All about how to hand wash clothes

If it’s laundry day for your delicates, or you just want to wash a few items without using the washing machine, hand washing is your best friend. Read on to learn how to hand wash your clothes for the best result, what tips and tricks Ariel can give you and what common problems you may face on the go.

8 steps on how to hand wash your clothes

For the best results, follow our step-by-step guide on how to hand wash laundry.

Step 1 – sorting laundry

Sorting is one of the most important steps when washing. Lots of people may have heard about lights and darks laundry to avoid whites turning into greys, but there’s more you can do. Here are some tips on how to separate laundry and what colours you can wash together.

Make at least four groups out of your laundry: whites, light colours, dark colours and delicates (wools, silks, etc.), and wash them separately. Once you’ve sorted your clothes by colour, you can sort them by fabric type and level of dirtiness too. If you need more in-depth help, check out our guide on how to sort your laundry.

Step 2 – stain removal

The difficulty level of removing stains can depend on the type of stain and how old the stain is. For the best results, check out our comprehensive guides on how to remove stains, and be a professional at cleaning clothes effectively.

Step 3 – Fabric bleed test

Fabric bleeding is when a garment loses its dye during the wash. This can potentially be dangerous to other clothes: this is how your whites can end up an odd shade of pink from a stray red sock in the drum. To test the stability of the dye in your piece of clothing, put it in a solution of water mixed with laundry detergent and leave it for 30 minutes. If the water is discoloured it’s best to wash that piece of clothing separately to avoid any damage to other garments.

Step 4 – Choosing the best hand wash detergent

Washing clothes in the sink raises the question of what detergent should be used. It may depend on your personal preference, but make sure you pick a detergent that dissolves properly so there won’t be any residue on your clothes after you’ve finished washing them. Picking Ariel is a great choice, so choose from our hand wash liquids for clothes or hand washing powder options.

Step 5 – The optimal water temperature for hand washing

Always make sure you check your garment’s fabric care label to see what temperature restrictions it has. While different stains may require different temperatures, usually the optimal water temperature for hand washing is room temperature.

Step 6 – How to hand wash clothes effectively

Prepare a solution of water mixed with your preferred type of laundry detergent. Submerge your garments in it, and leave them for 30 minutes. After soaking, swish them around in the solution while avoiding twisting motions to prevent the fabric from stretching. Finally, drain the water from the sink.

Step 7 – Fabric softener in hand washing

Refill the sink with cool water for rinsing, and pour some fabric softener in it. Stir your garments around in the solution a few times, then leave them to soak. Finally, drain the water and repeat the rinsing process without the fabric softener until the rinsing water is clean.

Step 8 – How to dry hand washed laundry

Avoid wringing or twisting motions, as they can easily damage your garments. Press your clothes to the side of the sink to get rid of the excess water, then lay them out to dry.

Hand wash mode in washing machine

You may have a hand wash mode on your washing machine, which is so delicate to your garments as if you were washing them by hand. Low speed of agitation and low speed spins both contribute to why this program is suitable for delicate materials with “hand wash only” written on the fabric care label. If you’re unsure about your washer and its cycles, check out its user’s manual and our guide to wash cycles too.

FAQs on hand washing

If you still have questions, check out our collection of frequently asked questions below.

  • Washing clothes in the sink is easy – simply plug the sink, fill it with water, add some laundry detergent, then your clothes and gently stir them around until they’re clean. Rinse them in clean water and lay them out to dry.

  • First, check the fabric care label if your underwear can be machine washed. If not, and hand washing underwear is your only option, simply plug your sink and fill it with water. After adding some laundry detergent, add your underwear too and gently stir them around until they’re clean. Rinse them in clean water and lay them out to dry when you’re ready.

  • Wool jumpers should always be washed in cold water, as heat can damage the material. Avoid twisting and stretching the jumper at all costs to protect the shape of the garment. For more tips and tricks, you can check out our guide on how to wash wool.

  • Similarly to wool, when hand washed, cashmere clothes should always be washed in cold water. You should also not twist or stretch your piece of clothing to protect its shape. For more tips and tricks, read our guide on how to wash cashmere.

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