High school graduation is near and your teen may soon be on their own. Are they prepared  with the proper knowledge and skills to keep their whites, white, and their brights, bright? Set them up for success in any laundry room with some specific instruction, demonstration, and a boost of confidence.

Use the following steps to ensure bags of dirty laundry don’t follow them on their first visit back home.

Steps to becoming a laundry champion:

Step 1: Sort

Start with the basics. Explain how and why they need to sort clothes into darks, lights and whites.

  • Dark colors can run and ruin light colored clothes
  • Whites should be washed in warm or hot water for best cleaning
  • Lights will cover almost everything else

A laundry hamper with separate sections for each type of load may even make a great gift!

Step 2: Read the Care Label

Be prepared for eye rolling when you tell your teen that reading the care label is part of doing laundry. Use their favorite article of clothing as an example. If they don’t read the label, their favorite top or pair of expensive jeans could fade, shrink or turn colors.

Step 3: Washing Machine Features and Operation


Explain the settings and go through the dials or buttons with them. Share a few scenarios and see if they understand what settings to choose based on the items they are washing.

Load Size

Explain proper load size and why they shouldn’t overload a machine. Trying to stuff everything into one load when you really have enough dirty laundry for two is not going to save any time or money. If it’s too full, the detergent won’t dissolve or disperse properly lead which could lead to a second wash cycle anyway. They want their clothes to get clean, not just wet.


Talk about proper amounts of detergent to use. Using more than is necessary will cause buildup in the fabric and unwanted amounts of suds in the washer.

Step 4: Dryer Features and Operation

Similar to the washer, explain the settings and go through the dials or buttons with them. Talk with them about items you would use a low heat, delicate cycle for vs. a timed dry. Make sure your teen understands the importance of selecting the proper heat so they don’t have to deal with shrinking, static cling or excessive wrinkles (which would result in a lesson on how to use an iron).

Point out the lint trap as well and let them know that excessive lint can create a fire hazard.

Step 5: Fold it

To avoid a wrinkled mess, remind your teen to remove clothes as soon as the dryer is done and fold them right away. As tempting as it may be, balling up their clothes and shoving them in their drawers isn’t the greatest way to do laundry.

Any teen can learn these laundry basics. Start them out with something easy, like towels and sheets, and send them on their way feeling confident.