First time you’re sending a child to overnight camp? This is what you need to know when it comes to camp laundry.
Every camp has different laundry services, but for the most part, younger kids give in their clothes every 7-10 days for bulk laundering. You’ll need to send enough clothing to work with the schedule of your camp, but let’s discuss how you want to handle camp laundry to avoid lost or ruined clothing.
Assume all clothes will be washed in warm water and machine dried. Yes, even Shabbos clothes. If it can’t be dried, it doesn’t go into the camp laundry! Ever! Older kids might be able to handle hand washing and hang drying some items like a simple top, but you might want to discuss which items should just be brought home dirty. And even if a specific Shabbos dress will be going into the camp laundry, it’s best to hang it up until laundry day. Laundry that’s squished into a laundry bag runs the risk of getting damp – and that leads to possible mildew stains. Explain this to your kids before they go off to camp.
One of the big rules for camp laundry is to never put wet or damp items into the laundry bag. Those should be hung to dry on a clothesline or over the foot of the bed and only added in when completely dry. One wet sock can kill a few pieces of laundry at a time.
Because the laundry gets combined, every item should be labeled. We love stick-on labels that last through many washes, or a laundry stamp which works well on white and light colored items. Which brings us to socks. You don’t need to go crazy labeling those (ok, maybe just those fancy shabbos knee socks). Tell your child to put light socks in one labeled mesh bag and dark socks in another. On laundry day, close the zipper of the mesh bag with a big safety pin to make sure it stays closed and the socks stay in.
Same goes for underwear. Imagine someone finds a pair of underwear on the floor. Your child does NOT want to have her/his name in there!!
Pack some clothespins for towels and bathing suits. Otherwise they fall off the line and get dirty. Every time.
Keep in mind that clothing will come home stained – and smelly. It’s inevitable. But tell your child that if they bleed onto their clothes, they should run cold water through the stain until the water runs clear and then hang it up to dry before putting it in their laundry bag. And maybe include a stain stick if you think they’re likely to use it.
Moms, keep the better stuff at home. Shop cheap and it’ll be less painful when it doesn’t make it home…