Hand washing is my favorite method for washing clothes. I have a washing machine but I always find myself going back to where it all began. And after doing it regularly and for a long time, I have the best tricks in the book up my sleeve.
Hand Washing Clothes Hacks
Hand washing clothes hacks not only make the task easier, but they also help to keep clothes in good condition. Keep reading to learn the best tips and tricks for a great handwashing experience.
#1. Sort Your Clothes
Just like machine washing, you need to sort laundry beforehand. Assuming all your clothes are hand wash only, begin to separate them by color and by type. If possible, invest in multiple laundry baskets so that you can keep your whites separate from colors, and brightly colored clothes such as reds separate from darks.
Next, sort your colors on the basis of colorfastness. If one of your brightly colored garment sheds a lot of dye, set it aside and wash it on its own.
Secondly, separate clothes by type. Set towels aside and wash them separately from the rest of your clothes. Similarly, set bedsheets and fleece blankets aside. Such large items need to be washed on their own.
#2. Presoak Non-colorfast Clothes
If you just bought non-colorfast clothes and you are washing them for the first time, presoak them in a solution of water and salt or water and vinegar for 2 hours.
You can tell whether your garment is non-colorfast by reading the care tag. If it recommends that you “wash colors separately” the garment will most likely shed dye and stain the rest of your clothes.
Soaking clothes in water or vinegar is not the most reliable method for setting dye. However, there is no harm trying. It might slow down fading to some extent, but your clothing will still shed excess dye and fade gradually as it ages.
For clothes such as jeans, it is a common practice to wash them in salty water every time. Whether this helps is debatable. Generally, the dyes that textile companies use on clothes have changed significantly over time, a change that apparently renders the use of salt and vinegar during laundering useless.
According to an article posted in the Iowa State University Extension blog, the salt remedy only works during the manufacturing stage. When clothes are placed in the dye bath, salt is added to improve absorption.
Perhaps a better way to set dye is by using a commercial fixative such as Rit ColorStay.
#3. Pretreat Stains
For hand washed clothes to look their best after drying, begin by pretreating stains. Different kinds of stains require different kinds of stain removal agents. The most common stains on clothes fall under oil-based, water-based and perspiration stains.
Treat oil-based stains with dish soap. It is one of the best cleaners for cutting through grease and oil. It is also readily available in most homes. Another great alternative that you can consider is OxiClean MaxForce Laundry Stain Remover Spray. It is an effective remedy for a wide range of oil based stains, blood stains and grass stains among others.
For water based stains, use household agents such as baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol. Vinegar is the most versatile of all because it removes a variety of stains. You can rely on it to treat mildew, tomato, grass and ink stains.
As for perspiration stains, make lemon your friend. Combine lemon water with salt and apply the solution on the stains. You mostly need this remedy for the under armpits sections of your clothes.
#4. Presoak Clothes in Bleach Occasionally
You cannot always use bleach on white clothes because it speeds up wear and tear. That said, using it occasionally is important especially for whites and heavily stained colors.
For starters, there are two types of bleach; chlorine and oxygen bleach. Only use chlorine bleach when presoaking white clothes. It is powerful and only meant for whites that are safe for bleaching. Oxygen bleach is safe for both whites and colors that are bleach-safe.
Bleach is good for heavily soiled and stained clothes. It brightens, whitens and disinfects.
As mentioned, you do not need to presoak your bleach safe clothes always. Only do it when it is absolutely necessary. On other occasions, use vinegar to prevent your whites from becoming dingily, and to keep colors looking bright and vibrant.
If you do not like bleach, hydrogen peroxide and washing soda are reliable alternatives that you can use to achieve the same benefits.
#5. Use Washing Soda to Soften Hard Water
Washing soda, which is also known as sodium carbonate is linked to hard water softening effects. And since laundering clothes in hard water is very challenging, washing soda comes in handy.
A small amount of washing soda goes a long way. Add it to your 5 gallon water in a laundry bucket to trigger a chemical reaction that binds the minerals present in the water.
This makes the water soft, allowing you to complete your laundry chore effortlessly.
#6. Presoak Clothes
Combine water and detergent in a bucket or wash basin and allow clothes to presoak for a few minutes. Presoaking makes washing easier because the soiling on clothes loosens while they sit in water.
Presoak heavy and tough fabrics in warm water, and towels and sheets in hot water.
Be cautious though. Not all clothes are ideal for presoaking. Avoid presoaking non-colorfast clothes with the rest of your garments because they can release too much dye and cause staining.
#7. Choose Detergent Wisely
In essence, there is no such thing as right or wrong detergent. Your laundry goals and priorities should help to determine the perfect product. If sustainable washing is your top priority, natural cleaners such as washing soda, soap nuts and baking soda should come first.
The best way to use these products is to combine them with cleaning powerhouses such as vinegar and lemon water.
If you have skin sensitivity issues, free and clear laundry detergents might be the best for you. Most of them are safe and do not result to laundry detergent rashes.
Another factor to consider when choosing laundry detergent is the color of your clothes. Use detergent that preserves color for non-colorfast clothes. We recommend Woolite for darks. You can use it to wash dark clothes as well as non-colorfast brights.
Use detergent that contains brighteners to wash white clothes. This keeps them from loosing their brightness and appearing dingily overtime.
#8. Wash Clothes Thoroughly
Wash one part of your clothing against another until an entire garment is clean. Be keen on collars and other sensitive areas. Use a soft brush to scrub them gently until all the dirt loosens up.
You do not have to wash your clothes once. Drain the bucket, sink or tub and wash them repeatedly until they are completely clean.
Turn the clothes inside out during the final washing round to determine whether there are sections that you have not washed properly.
After washing, rinse repeatedly until you can no longer see soap bubbles or suds in the rinsing water.
#9. Avoid Fabric Softener
The rule of thumb is to avoid fabric softeners when washing towels, workout clothes, baby clothes and a few other categories of clothing items. However, that does not take away the fact that fabric softener is generally bad for most clothes.
It leaves a waxy coating on fabric fibers, giving clothes artificial softness to the touch. This outcome is not good for the long-term because clothes tend to lose their original texture.
The best approach is to use vinegar in the place of fabric softener. Just add ¼ cup of vinegar to the final rinsing water and rinse your clothes as normal.
The smell of vinegar dissipates over time, which leaves your clothes smelling fresh and fragrance free.
#10. Hang Clothes Inside Out
Do not wring out your clothes excessively. Just press them a little bit to remove excess water so that they can stay wrinkle-free.
#11. Hang Clothes Properly
Hang clothes properly to avoid ending up with t-shirts that have an overstretched neck, pants and skirts with a loosened waist band and overstretched wool and cashmere sweaters.
Pair socks together when hanging to avoid ending up with missing partners.
#12. Fold Clothes Immediately After Unhanging
Do not let your clothes sit in the bedroom loosely after unhanging them. Fold them nicely and arrange them neatly in your closet or drawers. Hang coats, dresses and pants immediately.
Storing clothes poorly after unhanging leads to wrinkling.
Is washing clothes by hands effective?
Washing clothes by hands is just as effective as washing them with a machine. As an added advantage, hand washing is gentler on your clothes because you have full control of the entire process.
What are the disadvantages of washing clothes by hand?
Hand washing clothes requires time and effort. You have to wash one clothing item at a time and keep washing until you remove all the dirt and stains. This is different from throwing clothes in the washer, choosing the right settings and keeping yourself busy with something else.
Another disadvantage is that not all clothes should be hand washed. Some clothes are best thrown into the machine.
How do you wash clothes without a washer?
If you do not have a washer, combine water and detergent in a wash basin, sink or tub and wash your clothing. Begin by submerging the garment completely then allow it to presoak for a few minutes. Clean it by washing one part against another until you remove soiling from the entire garment. Rinse repeatedly to remove excess soap then hang to dry.
How do you freshen clothes without washing them?
The best way to freshen clothes without washing them is to hang them in a well ventilated place. Turn your clothes inside out then hang them outdoors under a shade. Let them sit on the line for several hours or up to a day depending on how soon the odor improves.
An alternative way is to place your clothes in a polythene bag and place them in the freezer overnight.