Doing laundry, the art of washing clothes, is an integral part of any family. Once or twice a week many families take piles of dirty clothes and shove them into a piece of modern technology, the washing machine. As easy as it sounds doing the laundry takes some planning and getting your children involved can teach them some much needed skills.
Some of the items you’ll need is a washing machine, of course as well as dirty clothes. It’d be a waist of time and effort to teach your kids to do laundry on clean clothes plus the fact that seeing the difference between what goes in and what comes out will give them some perspective. Laundry detergent is the next item on the list as well as some small plastic containers with lids so that you can pre-measure the amount needed for a wash. Baskets with labels such as whites, colored, black or delicates will make sorting that much easier.
The best way to get your children involved in doing the laundry is by writing the steps down for them on a piece of paper. Having something to see and follow makes it fun. Make sure that your children are old enough to know it’s a responsibility that should be taken seriously. Children younger than 9 may lack the mental capabilities to follow a list and can easily get distracted. Having them do it with adult supervision is another story altogether and they are out of luck.
The first step to teaching your children how to do the laundry is separating your clothes. Many clothes have been ruined when a red item gets mixed into a load of whites. Washing items like black shirts, black socks and blank pants or brightly colored clothes only will reduce the risk of damage. Because we are all in a rush now-a-days using color-safe detergents allow us to toss different colored clothing in at the same time. These are useful but take care and check clothes for color-fastness, that is to say some clothes still bleed no matter what detergent you use.
The next step is to prepare your laundry and detergent. Using small containers pour the required amount of detergent into each so that your children don’t have to measure and possibly over do it. When a laundry basket is full you can begin a load of wash. Have your children take the basket to the laundry room and follow the steps you’ve written down. Stand back and don’t interrupt.
The final step is to choose the right settings for the load you are doing. Some clothes require a delicate cycle while others require hot or cold water only. Labeling the baskets such as ‘Whites: wash with hot water and add bleach’ can speed up the process. Make sure to use a separate basket for towels and was separately because they produce lint which is extremely difficult to remove from your clothes.
A bit of history: At the dawn of the washing machine era removing water and soap from your clothes required manual labor and was a separate chore from the actual washing. Wringing your clothes, twisting them by hand, often cut the hands and created blisters. Because of this a new product called the wringer was created. Two rollers were assembled to fit close together. The wet clothes were inserted in between the rollers and a crank was turned causing the clothes to be squeezed through thereby removing excess soap and water.