Most washing machines will offer a delicate setting suitable for the finest of garments but if you simply don’t want to chance it, hand-washing is the answer! Handwashing isn’t as simple as sticking it in the bowl and hoping for the best. It can depend on the fabrics and dyes as well.
How to Wash by Hand
Washing your clothes by hand is a simple process but do be aware that if you have sensitive skin, wearing gloves is advised!
The first step is to always read the label. This will establish the level of detergent you need. For dry clean only and handwash items, this should be a mild detergent. If you’re washing a number of items, these need to be split into whites and lights, and darks, similar to washing by machine.
Fill a small bowl or bathroom sink with cool to lukewarm water (the care label might give their own specific recommendation. Occasionally a handwash may require hot water).
Add approximately a teaspoon of detergent. The instruction may give a slightly different recommendation and depending on the size, you may need to add more. On the whole, you never need as much detergent as you think! Wait for all the detergent to dissolve fully.
Submerge the item and soak. Whirl the item around the water but never twist the garment – even when getting rid of excess water – as this can ruin the shape of the garment.
Drain the sink/bowl and fill again with cool water. Whirl the garment and empty the sink/bowl again. Sniff the garment and if you still smell detergent, repeat until the garment is no longer scented. You can always keep the tap running instead.
How to Dry Hand-Washed Clothing
Now you have this clean but extremely damp garment leaving a trial of water about the house. You can’t wring it, you can’t squeeze it, so what do you do?
Removing Excess Water
Lay the item out on a towel and gently push the water out onto the towel. Then roll the garment in the towel and gently press the towel to remove as much water as possible.
You might find you need a couple of towels for this.
You can lay on a fresh dry towel and flip the garment over periodically. Placing near a radiator or outside on a sunny day will make the drying quicker. Placing on the washing line can also work but as the garment is heavy with water in comparison to normal washing machine items, it can misshape and stretch the item. Placing it halfway over the line will help.
What about Dry Clean only?
Dry clean only can be hand-washed with extra care but it does depend on the item. For this, test the garment in an inconspicuous area such as the inner lining to make sure the colour doesn’t run or water doesn’t ruin the fabric. Choose a mild detergent or even a dishwashing liquid. Soak the area and hang to dry then inspect the fabric once it has completely dried. If there are no additional marks or faults, you’re safe to wash the whole garment.
Do you have any handwashing cleaning tips? Any magic formulas you want to tell the world about? We love to hear from you and you might get featured on our website.