- Kitchen & Home
5 chores to learn before you go to uni
If you’re the sort who’s mum has always looked after you, we explain 5 essential house skills to set you up for independence when you live away at uni.
1) How to do a wash
You’re down to your last pair of pants and you don’t know how to work the washing machine. This is the scenario you most definitely don’t want to be in during Freshers’ Week.
As long as you know the basic golden rule – always separate your darks from your lights, then not much can go wrong...
- Do a whites wash like bedding and towels at 60c
- Do coloureds like jeans and underwear at 40c
- Wash clothes at 30c if they’re not that dirty as you’ll also be helping the environment
- Use liquid detergent as it’s less likely to leave any kind of residue or streaks on clothes - it dissolves better than powder
- Turn everything inside out – it’s a drag but it’ll keep clothes looking newer for longer as they won’t fade as fast
Mum’s top tip: Read the care label on every item to avoid shrinking your favourite jumper. If something is hand wash or dry clean only then you need to know about it in advance. Most machines have a delicates or wool setting.
2) How to load a dishwasher
If you’re lucky enough to have a dishwasher in your student digs then use it well. You don’t need to pre-rinse things but it’s a good idea to scrape off food scraps. When loading it’s best to put:
- Plates and pots in the lower rack
- Glasses, mugs and small bowls on the top rack
- Small bowls face down at an angle so they don’t fill up with water
- Large utensils like tongs or a fish slice face down on the top rack
- Knives facing down in the cutlery basket for safety
Don’t overcrowd or have cups and mugs touching as they could chip or break during the wash cycle.
Mum’s top tip: Don’t put wooden or plastic utensils in a dishwasher as they could warp. And hand wash sharp knives so they stay sharp.
3) How to clean out a fridge
It can be tricky keeping a fridge clean when you’re sharing it with 5 others but even if you only clean it out every month it’s better than not at all – and your housemates may thank you with some beers. You should be able to get all this done in 30 minutes:
- Empty everything out all at once so you can easily chuck what’s gone off
- To avoid marks in the fridge door wipe the bottoms of milk cartons and other containers with a damp cloth
- Remove all the shelves and any drawers that pull out so you can wash them with warm water and washing up liquid, then leave to dry
- To save money soak the inside of a soiled fridge with vinegar and warm water then wipe off with a cloth
Mum’s top tip: Cleared out the offending items and cleaned the fridge and still it stinks? Try layering some ground coffee on a baking tray and leaving it at the bottom of the fridge until the smell is absorbed.
4) How to change a vacuum cleaner bag
Unless you’re lucky enough to have a high-end bag-less vacuum you’ll need to know what to do when that vacuum stops picking up the dust. Particularly important when you’re tidying up after a party. If you don’t have the manufacturer’s instructions, here’s what to do:
- Make sure the vacuum is always switched off to avoid accidents
- Lay down some newspaper on the floor to catch any escaping dust
- Open the compartment housing the bag (usually the top or side)
- Slowly slide the bag towards you making sure it’s pointing up
- Place the vacuum bag and the newspaper in a black bag and throw away
- Slide the new bag in. Match the opening of the new bag to the inside end of the vacuum hose so they’re aligned
- Close the compartment and away you go
Mum’s top tip: Usually there’s an indicator showing the bag is full but vacuums work best between 0 to 60% full. Change a bag before it gets full to save time and money when vacuuming.
5) How to do the ironing
If you’re trying to top your student loan up with a part-time job you may well need a crisp white shirt at least once during term-time. Here’s how not to ruin your best outfit:
- Always check the label to see how many dots it states – 1 dot is a low temperature while 3 dots means it can be ironed on a high setting
- Iron inside out to avoid any marks from the iron transferring to your clothes
- When you iron with one hand, gently pull the fabric away from you with the other – this will remove any creases more easily
Mum’s top tip: If you need to iron more delicate fabrics such as wool or even dark ones not inside out, for example to put a crease in trousers, then put a damp cloth on top to avoid them looking shiny.
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