WHETHER you don’t have a washing machine or are looking to clean your delicates, hand washing is the way to go.
Washing your garments by hand saves you a trip to the dry cleaners and keeps your favourite clothes in pristine condition.
How do I hand wash clothes?
If you want to know if your garment is hand wash only then check the label.
The symbol to look out for his a hand dipped in water.
Here’s how you should proceed:
1. Start by reading the instructions on the label, making a note of the material and suggested water temperature.
2. Choose a cleaning product which is suited to the fabric you are about to clean.
3. Depending on the temperature guidance, fill a bucket or sink with hot or warm water.
4. Add your cleaning product following the recommended dosage and give the water a good swirl.
5. Carefully dunk your item of clothing into the soapy water and let it soak, making sure to separate whites and colours.
6. Then pull the plug and refill the basin or container with a fresh batch of water.
7. Massage the item of clothing until the soap has been rinsed, refilling the sink if necessary.
8. Once the soap is gone, remove the garment and gently squeeze out any excess water.
9. To make sure your clothes keep their shape, lay them out to dry over a towel rather than hanging them up.
Is washing clothes by hand better?
Getting your hands wet when it comes to washing clothes has certain advantages.
For one thing, it means you don’t spend a fortune at the dry cleaners or on your electricity bill.
It’s also better for the clothes themselves, as machine washes are quite rough and can damage delicate garments.
This is especially the case when it comes to expensive items made from silk or cashmere, which are not worth risking in a tumble dryer.
Unless you are using very hot water, washing clothes by hand is also better for the environment.
It uses up less energy than a washing machine and produces less micro plastic waste.
Can you hand wash all your clothes?
Most items of clothing can be washed by hand, but make sure you check the label as some are dry clean only.
If there are no instructions or you are not sure, then it’s probably best to test before you wash.
Splash a little water on the garment and dab it with a paper towel to see if any colour runs off.
If it doesn’t, then you are good to go – otherwise, it is best to take it to a professional cleaners.
Hand washing delicate items like tights, bras and underwear may require a softer touch.
But generally speaking, provided you have followed the instructions and bought the right cleaning product, there’s nothing to worry about.
How long do you soak hand washed clothes?
The amount of time clothes should soak when hand washed depends on a number of factors.
If your clothes are exceptionally dirty, you will want to leave them in the tub for longer.
As a rule of thumb, half an hour should be enough to remove any fresh stains or dirt.
But if they are not too grubby, between five and fifteen minutes should do the trick.
Some items fare better with soaking than others, so again, the key is to know what you are working with.
Bright coloured clothing with metal zippers or made from wool, silk or leather, usually don’t like water.
Whereas stronger fabrics like cotton can bathe in the water for hours without having to worry.
Is it okay to leave clothes soaking overnight?
To remove some of the toughest stains you might want to soak your clothes in water overnight.
But this is only recommended as a last resort as it can be extremely damaging.
If you don’t want your tops and bottoms to lose their colour and shape, then less is more.
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But in extreme cases an overnight bath can help loosen the stains, which can then be washed off.
This said, most stains can be removed after soaking clothes for just five minutes, so leaving them in overnight is not necessary.
Avoid leaving brightly coloured garments in water for too long as the dye will run.
Likewise, delicate fabrics will lose their shape, so only submerge them for a short period of time.