But where do the socks go

Teaching your kids to do laundry

Teaching your kids to do laundry

There are two laundry mysteries that plague most people – one, where do those missing socks go, and two, how do bed sheets get so knotted and tangled? This summer if you’re tackling the task of teaching your kids to do laundry you might also be questioning how they managed to shrink everyone’s clothes or dye them an interesting shade. 

Teaching kids to do laundry can be quite the chore, especially when just trying to get them to put their laundry in the hamper or to put it away after it is clean can require asking multiple times. It’s a life skill that is important to learn though and starting early can help kids learn to do laundry the right way so when they’re living on their own, they are preserving their clothes and linens and aren’t spending extra money on high water or energy bills.

READ MORE: 10 house cleaning games for kids

Some of the basic tips and tricks kids need to learn about doing laundry include:

Learning to read labels. Some of the laundry lore that has been passed down from generation to generation is not necessarily correct. For example, some people have been taught by parents and grandparents that bed sheets should be washed on hot. If you check the label of most sheets however, they often say to wash on a delicate cold cycle. Create flash cards or find a laundry symbol chart online, print and post it in the laundry room to help kids learn what the different symbols on labels mean.

Understanding laundry cycles. Every washing machine and dryer has different pre-sets and buttons that have different heat settings, spin cycles, and timer settings associated with them. Show kids how turning dials on the washing machine and dryer to different settings changes what lights are lit on the machine indicating temperatures, speeds, and times. Explain that even though some settings like bedding exist, they may not be the right setting for the item being washed or dried, and that this is why it’s important to always read the label and set washer and dryer cycles accordingly.

Measuring soaps and other additives. All too often people think adding extra soap to the washing machine will result in cleaner clothes. But the opposite is true. It’s important to explain to kids that washing larger mixed loads is ideal so that there is enough laundry in the washing machine for the amount of soap being used. Excessive amounts of soap can leave a residue on clothes, sheets and towels which can make dirt and oil stick to them instead of cleaning them. Washing larger mixed loads also has the added benefit of saving water and energy.

Extend the lifespan of clothes, sheets and towels. Washing on cold and drying on low heat can help prevent clothes from shrinking. Lower heat is less harsh on fabrics and can also help sheets and towels last longer too. Most laundry detergents are formulated to work just as effectively in cold water as warm or hot. And, drying on low for longer can actually use less energy than drying on hot for a short period of time.

Other tips and tricks. Once kids have tackled laundry basics, it’s time to start learning about stains, ways to prevent wrinkles and other hacks that can make doing laundry easier. Find a stain chart online, print and hang it next to the laundry symbol chart so kids know what product to use on what type of stain for the best results. Teach kids to put small items that easily get lost inside a mesh laundry bag, so no one must hunt for missing socks again. Introduce tools like wool laundry balls and Wad-Free for Bed Sheets to help save time and solve problems like tangled bed sheets that wad up and take multiple dryer cycles to fully dry.


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