Mini Refrigerators and Dorm Microwaves for College Cooking

Getting a decent meal on campus one of the biggest challenges students deal with. But having a fridge helps keeping fresh food on hand both affordable and easy for the busiest college student. And having a microwave or oven means you don’t have to rely on the dining halls or takeout if you don’t want to.

Here are some affordable and functional options for your dorm or college apartment.

Dorm Refrigerators

If you don’t need a freezer (and really, you might not) in your dorm or office, maximize your fridge space with this Danby 2.5 cu. ft. mini refrigerator (comes in white or black). The can dispenser makes beverages easy to grab and having space for a 2-liter or big wine bottle can be really handy and free up a lot of space on your shelves.

But sometimes you’ll want a freezer for pizza (or Jell-O shots). The Avanti 5.5 cu. ft compact refrigerator and freezer has a a space-saving flush back design.

Dorm Microwaves


If you have a tiny space, you’ll appreciate this 0.5 cu. ft. Whirlpool microwave, made specifically to fit into tight corners. Despite its compact footprint, pull the pocket handle on the door and you’ll find space for an 11-inch plate.

Why HE Detergent Is a Must

More laundry detergent does NOT mean more clean, especially in a front-loading high-efficiency washing machine.

High-efficiency washers use far less water by design than traditional washing machines. Less water and more powerful wash action means less dilution of detergent, leading to overproduction of suds.

High-efficiency detergent (or HE detergent) provides the just right amount of suds to ensure the cleanest clothes possible. HE detergent is labeled “concentrated” or “2x”.”

Make sure to follow the instructions on the label based on load size. And note that tablet laundry detergent isn’t recommended by manufacturers because of issues dissolving in the washer dispenser.

If you don’t use HE detergent,Whirlpool Corp. warns of the following problems:

  • Poor cleaning results.
  • Detergent residue left on clothing.
  • Washer odor due to sudsing residue.
  • Wet clothes at the end of the cycle due to excess suds hindering spinning and draining.
  • Leaking due to excess suds.
  • Extended cycle times or excessive water usage from extra rinsing to remove suds.
  • Error codes.

So remember, less is more.

Dishwasher Troubleshooting: Dishwasher Detergent Left in Dispenser

Few things are more frustrating than when you finally work up the energy to unload the dishwasher, but notice the dishes aren’t quite clean. You investigate a little only to find out the detergent is still chilling in the dishwasher, and thus, never washed your dishes.

If you have experienced this phenomenon far too many times, try these dishwasher troubleshooting tips, adapted from Whirlpool.

Dishwasher Troubleshooting Tips

Was the dispenser cup wet when you added detergent?

If dispenser cup is wet, the detergent can clump. This also means that if there’s still detergent left in the cup, don’t think, “Oh, well now I don’t have to refill it!” Clean it out and start over.

Is the cycle incomplete?

If the previous cycle did not complete, the detergent can become caked in the dispenser cup if it is left sitting in the dishwasher. But this probably isn’t the cause for those with chronic detergent-caking issues. Again, clean the detergent from the cup and start over again.

Is the detergent old?

Older detergent exposed to air will clump and not dissolve well, which will cause the dispenser door to stick to the detergent. Buy new detergent, and this time, keep it in a tightly closed container (i.e. not the box with an open flap) in a cool dry place (i.e. not under your sink right next to the wall where your dishwasher runs hot!).

Is the water temperature too low?

For best washing and drying results, water should be 120oF (49o C) as it enters the dishwasher, so check your water heater setting. I also try to remember to run the kitchen sink until hot water comes out to help this.

Were items blocking the dispenser that kept it from opening?

Items blocking the detergent dispenser will keep it from opening. Make sure water action can reach the dispenser.

Other good (if not obvious) detergent guidelines

  • Use automatic dishwashing detergent only.
  • Add detergents just before starting the cycle.
  • The amount of detergent to use depends on the hardness of your water and the type of detergent.
    • If you use too little, dishes won’t be clean.
    • If you use too much in soft water, glassware will etch.
  • Your manufacturer’s suggested amount is based on standard powdered detergent, so follow instructions on the package when using liquid or concentrated powdered detergent.
  • Water hardness can change over a period of time. Want to find out if you have hard water? Get a free testing kit at any Warners’ Stellian location.

Share your best dishwasher tips in the comments section!

Steam Dryer: Not Just Hot Air

Iron-a-aphobia? Don't worry, there's help.
Iron-a-aphobia? Don’t worry, there’s help.

The steam dryer function does more than you think it might.

Tell me if this has happened to you: You work all day, come home for a quick wardrobe change for a night out only to find your dress or dress shirt more crinkled than an Ore-Ida – and you don’t have time (or refuse) to iron!

What now? Hang it on the door and turn on a hot shower? I think we’ve all tried that.

Instead, toss it in a steam dryer for a refresh and throw it on 15 minutes later.

Steam Refresh Dryer Cycle

In steam refresh cycles, a small amount of water is sprayed into the drum after several minutes of tumbling with heat. The dryer will continue to tumble at regular heat for the duration of the cycle to reduce wrinkles, static and odors in fabrics.

@falenkdwb's LG washer and steam dryer.
@falenkdwb’s LG washer and steam dryer.

But they aren’t just for procrastinators/wrinkled-clothes wearers.

These dryers have a sanitize cycle, which is NSF certified to eliminate 99.3% of three common infectious bacteria. Think of all those decorative pillows, comforters and children’s toys and stuffed animals that can’t be washed, but need to be sanitized for allergy-sufferers and to ward off cold/flu this season.

Do you use a steam dryer? If so, what’s your favorite feature?

For more laundry tips and tricks, explore more on our blog!