How to Hand Wash Clothes

Washing clothes with a washing machine is the first option for many because it’s quick, efficient and easy. But, there are times when washing clothes by hands may be a better option; especially if the clothes are delicate, are needed soon or if a washing machine is not available.

The technique to wash clothes is a relatively easy one but there are steps that need to be followed. Here are some tips that will help you create clean and fresh-smelling clothes.

    1. Put on older clothes; clothes that if splashed with water and detergent, won’t be a worry.
    2. Be sure to check labels on all clothing and use the correct water temperature.
    3. Find, clean and fill a large and clean bucket, basin, sink or bathtub with water. Then, add your favorite dish detergent. (Dish detergent is better because it is not so harsh on clothes or hands.) Depending on the clothes washed—if delicate, use cool water, if regular clothes are used, warm water.
    4. Place your clothes into the soapy water. Make sure that the clothes are covered well with the soap solution.
    5. Allow the clothes to soak for at least 10 minutes.
    6. With your hands or a brand new toilet bowl plunger – (or clothes plunger—some stores have them)—wash or agitate the clothes for several minutes, using gentle but firm motions.
    7. Drain the water. Remove the clothes one by one—squeezing them gently and then placing them one by one in an empty sink, a bath tub or a clean, dry place.
    8. Rinse the clothes well in clean water. Often, this process takes at least two rinses so that all the soap is removed. Squeeze gently the water from each garment and then hand up everything on a clothes rack or on plastic hangers; being especially careful with delicate items not to pull or squeeze too harshly.

      Here are some handy tips that will help make this process easy and less time-consuming:

      • If you wash towels and sheets, understand that you will need a large washing area and that these items will be more difficult to wash, due to their length and weight. Use caution and understand that your muscles will be working harder and there will be some pain after the work is done.
      • When washing clothes that have heavy perspiration on them, you may have to wash them twice in order to get out the odor and stain.
      • Be careful not to wring your clothes out—especially if they are delicate like blouses, skirts and pants—for this will cause the fabric to stretch and wrinkle. Instead, gently squeeze as you would when kneading dough.
      • Wash clothes that have the same or similar colors, together. Wash light clothes with other lights; darker colors with similar dark colors.
      • If you want, pretreat heavy stains with laundry or dish detergent or a stain remover. (If you use any strong detergents or stain removers, it would be best to use rubber gloves when washing the clothes—especially if you use bleach. This will protect your hands from harsh chemicals.