How To Hand Wash Clothes

By Laura Parker
July 13, 2023

Woman hand washing knitted woolen laundry in grey plastic basinlot of picture id1017857886

Have your clothes ever become discolored after frequent washes, or lost its shape after some time? Perhaps you should consider hand washing those items.


Hand washing your own clothes always sounds like a hassle, especially if you own a washing machine, but the extra work is worth it when you think of all the clothes you save. Hand washing is a surefire way to preserve the longevity of your favorite items that may get treated too harsh by the washing machine.


Even if your washing machine has a setting for delicates or hand-washing, nothing beats the real thing. So learn a valuable chore and make sure that your expensive and nice looking clothes never get treated poorly!


Considering The Item

If you want to be selective about the clothes that you are handwashing versus clothes you still put in the washing machine, check the label. See if your items say “dry-clean,” as it is best to keep these items out of the washing machine. Consider the type of item too. Special or delicate clothes like select lingerie, wool sweaters, and most socks maintain their shape and color best when washed by hand.


Learn to wash clothes by hand with the step-to-step instructions that follow. 


How To Hand Wash Clothes

1) Determine which detergent to use. Look at the label of the clothes you are trying to wash for advice on which detergent to use. If you can’t find it, don’t worry. Just default to a mild detergent or dishwashing liquid.


2) Set up your washing station. Find a small tub or just use a sink and fill it up with cool or lukewarm water. Begin with a teaspoon of detergent added to the water, but you may need to use more depending on the size and number of items you are planning on washing.


3) Let it soak. Dip the clothes into the soapy water and let it get submerged. Move your hands through the water in a swishing manner so that the garment comes into contact with the detergent in the water. Make sure not to aggressively scrub or twist the clothes to clean out dirty parts, as this can stretch or otherwise damage the fabric. Just swish the clothes through the water until it is clean.


4) Rinse the soap off. When you have properly cleaned all the garments you were meaning to clean, it is now time to rinse them off. Drain the soapy water that you were using and refill it with cold, clean water. Submerge the clothes again and rinse until all the detergent is removed – you can give it a smell test to make sure that the clothes no longer holds a strong scent. 


There you have it. Hand washing clothes is pretty simple and a lot less could go wrong than actually sending all your clothes into the washing machine. For a select few items in your wardrobe, hand washing will make it last longer. Make sure your favorite items stay clean and new!


Drying Your Hand Washed Clothing

After you have finished hand-washing, you’re going to need an easy method of drying too. Drying clothes is a tricky subject as some material will shrink in the dryer and is best left to be hung dry. If you have taken the time to hand wash your clothes, you might as well make sure that it dries properly too.


1) Squeeze excess water out. The last thing you want is your laundry dripping water from the drying rack. Instead, twist and squeeze out the excess water to make sure that your clothes are just damp before setting them out to dry. Again, do not work the clothes too forcefully as to preserve the fabric.


2) Lay on a flat surface with a towel. Before you put your clothes on a drying rack, use another method to drain out extra water. Lay a clean white towel on a flat surface. Put your clothes on the towel and roll it up to absorb all the water you can. If your towel becomes too wet, replace it with another clean one. 


3) Set them on a hanging rack. The final step is to air-dry your laundry on a hanging rack. Make sure you put your clothes on the rack flat with no wrinkles and just let the surrounding air do its job. If you have wrinkles on your clothes, check to see the ironing instructions and press the clothes to remove them.


In a couple of hours, your clothes are dry and certain not to have been ruined by the washing and drying machine. 


Learning How To Hand Wash Clothes

Congrats! When you follow through on these easy steps for hand washing and air drying, your clothes will be clean, smell good, and stay fresh. Never worry about the dryer shrinking your clothes or the washing machine acting harshly on your most delicate items again. Just feel good that you are in control of cleaning your clothes.


The little bit of extra time and energy it takes to hand wash your clothes is worth it. Have a great time with your clean clothes and thanks for reading!

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