i should be mopping the floor: Teaching Kids To Do Laundry

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Teaching Kids To Do Laundry

Today, we're chatting about teaching kids to do laundry...so the clothes actually get clean.

Teaching Kids To Do Laundry (so the clothes actually get clean)!
Okay. True (and ridiculously embarrassing) confession. I learned to do laundry the week before I left for college. Y'all, my mom is more type-A than I am...she did every member of the household's laundry until the day they moved out. It was more of a "please don't touch my washing machine thing" more than anything else. That, and she loved doing things for us...her love language was acts of service...towards others
I remember being at college and still not having a lot of confidence in my ability to actually get my clothes clean. The first few months of school resulted in several new packs of underwear just to avoid the (dreaded) Wash-N-Tan. Honestly, I didn't avoid the place...just the Wash side of it. Because it intimidated me.
Eventually, I got over it and learned to do laundry properly.
My goal with my own kiddos has always been to equip them with these types of skills a little bit (like ten years) before I knew how to do them. Not only is it great for them, it's fabulous for me. I (unfortunately) did not inherit the gift of service to others like my precious mom...we kind of run on a "you're old enough to do it yourself" mentality around here. Right or wrong, it's how we function the best. Here's a few of my favorite tips below for teaching kids to do laundry.

Teaching Kids To Do Laundry (so the clothes actually get clean)!
One of the biggest keys to helping my kids learn to do their own laundry is to let them use a detergent that is safe, biodegradable, and hypoallergenic. But, of course, it has to work really well, too! method's naturally derived cleaning power is proven to remove dirt and stains, while still keeping colors bright and whites white.
method also helps me simplify my kids' laundry routine by allowing them to use cold water on the majority of the loads they run...using cold water also helps us use less energy for every load. And y'all...the clean clothes always smell fantastic.

Teaching Kids To Do Laundry (so the clothes actually get clean)!
Several years ago, we first started teaching our boys how to sort the laundry. This was really fun for them (the first couple of times anyway...ha!). But, it was simple enough that five and seven year olds could spend some time on it. It was honestly one of their very first chores we ever instituted.
This was how they originally got involved in the laundry process. As they've gotten older, we've added additional steps here and there, so they own most of the entire process themselves, now.
My oldest son prefers to tackle this part of the laundry himself these days. He's a bit type-A, too...so this is kind of a fun chore for him. One time, I noticed we had a beige load, full of off-whites and light khakis. That's when I knew he was a kid after my own heart.  

Teaching Kids To Do Laundry (so the clothes actually get clean)!
My younger son actually loads the sorted clothing into the machines (both the washer and the dryer, later). Having a simple four step process (sort, load, wash, dry) makes it as easy as possible. My kids are eight and 10...too many more steps and their eyes glaze over. Keeping it as easy as possible means it actually gets done.
At this point, once clothing is dry, it goes to our bed where my husband and I do the folding and hanging. Then we have "pick up" time where everyone comes to get their own pile of clean clothes to take to their room and put away. 
At some point, we'll probably turn the folding over to them, as well. I know they're old enough, but there's a part of me that still likes to do a little bit of the laundry for them! ;)

Teaching Kids To Do Laundry (so the clothes actually get clean)!

The easy-to-use, no-handle grip on the bottle makes it easy for my little guy to use (while he's balancing on a step stool to reach the detergent compartment...yowza). Handles on bottles actually make them not fully recyclable, too. He loves adding the detergent to the machine. And because method cleans so well, we don't have to add any harsh additional chemicals to the laundry, too. Having just one thing to add is a part of the simple process we've worked to create for them.
method can also be used as an effective pre-treat for stains.

By keeping our kids' laundry routines simple, we are able to make sure their clothes really do get clean. Every now and then, I step in to help with stains and stuff, but they're getting really good at this process. 

Teaching Kids To Do Laundry (so the clothes actually get clean)!
I also created a fun printable to go along with our laundry escapades.
This is a great step-by-step visual aid to help in the process. 
It's perfect for kiddos who are learning to navigate the world of washing.
Click here to get this printable.

Teaching Kids To Do Laundry (so the clothes actually get clean)!
For more good, clean fun, check out method's new line of clothing (in collaboration with ASOS) here
There's lots of fun stuff over on their site.

And click here to purchase method detergent online.
Use code THREEFORME to get $3 off your purchase.

Neglect your chores like me and don't miss a thing:
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


  1. Those are some great tips. I love that printable I am saving it for when my daughter gets a little older.

    Michelle F.

  2. My kids love helping me with the laundry! And I will take all the help I can get!

  3. You mean you don't just jam as many clothes as you can into the washer? I need that printable for my (adult) son!

  4. I am trying to teach my son to do laundry, unfortunately he is a little too short to press the buttons, but he can put it in and take it out. He feels accomplished when he does it!

  5. We started with buying them their own hampers from IKEA that allowed them to pre-sort their clothes. Made the transition into full laundry so much easier!

  6. Great tips! I need to start teaching my boy to help with laundry.

  7. It's great that the kids are learning at such a young age. I was like you and didn't earn until I was an adult. I still don't iron though.

  8. Iron--what's that--almost 65 and I still will not iron!! I vaguely remember helping my Mom with laundry but that certainly didn't get me to like it--if I had my way I would bundle it all up and take it to a laundromat and let them do it!!

  9. This is great! I love that you have your little ones learning about this at their age. Brilliant. Also love the laundry printable- sharing on my social media. Thanks!

  10. My goal for the school year is everyone doing their own laundry. My girls will be 6 and 8. They already help a lot as it is. That printable is awesome!