10 Tips To Make Hand Washing Clothes Easier

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey
Credit: Shutterstock / mariakray

The washing machine is a modern marvel that made the painstaking chore of laundry significantly easier. Today, washing machines often have built-in computers, heat and moisture sensors, and many other features that make laundry a simple and carefree experience. There are, however, certain times when you either don’t have access to a washing machine or need to clean hand-wash-only clothing.

When hand washing clothes, read the care instructions on the tag so you don’t wash clothing incorrectly. Use a reliable drain stopper when washing clothes in a sink, and use the correct type of soap for hand washing. Soak clothes with similar colors and fabrics together to speed things up. When drying, roll clothes up in a towel then apply pressure, and hang clothes in a well-ventilated room.

Hand washing clothes is not the most fun activity, but you can make it a lot easier than you think. It requires some physical labor and is a bit time consuming, but some tricks can help streamline the process. If you are trying to find a way for hand washing your clothes to be easier, keep reading to discover the top 10 ways to make it happen.

Situations When You Should Hand Wash Your Clothes

The Care Instructions On The Tag Say 'Hand Wash Only'

There are many reasons why a garment can only be washed by hand. It might be the fabric, the colors, or even how the garment was made. Washing duffel bags and backpacks often needs to be done by hand as well. Whatever the reason, if the tag says 'hand wash only,' make sure you wash the garment by hand, and use the tips below.

There Are Stains You Need To Address

Sometimes, tough stains require more attention than a washing machine can provide. You might need to spot treat, hand scrub, and continuously apply special detergent to a stained surface. This is something you can only do by hand washing, especially if you want to ensure the stain is completely removed.

There Are Beads, Embroidery, Or Sequin Details

If you have a garment with lots of detailed work and special materials, this might make it a hand-wash-only garment. This is particularly true if you have clothing with sequins or beads. These types of garments can easily snap in a machine and get ruined, as well as damage other garments or even your washing machine in the process.

When You Are Traveling And Have No Other Option

Sometimes you don’t have access to a washing machine. This can happen if you are stuck in a hotel longer than you anticipated and they don’t have laundry service. Or if you are in a foreign country and you can’t easily locate a laundromat, it might be easier to just wash your clothes by hand, especially if you know the tips below.

Top 10 Tips To Help Make Hand-Washing Clothing Easier

1. Read Care Instructions Before Hand Washing A New Garment

When you have a new garment you should always check the care instructions, ideally before you even purchase the item. This allows you to know exactly how it should be washed. Remember that there are many levels of hand washing.

Some items must be washed with no other garments and at a specific temperature. Take the time to know the details, as it will save you time and headaches in the long run.

2. Treat Stains Before Washing

Before you get your sink or washing basin ready, take time to examine the clothing. If you notice stains, treat them with stain remover. Doing this in advance will save you a lot of spot-washing and scrubbing. Hand washing already takes a bit of effort, so the less work you need to do over the sink, the better.

3. Use The Right Soap For Hand Washing

Just because something is labeled 'detergent' doesn’t mean it’s ideal for hand washing. Some soaps are concentrated and will cause lots of suds and bubbles. Concentrated, and even powder soaps can often take a lot of extra time to rinse. Use soap that is specifically designed for hand washing, if possible. It will save you time in the rinsing process, and clean your clothes properly.

4. Soak Similar Fabrics And Colors Together To Save Time

When hand washing clothes, it is important to be delicate. This sometimes means you need to wash each item one at a time. This, of course, can be time-consuming and annoying. Therefore, in many cases, it is perfectly fine to wash items that have similar fabrics and colors at the same time.

Once you scrub them, you can let them soak together. This helps cut down on the hand-washing process, especially when you have a lot of clothing to wash.

5. Continue To Rinse Until Water Is Completely Clear

One common mistake when hand washing clothing is to remove it before all the soap is out. Machines have several rinse cycles that help remove all extra detergent from clothing, but the human hand isn’t always as effective.

One easy way to make sure your clothes are free of soap is to continue to swish them around and squeeze them in fresh clean water until the water stays clear. Make sure you diligently move the clothes around, as soap can stay trapped in stagnant clothing. Once the water remains clear, your clothing should be safe to remove from the water.

6. Look For A Detergent Soap Bar

If you hand wash clothing often or are going on a trip that will require a bit of hand washing, look out for a detergent bar. These are very handy, as they won’t leak in your bag, they take up minimal space, and are great for spot-cleaning garments.

You use the detergent bar similarly to how you would clean your own body. Scrubbing the soap on the garment, paying particular attention to areas that need more washing. This is a targeted and efficient way to use soap when hand washing clothing.

7. Scrub The Problem Areas Then Let The Garments Soak

One key to hand washing is not rushing the process. Remember that when you load clothing into a washing machine, this expert machine still takes 30 minutes to upwards of two hours to do the job.

Therefore, after you scrub the clothing, give yourself a break, but don’t let the clothes take a break. Allow the garments to soak in the water, as this will help remove smells and dirt over time. Don’t simply scrub and rinse, as soaking is a crucial part of the washing process. Plus, you might need the break.

8. Use A Reliable Drain Stopper

Hand washing often takes place in a sink. Sinks normally come with some type of drain stopper, but they aren’t always reliable. Consider purchasing a silicone drain stopper disk, as they fit on nearly any sink, and act as an extra barrier.

Soaking clothing is a crucial part of the hand-washing process, and if the soapy water leaks out, then you are missing out on this step. A reliable drain stopper is a great item to ensure hand washing stays consistent and on schedule.

9. Use The Towel Rolling Method To Facilitate Drying

Another part of hand washing is the drying process. Many hand-washed clothes are delicate, so you can’t wring them out too hard. This means they are often left quite damp. One way to delicately remove extra moisture from a garment is to roll it in a dry bath towel, and then apply pressure. This pushes water out of the garment, and onto the towel. It can speed up the drying process significantly.

10. Hang Clothes In A Well-Ventilated Room

Another way to ensure your hand-washed clothing dries easier is to place it in a well-ventilated space. If you can hang clothing outside on a clothesline, that’s ideal. But if you are drying clothing inside, try to place it by a window, fan, or air conditioner. This will speed things up, and prevent mildew smells.

Wrapping Up How To Make Hand Washing Your Clothing Easier

Hand-washing clothing is not fun, but it doesn't need to be complicated. Make sure you have a reliable drain stopper, and use the correct type of detergent for hand washing. Always read the care instructions, and try to soak items with similar fabrics and colors together. Allow your clothing to soak, and make sure the water comes out clear before you end the rinsing process. This ensures your clothing is free of soap and is ready to dry naturally.

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Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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