Hand-washing clothes is a simple and effective way to care for your garments, especially for items that are delicate or not suitable for machine washing. It’s also a more environmentally friendly option, as it uses less water and energy than a washing machine.
In this blog post, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide on how to hand wash clothes, including tips on sorting, detergent selection, and drying.
By following these steps, you can effectively clean your clothes and keep them looking their best. Plus, you’ll be doing your part to reduce your impact on the environment.
How to Hand-Wash Clothes in 6 Simple Steps
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to hand-wash clothes:
- Read the label: Before hand washing your clothes, be sure to check the garment label for any specific recommendations on how to care for the item. The label may suggest the best type of detergent to use. If there is no care label, opt for a mild detergent or dishwashing liquid. This will help ensure that you are using the appropriate products to clean and care for your clothes.
- Sort your clothes: Before you start washing, sort your clothes by color and fabric type. This will help prevent color bleeding and ensure that your clothes are cleaned properly.
- Fill a sink or tub with lukewarm water: The water should be just warm enough to comfortably put your hands in. Avoid using hot water, as it can shrink or damage certain fabrics.
- Add detergent: Choose a mild detergent that is suitable for hand washing. Follow the recommended amount on the label, as using too much detergent can leave a residue on your clothes.
- Submerge your clothes: Gently place your clothes in the water and allow them to soak for about 10-15 minutes. This will help loosen any dirt or stains.
- Gently agitate the clothes: Using your hands or a washboard, gently agitate the clothes to help lift dirt and stains. Be careful not to stretch or rub the fabric too hard, as this can cause damage.
- Rinse the clothes: Drain the dirty water from the sink or tub and refill it with clean, lukewarm water. Rinse the clothes until the water runs clear, which should take about 3-4 rinses.
- Remove excess water: Gently squeeze the water out of the clothes, being careful not to wring or twist them. You can also roll the clothes in a towel to remove excess water.
- Dry the clothes: Lay the clothes flat on a clean, dry surface or hang them up to air dry. Avoid drying clothes in direct sunlight or in a dryer, as this can cause fading or shrinkage.
How to Hand-Wash a Sweater
Cleaning a sweater is an important part of maintaining its quality and appearance. However, not all sweaters are created equal, and it’s important to consider the specific care instructions for your sweater before washing it.
Some materials, such as cashmere and wool, may require hand washing to prevent shrinking or damage.
By following these steps, you can keep your sweaters looking fresh and clean for longer.
- Fill the tub: Fill a sink or tub with tepid water and a mild detergent, such as dishwashing liquid. To neutralize perspiration odors, you can also add a small amount of white vinegar to the water.
- Turn inside out: Turn the sweater inside out and immerse it in the water. Gently swish the sweater around, taking care not to stretch it. Let it soak for about 10 minutes. Then, rinse the sweater under cold water until no more soap residue remains.
- Gently press: Press the sweater against the side of the sink or tub to remove excess water. Lay it on a white towel on a flat surface, then roll the towel and sweater together to remove more water.
- Dry the sweater: Dry the sweater on a flat, moisture-resistant surface, such as mesh, which allows air to circulate. Avoid exposing the sweater to direct sunlight or heat. As it dries, gently shape the sweater back into its original form by squaring the shoulders, positioning the sleeves parallel to the body, and squaring the hem.
How to Hand-Wash Bras and Lingerie
Hand washing is the best way to preserve the shape and delicate details of bras and lingerie. Follow these steps to hand wash your bras:
- Soak the bra: Soak the bra in a sink or bowl filled with lukewarm water and a mild, alcohol-free hand-washing detergent. Let the bra soak for about 15 minutes, gently agitating it with your hands to work in the suds.
- Rinse away soap: Rinse the bra under running water to remove any soap residue. Be sure to rinse until there are no more suds.
- Dry the bra: To dry the bra, gently press it against a towel to remove excess water. Lay the bra flat on a towel and place another towel on top, then press gently to remove even more water. Hang the bra to dry, as laying it flat can cause the cups to lose their shape.
How to Hand-Wash Tights
Washing tights by hand is a gentle and effective way to keep them looking clean and fresh. Hand washing is particularly useful for tights with delicate materials or intricate patterns that may be damaged in a washing machine.
Follow these simple steps to save money on replacements and ensure that your tights always look clean and polished.
- Fill a sink with lukewarm water and add half a cup of mild laundry detergent or a detergent specifically made for delicate clothes. Hot water can reduce the elasticity of tights, so it’s important to use lukewarm water.
- Turn the tights inside out and gently place them in the water mixture. Avoid rubbing or pulling on the fabric, and focus on scrubbing areas that are prone to bacteria, such as the feet and crotch. Let the tights soak for about 10 minutes.
- Rinse the tights under a faucet with cold water until all of the suds are removed. Gently squeeze out excess water, then place the tights on top of a towel and roll up to dry any remaining spots.
- Lay the tights flat on a lint-free towel to air dry. Avoid hanging the tights up to dry, as this can cause them to stretch out of shape.
How to Dry Hand-Washed Clothing
Steps for drying hand-washed clothing:
- After washing, gently squeeze out excess water from the garment without twisting or wringing it. This can stretch the fibers and damage the fabric.
- Lay the garment on a clean, dry white towel that has been laundered multiple times to remove lint. Pat the garment into shape and roll up the towel, encasing the garment inside. Gently press on the rolled-up towel to absorb excess water. If the towel becomes saturated, use a second clean, dry towel.
- Follow the care instructions on the garment’s label for reshaping and drying. If there is no label, lay the garment on a clean, dry white towel on a flat, moisture-resistant surface. Flip the garment over periodically and replace the damp towel with a dry one as needed. Alternatively, you can air-dry the garment on a flat, moisture-resistant surface, such as a mesh rack, which allows air to circulate around the clothes.
- Delicate lingerie can be air-dried on a drying rack. If the dry garment is wrinkled, check the care label for the appropriate ironing temperature and press gently if necessary. If there is no label, test in an inconspicuous area before pressing. Hang or fold the clothing as soon as it is dry to prevent wrinkles.
Tips to Hand Wash Clothes
Here are some tips for hand-washing clothes effectively:
- Use a mild detergent: It’s important to use a mild detergent when hand-washing clothes to prevent the fabric from becoming damaged or weakened. Avoid using harsh detergents, as these can strip the fabric of its natural oils and cause it to become dry and brittle.
- Use lukewarm water: Hot water can damage some fabrics and cause them to shrink or lose their shape. Use lukewarm water instead to prevent this from happening.
- Gently agitate the water: Instead of rubbing or scrubbing the clothes aggressively, gently agitate the water to create suds and loosen dirt and stains.
- Soak the clothes: Allow the clothes to soak for a few minutes to give the detergent time to penetrate and loosen dirt and stains.
- Rinse thoroughly: Be sure to rinse the clothes thoroughly to remove all soap residue, as any leftover soap can cause irritation or discomfort when worn.
- Gently squeeze out excess water: After rinsing, gently squeeze out excess water from the clothes without twisting or wringing them. Twisting or wringing can stretch the fibers and damage the fabric.
- Air-dry the clothes: Lay the clothes flat on a clean, dry surface to air-dry. Avoid hanging the clothes up to dry, as this can cause them to stretch out of shape.