Posted by: Staff | 10.22.2007

The Scoop from Coop: Laundry


Welcome to the first article of The Scoop from Coop! The purpose of this column is to try and keep us private school kids a little more in-the-know. Even the experienced, perceptive (cough, cough…) students like us sometimes need a little reinforcement understanding how to do daily tasks such as opening a bank account, picking out a present for your girlfriend or boyfriend, or doing our own laundry. This brings us to the (FIRST EVER!!) article. Presenting, article numero uno of The Scoop from Coop!!

How to do your own laundry!

Step 1: Identify Amount of Laundry
You find yourself at home alone with no one to help with your laundry. Either that or your parents have pulled one of those “Honey, you’ve got to figure it out eventually, you aren’t going to live with us forever,” speeches. “Oh dear,” you think to yourself, overwhelmed. Whether your parents are out at a cocktail party, your dad is on some important business call, or you are way too humiliated to tell whoever is home that you need help with the laundry, you are unable to receive aid with your stain-filled, odorous job. Even if you have spilled Spaghetti-O’s all over yourself right before a hot date, don’t worry! All you have to do is take this process step by step. First, identify the location and volume of the dirty clothing. Your laundry could be neatly tossed into a laundry basket, or overflowing from the laundry basket onto the floor of your room, or strewn about on the floor, or, if you’re a real slob, strewn about on the floors of all the rooms in your house.

Step 2: Organize
Now that you’ve identified the location and magnitude of the laundry, it’s time to take control before your target does. Your best bet is to grab a laundry basket, but if one isn’t available, a trash bag is a pretty good alternative. Just make sure your dirty clothes aren’t mistaken for last night’s tuna casserole. Carry your basket/bag with you while you travel throughout the wreckage. Here’s where it gets a little tricky. You need to separate the lights from the darks. I know it sounds scary and this is all extremely new and unfamiliar, just break it down, kids. All whites go in the light pile. (Who would’a thunk it?) Whites with silkscreened designs are usually okay. All blue or black denim goes in the dark pile. If you are unsure about the pile placement of your clothing and a resident laundry expert is available, show them your article of clothing and ask which pile it goes into. Most of the time, they will actually be impressed that (1) you are doing your own laundry, and (2) you know enough to understand that whites and darks have to be separated.

Just so you know… Whites and darks have to be separated because most dark colors run in the wash, meaning some of their dye transfers onto other lighter items. Dark items of clothing don’t show the change in color much at all, but because whites are so light, the change in color will be obvious. This is why if you’ve ever seen or experienced someone washing a red article of clothing with a load of whites, everything turns pink. You don’t want to go running around looking like Valentine’s Day exploded all over you, so avoid washing reds and whites together!

Step 3: Using the Washing Machine
Once you’ve separated the lights and darks, make your way to the washing machine. This step may be a little intimidating at first, but have no fear! The washing machine will not attack. Go up to the washing machine and study the knobs, buttons, and compartments. Look inside the laundry basket/trash bag (while simultaneously avoiding the stench) and try to figure out if you need to do more than one load of laundry. If you have a fairly large washing machine, you should be able to fit about three pairs of jeans, four shirts, miscellaneous socks and underwear and maybe even some gym shorts into one load.

Some things to keep in mind: Some pieces of clothing have special washing instructions that should be located on the inside of the clothing on a tag. Keep an eye out for these. Another thing- don’t be tempted to wash your bath towels with your clothing. The fuzz from the towels transfer and stick onto your clothing, and your nice black t-shirt will look like it has been taken over by dust bunnies.

Step 4: Detergent
Find your laundry detergent. If you have liquid detergent, there is usually a cup or method of measuring out how much detergent to use. There should be a few lines on the cup: the lowest for a small load of laundry, the middle for a medium amount of laundry, and the highest for a large amount of laundry. Pick your amount of detergent according to how full your washing machine is. If you feel that there aren’t really that many pieces of clothing, the bottom line is probably the way to go. If you have a medium-large load of laundry, the middle or top line will be sufficient. Don’t put in too much detergent, otherwise you will turn your house into a bubbly abyss. Check for any special detergent instructions on your washing machine. Usually detergent is okay to pour right on top of the clothes in the machine, and if you’re using a plastic cup, you can throw that right in so that all of the detergent from the cup will be used. If you are using bleach, fabric softener, or detergent in powder form, look for instructions on your washing machine and on the containers of the substances.

Next, look at the settings on the washing machine. What are the knobs set to? Some washing machines have different settings for darks or lights and the amount of laundry. These should be set to correspond with what you have in the machine.

Step 5: Wait
This step is a favorite because it usually doesn’t require much work. You now have to wait for the washing machine to finish its cycles. This is a good time to get some homework done, read a book, play with your dog or cat, listen to music, eat a donut, you get the picture. However, if there is finished laundry in the dryer, skip to step number 6, then return to step number 4. Once your laundry is done in the washing machine, continue to step 6.

WARNING: Do not leave wet clothing in the washing machine for a long time. It gets mildew-y and smelly, and then you just have to wash it again. Not fun!

Step 6: The Dryer
Take out the wet/damp laundry from the washing machine and put the whole load into the dryer. Now is another time to check the tags of clothing to make sure they can be machine dried, if not, sometimes they need to be hung up to dry. At this time, you could again ask the resident laundry expert about any specific articles of clothing. If something needs to be hung up, ask your laundry expert where to hang it. The same way you did with the washing machine, adjust the knobs and buttons according to what you’ve put inside the dryer. Before you start the cycle, if there are dryer sheets, for example a Bounce dryer sheet, put it in now. This will help alleviate static and the scented ones will make your clothes smell nice. Before starting the machine, locate the lint collection compartment. Take the cover off and peel away or scoop out the lint. If left inside the dryer, the lint can catch fire. Once the lint is disposed of, put the lint collection compartment cover (say that five times fast) on, and start the machine.

Step 6.5: The Dryer Part Two / the Second Load
Collect the rest of your dirty clothes and put them into the washing machine, repeating steps 3, 4 and 5. Then once the first dryer cycle is done, continue throughout the steps normally. When the first dryer cycle is done, collect the lint that has accumulated in the lint collection compartment and throw it away.

Step 7: Folding
Take the clean laundry and put it in your hamper or a fresh trash bag. Go turn on the TV and fold the laundry in front of it. It eases the boredom. Fold your laundry in piles that are easy to put away.

Step 8: Putting Away
This step, as well as number 6, will make your parents/the laundry expert exuberant. Carry your recently cleaned and folded clothing to your room, and put everything away in the proper locations.

You made your mama proud!

Thanks for checkin out the Scoop From Coop…see you next edition!



  1. Great job on the Scoop from Coop, Coop! ZOMG
    Sincerely, Stu

  2. oooooooooh!! good to know. thanks a lot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. lol

  4. haha. Great work Ali! I’m so excited for all of your future “How-to” articles.

  5. Phenomenal, I now know exactly how to do my own laundry. I’m ready for college!

  6. Hey guys!

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