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Move Out Skills: How To Learn Basic Laundry Skills Before College

If you plan on sending a teenager off to college in a few years, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and make sure he’s got some move-out skills under his belt. Help make the transition to independent adult all the more smooth. Why not start with teaching your teenager how to do laundry this summer?

Here’s how to get started. Share the instructions with your teenager. Help them out a few times, then step back and—here’s the hard part—don’t step back in. “Coach from the sidelines,” recommends Deanne Hurley, vice president of student affairs and dean of students at Ursuline College and a mother of three teenage boys.

Laundry Directions: 10 Steps to Clean Clothes

  1. Separate lights and darks. Remember, these should be washed separately. Note to parents: If you anticipate your teenager will skip this step, pick up some color catchers next time you’re at the grocery store. They keep colors from bleeding and are available in the same aisle as the laundry soap.
  2. Check pockets and pre-treat stains.
  3. Check washing instruction label on the clothing for delicates and dry clean only.
  4. Add the detergent.
  5. Choose settings for water temperature. For lights, use warm or hot water. For darks, use cold water.
  6. Add clothes and start the machine. Consider setting a timer on your phone or watch, so you’ll remember to check the washer in 45 minutes or so.
  7. When the cycle is complete, move the load into the dryer.
  8. Clean the dryer vent for safety (prevent fires) and efficiency.
  9. Add dryer sheets or dryer balls (if you use them).
  10. Choose settings and time and start the dryer. Again, set a timer to you remember to check back.

With these simple instructions, your teenager should be doing their own laundry in no time. Now the next step is getting them to put it away.

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