The Proper Way to Handwash Your Clothes – Dos and Don’ts!

I believe we all have had times where we have needed to wash our clothes by hand. Some people may find themselves needing a clean work shirt ASAP, others have expensive clothing with delicate fabric that may require hand-washing or dry-clean ONLY. With many of us spoiled by the conveniences of washing machines, we find ourselves stumped when it comes to proper care of our garments. I admit, in the past when I have needed a quick clean shirt or socks I have ran them under the sink with some laundry detergent and scrubbed it around until the bubbles died out, I guess I was kinda doing it wrong!

First off, you want to have some detergent specifically for hand-washing on hand (I suggest Woolite for all delicates, this detergent works for the machine or hand-washing) most detergents for the machine are super condensed and are meant for at least 15 or more articles of clothing per load, using such concentrated soap in the sink means extra scrubbing and rinsing, wasting water and product).

Get prepared: you need at least two clean sinks or tubs available, one for soaking and one for rinsing. Your water temperatures should be 80-85 degrees (warm to the touch but not too hot) for soaking and cool to lukewarm for your rinsing. Prepare any pre-stain treatments as you would normally.

Washing your garment(s): use specific detergent as instructed, adding the appropriate amount to your water. After you add your clothing (as you would normally do your laundry, keeping your lights/darks separated) gently swish your clothing around for a few minutes. Keep in mind, about 98% of all dirt will come out in the first five minutes of soaking, so no need to scrub vigorously or constantly agitate your laundry. Gentle swishing and kneading is as rough as you would want to be.

Rinsing your Garments: Typically the ‘hardest’ part, because of the many repetitive steps, rinsing your garments requires some patience as you will need to drain the sink, refill, rinse and repeat until all the soap is gone. *tip: add 1/4 cup vinegar to your rinse water to dissolve alkalies in detergents but be sure to rinse well so your clothes wont have any vinegar smell to them.

Drying: wring out your clothing and pop them in the dryer if you need your clothes as soon as possible, but if you have the time I suggest you lay your laundry out on a towel on a flat surface or a drying rack. Do NOT use hangers as they can stretch out the shape of your clothing while they are still wet!
Follow these simple steps to ensure your clothing has been thoroughly cleaned and ready to wear!