When was the last time you washed any of your clothes by hand? For most of us, it’s probably been a LONG time! Modern washing machines have long since eliminated the need for hand-washing our laundry, for the most part. Many delicate clothing items still require a gentle hand to get clean, and can sustain damage even in the gentlest machine washing cycles. So even these days, knowing how to hand-wash clothing is still a useful skill to have in your arsenal!
And let me assure you, hand-washing is neither as time-consuming or as labor-intensive as you might think.
Related: How to Wash Silk the Easy Way
Here are some tips for safely and effectively washing your delicate clothing items.
- Gentle detergent
- A container for washing (your bathtub, a bucket, your sink, etc.)
- Clean bath towels
Start by reading the label of the item of clothing you want to wash. Look in particular for any detergent or water temperature recommendations. (If you need a refresher of what those strange laundry symbols mean on clothing labels, we created a free printable washing instruction symbols cheat sheet!)
If there aren’t any recommendations on the label, your safest bet will be to wash the item in lukewarm water with a mild detergent. (You could use my homemade powdered laundry detergent here, if you use it at home!)
Fill your bathtub, a bucket, or your sink with lukewarm water, then add a small amount of detergent. Mix it up together with a large spoon or a whisk to dissolve the detergent and break up any clumps.
Submerge your garment in the soapy water, and move it around using gentle swishing motions. Avoid wringing, stretching, scrubbing, or twisting!
After a few minutes of swishing, drain your container of water and refill it with cool water for rinsing. Push your garment down into the water several times to rinse it out. Drain the rinse water and repeat, if necessary.
Inspect the label of your garment for drying recommendations. If there are no instructions provided, lay the garment out on a clean, dry bath towel. Flip the item over every once in a while, and change out the towel, if necessary. This process takes a little longer, but it is the gentlest way to dry delicate clothing.