The sign of a put-together adult.

In the frantic chaos of college packing, your parents might have tried to tell you how to do laundry, only for it to be lost in the shuffle. Unfortunately, now that you’ve finally made it, there’s suddenly no one to do your laundry (unless, of course, you want to splurge on door delivery). Since you ignored everyone’s attempts to teach you (whoops), at this point you can’t exactly go groveling back for advice. That’s where we come in: here’s our official guide to doing your laundry at Harvard.

Laundry ain't free

In fact, it’s $1.50 for the washer and another $1.50 for the dryer, so prepare to spend your coffee money on laundry instead. You can pay for this using quarters, or you can simply load Crimson Cash onto your Harvard ID. Just make sure you swipe the narrow strip of your ID at the little black box in the laundry room and you’re good to go. And after you swipe to pay for it, don’t forget to go back and press the start button on the machine! (We have made this mistake before, and have had to pay another regrettable $1.50.) 

Rub a dub dub

Laundry machines don’t come with magical soap included, so you’ll have to spring for that as well. If you’ve brought some Tide Pods with you to snack on, good news: they can also be used for laundry! Just pop one or two right in the washer, and you’re ready to wash. For liquid detergent, pour a capful into the detergent drawer along the top of the washer.

To separate or not to separate

If you have white or bright-colored clothing that you care a lot about, you’ll probably want to separate your laundry into whites/brights and darker colors before you wash so that the colors don’t bleed. If you, like the average college student, can’t be bothered to do two separate loads, that’s perfectly fine. No judgement, just wash it all together on cold.

Tick tock on the clock 

The Harvard washers take about 35 minutes and the dryers take about an hour. If you leave your laundry in the washer or dryer for more than a few hours, you’re well on your way to making laundry enemies instead of laundry buddies. Do yourself a favor and just set a timer on your phone. There’s also a helpful site called LaundryView which lets you see which machines are in use and how much time they have left—just search for Harvard Undergraduate Housing on the “find your school” page and look for your dorm.

Hint o’ lint

Lastly, before you throw your clothes in the dryer, make sure to check and clean off the lint screen just inside the door of the dryer. If the screens don’t get cleaned periodically, all of the fuzz from your clothes can build up, leading to damp clothes or even dryer fires (yikes). Pro tip: if you don’t want to get your fingers all up in dust, lint, and whatever else is on the clothes of your whole dorm, carry a card to scrape the screen with. 

While laundry may not be among the most exciting of activities that Harvard has to offer, your roommates and the rest of the world will appreciate it if you do your due diligence. There’s no use in letting it pile up, so gather up your hampers, load that Crimson Cash, and ready your Tide Pods: it’s laundry time.