Kids got dirty sheets?
Put them to work.

Are your kids' rooms disgusting? Do they have dirty sheets? Do you remember when you learned how to wash sheets? Neither do I. But now might be a great time to teach your child. Laundry is actually one of the easiest chores to teach your child, and it makes a huge difference in the mom work load.

If you are washing the dirty sheets and towels, there are a few additional steps that you might want to follow for efficiency or for sterilizing. However, the primary goal of this page is to explain how to teach your kids how to wash sheets and towels, so I've included some shortcuts for little workers.

How often?

Whether you're an adult or a child, the hardest part of learning how to wash sheets is just remembering to do it at all. Am I right? If you poll your adult friends how often to wash sheets, you'll probably get a variety of answers from weekly to...well, you might not want to think about it. Getting this chore to become a habit is the biggest obstacle. Once your kids are doing their own clothes laundry, adding the sheets (and towels!) into the load isn't a big step at all.

Ideally, sheets and pillowcases should be washed weekly, but the important thing is to get your kids into the habit of changing and washing their dirty sheets on a regular basis. If your kids have a certain day where they do their laundry, that would be the natural time to do it. If not, choose a convenient day together and add it to their chores checklist.

How to start?

    1. Spin it to win it—how to recruit your child
    Use the child's age as a benchmark and say, “now that you're X years and X months old, you're ready to learn how to wash your own sheets.” How you handle this initial conversation can impact your child's receptiveness. You might even “celebrate” this new responsibility with a trip out to ice cream, or some other fun outing. If there are younger siblings, you might just single out your new “sheet washer” and reward only him or her for maximum pride.

    2. Make it a habit
    As with kids doing their own laundry, the first step toward having this chore become a habit is to choose a day with your child to wash their sheets. Include this new chore on their checklist so they remember to do it on a regular basis. Weekly is probably the easiest way to remember (laundry day is always X day).

    3. Have the materials you (and your child) need
    Make sure they have a suitable basket or crate to store their dirty laundry so they can carry it plus their sheets to the washing machine.

    4. Teach your child how to operate your washer and dryer
    For as long as it takes, do this task with your child until he or she remembers what to do. It's also helpful to type out instructions and tape them somewhere in your laundry area for easy reference.

Some reminders

Dirty sheets and towels are sanitized in super hot water, so if you are the one washing the sheets, you might wash several loads of all towels and sheets all in 140 degree water. However, it will be easiest for your kids if they can just throw their sheets and towel into their normal load when they launder their clothes. At this point, the goal is to get you kids washing their own sheets, so don't worry about the water temperature. Drying the sheets in the hot dryer is almost as good.

Then what?

Show your child where the additional sheets are. If bedwetting is an issue, you might want to have several spare sheets. If not, then you really only need two sets of sheets. When you wash one, put the other set on, and then store the first set when it's clean. An easy way to do this is to just fold the sheets (help your child! This is tricky!) and stuff them into one of the pillowcases, and store it in either a drawer in the person's room or in a linen closet. Again, the goal is for the child to become relatively independent at this task, so if it's easier for him or her to just stuff the sheets into the pillowcase, then I would be inclined to just let them.

Good luck and enjoy "unloading" this chore! Teach your kids how to wash their dirty sheets today so you have less work to do and they can learn to be more responsible.

Go to Bedwetting from Dirty Sheets