Survival of the Fresher's: Laundry Tips For University Students

Moving out for the first time can be equal parts exciting and daunting. Whilst you navigate new friends and surroundings Oxwash are here to help navigate you through your laundry.

Survival of the Fresher's: Laundry Tips For University Students 1
Poppaea Calder

Business & Insights

Crisp sheets, pearly socks, lavender pillowcase… C’est la vie. Clean laundry doesn’t have to stop when you pack up and leave home. The start of university can be both daunting and exciting, with experiencing total independence for the first time and often in a new city. But even where there are rainbows, there’s had to be a little rain… with independence comes responsibility and even a few chores; let’s talk laundry. 

Machine symbols and three-hour cycles, it can seem a little overwhelming. We’re here to help break it down into an easy and effective guide with our favourite laundry tips to take with you when starting your next chapter at university. 

Mastering your laundry cycle is as simple as making a classic cocktail. Take a Moscow Mule. Seemingly fancy, sophisticated and a little bouji – but consists of just three parts: ginger beer, lime and vodka. 

Now take laundry: three parts: sorting, loading, and setting


If there’s two things to remember here, it’s colour and material. 

Split up your washing carefully into whites, lights and darks. Be watchful to avoid any disappointment and for the cleanest, most effective results. Mixing colours is a red card in laundry, even if the thought of colours ‘bleeding’ doesn’t scare you, the risk simply won’t equate to reward. 

Where possible, it’s best to wash clothes made from the same material together to avoid any damage to shape, size or quality. When worried about shrinkage, check the washing label stitched to the item and opt for air-drying as opposed to tumble-drying to be safe.

When it comes to items considered ‘delicates’ (cosy jumpers, freshers ball dresses, dainty bras or underwear) stick to washing these separately, or by hand. 

We advise against sharing washing loads with flatmates or friends as laundry is personal, and it’s always best to avoid the hidden-red-sock-in-a-load-full-of-whites-situation… ‍


Laundry etiquette when using shared machines is simple to follow. Refrain from chucking out others’ laundry and be kind to the environment with worthwhile laundry loads. Aim for the laundry drum to be roughly 70% full. 

Pick your poison: washing powder, tablets or liquid? It may not be the best conversation starter, or the best topic for student union blind-dates nights but finding what works for you early on is just one less thing to think about. 

Bio or non-Bio? At Oxwash we only use non-biological detergents and this is what we would advise to use at home. Whilst biological detergents contain enzymes which can successfully break down proteins and dirt, they are often chemical heavy and can irritate the skin, especially if you are prone to sensitivity. Non-bio doesn’t contain these, meaning it is safe for most skin sensitivities and better for washing wool, silk, lace or other delicates. Throw your detergent in the drawer or straight into the drum.  


Pick the right setting for your load. Temperature and time length is what to pay the most attention to here. Don’t let the 20+ symbols frazzle you – when in doubt, match up the symbols to the label on your clothes. If you’re still scratching your head, then check out our blog on decoding laundry symbols.

Cold water: best for delicate fabrics and bright colours to prevent running or fading. Stains will require a pre-treatment. This is also the most environmentally friendly!

Warm water: favourable for most fabrics, great for denim as provides good cleaning action without as much wrinkling.

Hot water: best for most linens and white clothing. Most effective at killing germs and removing dirt from fabrics. 

We recommend setting a timer on your phone for the duration of the wash so you’re ready to collect it at the end and avoid any unwanted lost property trips.

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We have some top tips to help assist you with the Moscow mule hack/guide.

  • Organisation! We recommend Sunday as your laundry day. Start the week off right and clean.

  • Be sparing with the detergent: it can have the opposite effect and cause colour loss and ageing to fabrics.

  • Wash your darks inside out to prevent fading.

  • Colder is safer.

  • Catch stains as quickly as you can.


During fresher’s week, ask as much as you can so you know early on and save any embarrassment three weeks in. Avoid turning your undies inside out and familiarise yourself with where you need to go. 

Typically, laundry services in student housing are coin-operated or with a top-up card system. It will be user-friendly and straightforward – everyone does it and has to learn the system, so don’t feel shy to ask!

Good luck with your studies and a fantastic start of university!

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