We’ve talked about handwashing and why you may need to do it for some garments. The thing is, you can bypass handwashing if you take a bit of extra care with your delicate clothing.
There are plenty of reasons to avoid handwashing your clothes. Your “hand wash only” garments risk damage in the wrong water temps, and on the incorrect washing machine settings, it’s true, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend hours washing everything by hand.
The biggest issue with handwashing clothes is that it takes time. It’s easier and less time-consuming to throw a load of laundry in the washing machine and come back when it’s time to toss the load in the dryer or hang dry stuff.
Handwashing requires the following steps:
- Grabbing a clean tub
- Filling it with soapy water
- Soaking clothing
- Scrubbing clothing (extra scrubbing for stains)
- Rinsing clothing under the tap (until all of the soap is out of the garments)
- Ringing clothes dry before hanging them or putting them in the dryer
You can soak a few items together, but scrubbing and rinsing is a timely, single-item task. Tossing your clothes into the washing machine gets more dirt and grime out, too.
Washing Machines Work Better Than You Think
The old washing machine you grew up with was probably a top-loading machine with a big central agitator that could eat a load of delicates for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Washing machines made in the last decade or so are much gentler on clothing, though. Front-loaders or top-loaders without an agitator are the safest for delicate garments.
Even if you have a washing machine with an agitator, you can still get away with washing your handwash only clothes. The key is, no matter what type of machine you’re using is to always wash delicate items on a short cycle (preferably a setting for delicates) and use cold water. Also, be sure to tuck any garments with loose straps, lace, or delicate components in a delicates bag to keep the smaller bits away from the agitator or rim of the drum.
Finally, always be sure to follow drying instructions. While you can get away with avoiding the lengthy task of handwashing stuff, putting your hand washables in the dryer on the wrong setting is a recipe for disaster. Blasting a tumble-dry-only garment on the highest heat setting is a sure way to ruin it.