How to Hand Wash Clothes

Did you know that hand washing can make your garments last longer? Hand washing is the ideal option for cleaning delicate clothes, or when you have just a few items to wash at a time. Coming up are the steps to to help you learn how to hand wash clothes.

how to hand wash clothes

1. Preparation

  • Check the garment care label: On the care label, you will find instructions for washing, drying and even ironing the garment. Some labels also have instructions on the type of detergent to use and the ideal water temperature for washing.
  • Clean the sink: Traces of grease in the kitchen sink or traces of skin care products may damage your garment. Clean the sink before you begin.
  • Test the colorfastness of your garment: Get a white cloth, dip it in water, and then dab it on a corner of the clothing to see if the color runs.
  • Sketch the shapes of knitted garments: Sketching the shape of your knits will help with reshaping them after washing.
  • Separate the light and dark items: Light and dark clothes should not be washed together, as the chances of a dark item damaging a light-colored one are high.
  • Get the recommended detergent: The garment care label usually has recommendations on the best soap for your garment. If there are no suggestions on the label, use a mild detergent.

2. The Hand Washing Process

  • Fill the sink or tub with a sufficient amount of water: Use cold or tepid water – a maximum temperature of 85oF or 29oC. Note that hot water makes colors run, and causes some materials to stretch. Put in the water before you add the clothes, as the force of running water may damage them.
  • Put in the detergent in the water: Add a teaspoonful of the soap or liquid detergent to the washing water, and then stir until it dissolves completely. If the water does not have enough lather, you may add a little more of the detergent.
  • Soak the garments in the water: Submerge the garments in the water, and let them soak for between two and five minutes. Lightly soiled clothes will only need a two to three-minute soaking.
  • Swish the garments in the water as they soak: Delicate items require minimum handling during washing, so swishing is ideal. For your knits, a light kneading action will do. Swish the garment gently through the soapy water until it is clean. Avoid scrubbing, rubbing, twisting or wringing your garments.
  • Drain and Rinse: Lift the garments out of the water as you let the soapy water drain away. Do not squeeze or wring the items of clothing. After the soapy water is all gone, fill the sink with clean rinsing water, put the garments back in, and gently swish them in the water. Repeat this process with clean water until all the soap suds are gone. To confirm that your clothes are well rinsed, sniff them to make sure the soapy scent is all gone.
  • Fabric Softener: If you want to add fabric softener to the rinse, pour two teaspoonfuls into the rinse water. Check the care label first, though, so that you don’t damage your garments.
  • Drying the garment: Depending on the material your clothing is made from, you can choose either to drip dry or towel dry. Light, delicate garments can be hung up to drip dry or laid flat on a towel to dry. Knits should be put on a towel, rolled up in the towel to absorb the water, and laid flat to dry. Make sure you reshape knitted items before they start to dry.

Hand washing a garment is easier than it looks. Once you get the hang of the whole process, you will find it only takes a few minutes and saves you money on laundry bills! Happy hand washing!

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