At what age can I expect my kids to start doing their own laundry?

Real Mom Problem

“Do you do the laundry or do your kids? At what age did they start doing laundry (or will you have them start)?”

by weaveress weaveress

Quick Tips

  • 1. Introduce your kids to small, simple laundry tasks such as sorting lights from darks when they're really little
  • 2. Teach your kids to put their dirty clothes in the hamper and clean clothes where they belong from an early age
  • 3. Show your kids how to do laundry once they're tall enough to reach the machine's controls
  • 4. Depending on their age, consider setting up a laundry schedule for your kids where they help out with everyone's laundry or they do their own on set days

Real Mom Solutions

Having your kids do their own laundry is a win-win. They learn a life skill and you get a break! See when these moms had their kids start doing the wash.

Hannah Keeley Hannah Keeley

Our Expert Mom Says...

As soon as those little babies can toddle around the house, they can begin helping out with the laundry. Start when they're little, letting them put darks in the dark hamper and lights in the light hamper. As they get to be preschoolers, they can help you match socks and fold simple items, like washcloths. When they get to be in middle school, they should be strong enough to carry laundry, load up the washer, and start a load. They can also help fold clothes. By the time they reach high school, they should be able to do laundry independently. Whatever you do, don't raise a kid who is completely incompetent when he heads off to college. Even if the laundry doesn't turn out perfectly, at least it gets done.

Make sure that you don't let younger children use harsh chemicals, such as bleach. Nothing like that needs to be near their noses or their skin, so use a detergent that goes easy on the chemicals.

Be aware that although younger kids are fully capable of doing laundry, they need time and repetition in order to learn the skills. It's always easier to do the laundry yourself, but your job to raise successful kids is much more important than doing laundry. Keep at it. Teach them step-by-step how to wash, dry, fold, and everything in between. In order to do this effectively, you need to work alongside them as they get better and better, always praising their efforts and encouraging them to do more. After you have worked alongside them for a while, you can begin pulling back little by little until they are able to perform the tasks independently. Be patient with the progress. It's not easy. But it's worth it.

Hannah Keeley is the producer and host of the national television series, "Hannah, Help Me!" She is also the author of "Hannah Keeley's Total Mom Makeover," founder of the mom website,, and the mother of seven rambunctious kids! Hannah has appeared on the "Today" show, "Fox and Friends", TLC, and has been a frequent guest on the "Rachael Ray Show". She has also been featured in "The Wall Street Journal," "Better Homes and Gardens," and "Real Simple" magazine.

The Moms of CafeMom Say...

  • emilyrosenj

    Everyone in my family does their own laundry. My kids are 11 and 18 and they've been doing laundry since they were eight and 11 respectively. My husband keeps his work clothes at work so he just does all of his clothes there.

  • ginnyk87

    I will probably teach my son how to do laundry when he's tall enough to reach everything.

  • marlarrie

    I do most of the laundry, but my 14-year-old helps some.

  • telecomgirl

    My kids are four and six, so although they can't do their own laundry, they do bring their dirty clothes downstairs to the laundry room for me every other day. They also fold their own laundry (they're pretty good too!).