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For some reason it is sometimes better to abandon the washing machine and take a manual approach. While handwashing is usually reserved for delicate items – bras and underwear, ie – it’s an effective option for most types of clothing, especially if you don’t have a sufficient load important to make a trip to the useful laundromat.
Before heading to your sink, take a look at the care and fiber label on your garment for water temperature guidelines and other washing instructions. If the label says “dry cleaning” as opposed to “dry cleaning only”, it can be safe to wash in the sink – and reduce your dry cleaning bill in the process. To be cautious, test your clothing by placing a drop of water in a hidden location and sponging with a paper towel. If no color comes off or leaves a water stain, it should be safe to wash by hand. Although the care instructions may vary from one type of clothing to another, the same step-by-step method applies regardless of whether you are working with wool, silk or cotton.
Whether you’re tackling a stain of wine or just need to spruce up a blouse before next use, ask an expert – Carolyn Forte, Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab – for the best way to wash clothes. by hand. .
How to wash clothes by hand
Washing clothes by hand is by far the sweetest approach. This means that you want to treat your clothes with an extreme level of care throughout the cleaning process. To save time, do not hesitate to wash your tastes with clothes like clothes of the same color and the same type of fabric. Follow this step-by-step guide for most garments (but keep reading for more specific procedures for bras, underwear and sweaters):
- Read the care label to determine the type of fabric: silk, wool, etc. From there, locate the best laundry detergent. Any standard detergent should work for most items. Delicate fabrics may require something softer, such as a fine fabric detergent, a mild, free detergent, or a mild dish detergent.
- Treat stains, if necessary. To do this, gently apply laundry stain remover or liquid detergent to the stain with your fingertips (avoid rubbing!). During soaking, gently press the soapy water through the garment several times.
- Fill the sink with water – lukewarm or lukewarm, depending on your garment care labels – and put the clothes in it. (For info: wool, silk and bright colors are best cleaned with cold water.) Then add the recommended dose of detergent. Spin the detergent in the water to make sure it is completely dissolved, then drop your garment in the water and gently press it to immerse it completely. The water can change color, but do not panic: it is simply the color of the fabric which releases the color and will not cause any color loss after washing.
- Rinse thoroughly. If you have a sprayer on your faucet, place all light clothing, such as lingerie or swimsuits, in a colander and rinse them. Otherwise, fill the sink with fresh, clear water, immerse the item of clothing and squeeze out the water to rinse. Repeat as needed.
- Remove the excess water. Since spinning wet and delicate fabrics can cause unnecessary damage, gently lift the garment with both hands and gently wipe off as much water as possible. Then lay it flat on an absorbent towel and roll the towel and clothing together until the water is absorbed.
- Put the items to dry. To prevent delicate items, especially knitwear, from stretching out of shape, let them dry flat. For extra care (and to speed up the drying process), place sweaters or swimsuits on a dry towel and allow them to air dry. Once the forehead is dry, turn it over.
How to wash delicate bras and lingerie
While throwing your bra in the washing machine may seem like a quick fix, it can be damaging in the long run. Washing your bras by hand is the method recommended by lingerie brands and designers because it helps your underwear keep its shape and shape. Good news for you: it’s really easy to do.
- Fill the sink with lukewarm water (or the temperature indicated on the care label for your bra). Add a mild detergent.
- Carefully place the bra in the water and allow it to soak for 15 minutes. Work the soap solution gently in all the nooks and crannies of the bra.
- Rinse. If you have a sprayer on your tap, place the bra in a colander and rinse it. Otherwise, fill the sink with fresh, clear water, immerse the bra and squeeze the water to rinse.
- To get rid of any excess water, gently wipe the water from the straps and back, blot or pat (including cups) with a towel. Reshape and dry flat.
How to wash underwear by hand
Similar to bras, there are certain styles of underwear that need to be hand washed. Follow this guide for the next time you clean your delicate silk, lace or underwear.
- Fill the sink with warm water (or at the temperature indicated on the care label for your underwear). Add a mild detergent and shake it in water until it dissolves.
- Place the underwear – you can wash several pairs as long as they are the same color and the same fiber material – in water and soak for up to 30 minutes. Spin the detergent regularly in water to make sure it is completely dissolved.
- Rinse off with lukewarm water. If you have a sprayer on your faucet, place the underwear in a colander and rinse them. Otherwise, fill the sink with water, immerse the undergarment and wring it out to rinse.
- Carefully lift the undergarment out of the water and gently press it to remove any excess water. Then pat dry with a towel, reshape the underwear and hang dry or flat.
How to wash sweaters by hand
We all have this sweater that we love … except that it requires a trip to the dry cleaner after each wear. If it is marked “dry clean” on the care label, it may be safe to wash your sweater at home.
- Recheck the sweater care and fiber labels to determine the perfect water and detergent temperature. More often than not, fill the sink with lukewarm water and add a mild detergent or mild dish soap.
- Treat stains with a laundry stain remover or liquid detergent. Work the stain remover in the stain with your fingertips (avoid rubbing).
- Turn the sweater inside out. Immerse the sweater in the water and turn the foam around. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.
- Rinse. If you have a sprayer on your tap, place the sweater in a colander and rinse it. Otherwise, fill the sink with fresh, clear water, immerse the sweater and wring it out to rinse.
- Lift the garment with both hands and gently wring out as much water as possible. Then lay it flat on an absorbent towel and roll the towel and clothing together until the water is absorbed.
- Place the sweater on a dry towel and allow it to air dry. Once the forehead is dry, turn it over.
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