• 03/29/2023

How to Hand Wash Clothes: A Step-By-Step Guide

Basket of laundry.

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In today’s society, most of us are used to using washing machines to clean our clothing. However, there are some situations where your clothes get dirty, but no washer is in sight. You can hand wash clothes to clean them.

Maybe the washer you want to use doesn’t have a delicate cycle or an extra delicate piece requires a hand wash. If you’re in a pinch, you can hand wash your clothing, but there are some things to keep in mind to keep the process safe and effective. 

Though humans washed clothing by hand until the early 1900s, new generations haven’t had to learn the skill. Here is your step-by-step guide to hand washing your everyday clothes. 

Step 1: Pretreat Your Stains

The first step is to pretreat any stains as you usually would in order to increase your chances of removing them. Pretreat dry stains by drenching with cool to warm water and an enzyme-based soap or detergent. You can use a small amount of  liquid detergent, a few drops of dish soap or powdered detergent mixed with water. Let it set for a few minutes to start breaking up the stain. 

Step 2: Fill Your Sink

While you pretreat the stain, fill a sink with clean warm water. You don’t have to fill it to the top, but you should be able to saturate your garment. If you’re concerned about water usage, you can fill a container ahead of time and pour it into the sink and over your garment as needed, so you monitor your use. This is also the time to gather any other supplies you need to continue wash process, like gloves and scrubbing devices. 

Step 3: Mix in Your Detergent

The next step is to stir in a small amount of laundry detergent to the water to create suds. You can start small and add more as needed to cleanse your clothes. Many detergent companies make packets of detergent you can travel with to wash your favorite outfits on the go. You can also use a few drops of dish soap in a pinch. However, experts do not recommend using body soap. 

Step 4: Scrub Your Clothes 

Before you place your hands in detergent, putting some gloves on is a good idea. Though the water will dilute the chemicals and other cleaning agents in detergents, you could experience skin irritation during cleaning. Drench your clothes in the mixture before performing the wash. Use your hands with a sponge, brush or washboard to scrub the dirt, germs and debris from your clothing. 

Step 5: Rinse and Dry Your Garments

Once you scrub away stains, particles and oils, you are ready to rinse your garment. Run clean water over it, ringing it out until there are no suds or other evidence of your soap on it. Once the water from the clothing runs clean, ring any excess water out of it and hang it up to dry. You can often accelerate the drying process by putting it outside in a breeze, in front of a fan or near an air vent. 

Hand washing Your Clothes 

Sometimes, clothes get dirty and there is no washing machine around to remove dirt and stains. Hand washing your clothes is an easy way to ensure you can always have the items you want to wear.

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