Laundry room, with a person leaning in to a washing machine.

The washing fiasco

Katie Whilesmith – 2nd year English

There are lots of things people will tell you about being a student and the vast array of struggles that’ll be thrown at you – from the classic cooking difficulties to learning how to budget instead of blowing all your money the moment student finance comes in. However, one thing no one mentioned to me was just how much it costs to wash your clothes when you’re staying in student accommodation.

Admittedly, I was a someone who had never washed my own clothes before – I was nervous about having to separate blacks from whites from colours from ‘delicates’ from cotton and so on. I hardly dared go near the things out of fear of ruining all my clothes that I didn’t have the means to replace.

Instead, I went down the old fashioned route, that I figured was pretty frugal of myself to attempt – I decided to hand wash my clothes. I was armed with a washing up bowl, Ariel gel and my rubber gloves. It started off quite well, while I was scrubbing my clothes clean I was practically doing a workout (bye-bye gym fees!) and none of my white tops ever got tinged with pink. I felt like an absolute genius! All my flatmates were constantly complaining about having to spend a fiver per wash and there I was paying zero.

However, the genius inside me didn’t quite realise I ought to re-think hand washing huge bath towels. The walls were sprayed with purple dye while water puddled on the floor and I still thought, ‘Yes! This is a good idea! It will work!’. I figured it made sense to use the bathroom door as a built-in drying rack and hung the towel over the top. Thinking I’d just saved myself lots of money by being ridiculously smart, I left my flat and went about my daily routine at university.

Disaster struck upon my return. I unlocked my bedroom door to be slapped in the face by the vilest, pungent smell of damp. In horror, I realised the wet towel had been dripping down the door onto the carpet for hours. Any students will know the fierce panic that presents itself when there’s a risk of losing their deposit, and this panic exhibited itself in me, causing me to try everything and anything to dry the carpet and floor underneath.

I hoovered like a maniac. I got on my hands and knees and attempted to use my hairdryer to fix the problem, lifting up all the little tiles of carpet. I ran to the high street desperate to find a product that would magically make everything better. Nothing seemed to work.

Although I eventually managed to find a product that claimed to remove damp in carpets, I was stuck with a room that reeked like crazy for several days. I never tried to hand wash a towel again. They tell you being a student is hard, but you never realise how hard until you do something silly like that. My advice would be, there are some things that you might just have to pay to be washed, but if you’re smart you can save a fair amount if you’re willing to give scrubbing a go.

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