridiculous statistic has prompted Birmingham City University to issue a special “how to” guide for doing the laundry.

Because really, buying new pants because you can’t get it together to wash your old ones is not an ideal way to start the process of looking after yourself. Honestly, it isn’t.  

Among the new arrivals at Birmingham City University who started living independently for the first time this year, 60% said they have ‘rarely or never’ done their own washing.

There is some good news, though - the findings contrast sharply with the 68% who say they can cook ‘well’ or ‘very well’, so even if you have no clothes at least you’re probably not going to starve to death.

Still, it’s clear that you might need a little bit of help in the latter area.

Birmingham City University’s guide sets out the basics of laundering, such as sorting clothes according to colour, using the correct wash cycles and simply reading the instructions on the clothing labels properly. 

Sian Howarth, Assistant Director of Student Services, says:"It’s good that programmes like The Great British Bake Off and Masterchef have helped young people to know their bed of celeriac from their apricot jus, but the domestic chores like washing clothes still need to be done.

“From the survey findings it looks like the dull but necessary tasks might not have been allocated equally in all households, but now is the time to learn!”

Although laundry (especially in dire halls of residence laundrettes) can be a pain, it’s really something that can’t be avoided. With this in mind, here’s BCU’s guide on how to wash your clothes:

Make sure to separate your clothes – lights from darks. These should be washed separately to avoid the colours running.

Check any pockets to make sure there is nothing in them, such as keys, tissues and phones!

Check the labels – some clothes are made from delicate fabrics which should not be washed in the washing machine. Check the labels to see if it says “hand wash only” or “dry clean only” and put these clothes to one side.

Set the water temperature – if you are washing cotton or very dirty clothes you might choose to use hot or warm water. For delicate items such as silk, choose lukewarm to cool water.

Set the time – most washing machines will do this automatically for you but for some you may need to select it by hand. Depending on how dirty the clothes are you may wish to set it for about an hour to an hour and a half.

Add the clothes to the washing machine but make sure not to put too much in.

Add the detergent – find out whether the washing machine you are using uses liquid detergent or powder and add it to the right place – this might be by placing it on top of the clothes, or in a small compartment on the top of the washing machine. Check the back of the detergent box/bottle for information on the quantity of powder/liquid to be used.

Turn on the washing machine – you’re now ready to go!

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