Big adventures are on the way for your new college student, but that also means exploring a whole new world of independence. From balancing a checkbook to doing their own laundry, your college student is starting a laundry list of new adventures — and you are their sherpa. Where you used to cross off your school supply list, now you mark your checklist for the best laundry supplies for college. 

It may be a quarter century or more since the day your parents dropped you off at college with a box of clothes and electronics that didn’t fit into your pocket, so you’re feeling a little out of touch. How do you prepare your kid for life’s newest challenges—like doing dorm laundry? Here’s a laundry checklist to get started.

Pop-up hamper

Your college student might be swimming in a pile of clothes by the end of the semester, but it’s a good habit and space-saver to get them started with a pop-up hamper in their dorm room. Pop-up hampers are easy to collapse, carry and shove into a trunk on the occasional trip home to use your Speed Queen on the weekend. Consider buying two to allow for sorting dirty laundry in their room instead of at the laundromat or common laundry area.

Mesh bags

Mesh bags are a must-have for washing delicate items like bras and underwear because they protect clothes from getting ripped or tangled in the washer or dryer. This will help your student’s clothes last longer.

Mesh bags are also great for keeping socks together, so your student doesn’t have to pick through a pile of clothes to find them.

Storable drying rack

Skip the shrinking and stretching—line drying can help keep your college student’s clothes from a dorm laundry disaster. Find a storable drying rack to save space, money and keep those delicates from looking like they’ve been through the ringer—literally. This is a laundry checklist must.

Stain removers

Pens aren’t just meant for doodling in the margins. Send a stain remover pen along to keep in your student’s backpack for those stains that happen during on-the-spot during cafeteria shenanigans. And don’t stress too much—your Speed Queen will take care of the big stains at home. 

Detergent pods

Detergent pods are a must when it comes to laundry supplies for college. Lugging around a big bottle of detergent can be a pain, so think about pods as a lightweight alternative. They’re small and convenient to carry to the dorm laundry room.

Mini steamer

Is it getting steamy in here? Irons and ironing boards are clunky and take up space, but a mini steamer can still get wrinkles out without a lot of fuss. Plus, it is much easier to store. Grab this dorm laundry supply if your student needs a quick and easy solution to looking pressed and ready for the college job interview. 

Dryer sheets

Home is just a dryer sheet away. Not only do dryer sheets cut down on static, they can also give a familiar scent to your college student’s clothes that reminds them of home.

Dryer sheets are also a good trick to freshen up stinky shoes. Just slip a dryer sheet inside and let it sit for a while.

Now that you have these laundry supplies for college ready for dorm laundry away from home, you can tackle the next life lesson — whether it’s microwave cooking or learning to do your taxes. Tell us on social what else you packed for your college student and how these tips worked for you.