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How to Hand Wash Clothes

How to Hand Wash Clothes

Most of us have washing machines in our homes that ease the efforts of doing the laundry. But what do you do on a day when your washing machine breaks down? Find out here about tips and tricks to hand wash clothes with ease and without breaking your back.
Mrunal Belvalkar
There can be many instances when you could be required to wash your own clothes yourself, with your own hands; like when your washing machine breaks down. All the students out there may also be compelled to do their laundry themselves, if you are living on your own and haven't bought a washing machine for your condo yet. It is not very difficult to wash clothes by hand. Though it looks like a daunting task, it is in fact much easier than you think it is. Find out here how to wash clothes by hand.

Phase #1 - Checklist for Hand Washing Clothes
  • Detergent - select one that is not too strong or too mild. Also select one that is mild on your own skin too.
  • Brush - check the bristles; they should not be too hard, or your delicate cottons may tear.
  • Tub - it is easier to wash clothes in a shallow and wide tub rather than a tall bucket. Make sure you buy separate tubs for your whites, colored clothes and delicate clothes, as you would be required to wash them separately.
  • Conditioner/Softener - this would be necessary for your cotton garments, your delicates and your lingerie. You do not want your lingerie getting stiff in the sun when you hang your clothes to dry!
  • Clothes Pegs - you are going to need PLENTY of these, so make sure you are stocked.
Phase #2 - Change Your Clothes!

Make sure you change into clothes that you don't mind getting dirty before you go about hand washing your clothes. There is going to be water - and that too soapy water - flying around and right onto you when you wash clothes. Make sure you are prepared for that. It would be best to change into a pair of shorts and an old t-shirt. Also make sure you wear bathroom slippers so the soap does not stick in your toe nails. Secure your hair properly too, in a rubber band and a headband to keep the layers tucked away. Clothes detergent can really damage your hair and make them rough if it gets into your hair.

Phase #3 - Hand Washing Your Clothes

Here is an easy to follow 7 step guide to washing clothes by hand with ease and without losing patience! Ready? Get set. GO!
  1. Sort - Sort out the clothes into different piles. All colored clothes go into one pile, all whites go into another, all delicates in yet another, and the rest can go together into one tub.
  2. Check - Check the pockets for any money or loose change that you might have forgotten to take out. It helps to turn jeans and pants inside out so that the pockets can be cleaned properly and also dry quickly.
  3. Soap - Add about one big tablespoon of detergent for 5 big clothes. Half a tablespoon of detergent should suffice for all your lingerie. Mix the soap well with the water and make sure it has completely dissolved before you add your clothes.
  4. Soak - Add clothes to the respective tubs. Tumble and rinse them to ensure they are wet completely. Let the clothes soak for anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes depending on how dirty they have gotten. Soiled clothes, sportswear may need longer soaking; lingerie will suffice with 15 minutes soaking.
  5. Wash - Start to wash the clothes after you have sufficiently soaked them. Take them out of the tub, one at a time, and brush them with the washing brush. Concentrate a little more on the underarms and the collars - they tend to get dirtier than the rest of the garment. Alternately, you can use a fresh, clean, new, unused toilet brush - just dip it in the tub and move it up and down gently. However, this may entangle and stretch your clothes. I prefer to wash them separately.
  6. Rinse - Rinse the clothes in a separate clean tub. Usually 3 rinses are required to get all the soap water out of the clothes. Alternately you can rinse the clothes under running tap water. Also this would be the stage where you add the fabric softener. Give an extra rinse.
  7. Dry - Hang the clothes to drip dry them. You may gently wring them to remove the excess of water. Do not wring them so hard that the clothes stretch or crease unnaturally. Join the ends and hang them on the clothes line using clothes pegs. Do not hang them under direct sunlight - the color may fade and the clothes may go stiff. But let there be sufficient sunlight for them to dry completely.
I hope that has simplified hand-washing clothes for you comparatively. One tip I could give is to get your kids involved too. Kids love playing in the water anyway...! Teaching them to do their own laundry could be a fun exercise for them to learn taking responsibility for their belongings. Also another tip would be, play some music while you do it. It will help you enjoy the task more without being bored of it, and the fatigue will go away! All the best.