Hand Washing Clothes: Tips and Tricks

Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - kgnprchr

Hand washing clothes probably isn’t the most exciting chore on your to-do list. Yet, the task is absolutely essential for some types of fabrics. We’ll show you how to wash clothes by hand the right way.

Ever think it might be handy knowing how to wash clothes by hand? Say you’re on vacation and don’t have immediate access to a washing machine. Maybe you only have a couple items to wash and want to save water at home. Or maybe your washing machine smells and could use a clean? Hand washing clothes might just be the next best alternative. In this article, we’ll show you how to handwash clothes like a pro.

Hand Washing Clothes: When is it Necessary?

hand washing clothes how to handwash clothes step-by-step guide lace garments delicates
We recommend washing delicate garments with lots of lace by hand. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - hans)

You can wash just about any item of clothing by hand. However, there are also some types of fabrics and clothes that consistently require hand washing. Some common examples are garments made of silk, wool, cashmere or lace. It’s also a good idea to hand wash embroidered clothing or underwear with lots of lace.

Tip: Always look at the laundry tag before washing. These labels will tell you whether or not hand washing your clothes is the only option. Adhere to these useful instructions and you’ll avoid damaging your clothes.

Instead of hand washing, you can also wash wool sweaters and other delicate clothes on a gentle cycle in the washing machine. However, washing but one or two items of clothing in a single wash cycle uses up quite a lot of energy and water.

Furthermore, you should also wash clothes that are particularly prone to bleeding separately by hand. Washing these clothes by hand helps make sure you won’t accidentally dye the rest of your clothes in the machine.

How to Handwash Clothes: Chose the Right Detergent

When it comes to hand washing your clothes, liquid detergents are far better suited than powder detergents. The latter tend to leave residues on clothes. For delicate clothing like silk or wool, make sure you choose a suitably mild detergent.

As a general rule, be sure to make the choice for sustainable and organic products when shopping for detergent. Conventional detergents often contain particularly harmful chemical ingredients such as phosphates or microplastics. These can pollute the waste water and harm aquatic life.

How to Wash Clothes By Hand: Step-by-Step Instructions

Where to handwash clothes sinks containers
First step: Fill a large bucket, your sink or bathtub with warm water and add some powder detergent. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Curology)

Hand washing clothes is really simple. Still, there are a few things to consider throughout the hand-washing process. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to handwash clothes without damaging your most cherished garments:

  1. First, fill up your clean container (such as a bucket, sink or bathtub) with warm water. The water temperature shouldn’t be too hot – about 85°F / 30°F should do just fine. To handwash very delicate clothes you may even want to use cold water.
  2. Add some detergent and dissolve. As a rule of thumb, one teaspoon of detergent per garment is sufficient. You should be able to find more detailed instructions on the detergent’s packaging about how to dose it when washing by hand.
  3. Soak the garment you wish to wash in the soapy water. Gently move the article of clothing back and forth in a circular motion to remove any dirt. Remove your clothes after about three to five minutes.
  4. Fill a second container with water and dip your laundry in it. Repeat this process until all detergent residue has dissolved and the water remains clear.
  5. It is important that you do not wring, knead or scrub the clothes vigorously at any time. This could cause them to warp and distort.
  6. After washing by hand, it is best to dry the clothes lying flat on a table or hang them on a clothes line.

Tips for Naturally Clean Laundry

Natural laundry cleaning tips
Utopia will show you how to get rid of sweat stains and laundry smells the natural way. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Annie Spratt)

Looking for even more useful household hacks for clean laundry? Sweat stains in clothes can be tricky to remove. Some persistent cases – especially whites – can become increasingly discolored over time. However unsightly, you can still remove sweat stains without using chemical cleaners known to pollute the environment.

If it’s the smell that lingers, we recommend giving this a read: How to Get Sweat Smell out of Clothes the Natural Way

To revive faded colors, remove stains or prevent color bleeding, try treating your clothes with vinegar. Here’s how: Washing Clothes with Vinegar: Benefits of Adding Vinegar to Laundry

This article was translated from German to English by Evan Binford. You can view the original here: Handwäsche: Einfache Anleitung für alle Textilien

** Links to retailers are partially affiliate links: If you buy here, you actively support Utopia.org because we get a small portion of the proceeds.

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