Hand washing can extend the lives of all your clothing, especially delicates and fabrics that can pull or stretch in the washing machine. Residential laundry services can do it for you, or you can fill your sink (or tub) at home and get your hands wet.

Follow the steps below to give your clothes the best hand wash experience.

1. Check the care labels

Most clothes can be hand washed with regular detergent. Clothes made of delicate fabrics like silk or lace might require specialized detergents. Others might be dry clean only. Check each garment’s care label to confirm that your laundry batch can withstand the same detergent. Also check if they can wash in the same water temperature.


If you don’t have enough clothes of the same care type to rationalize multiple laundry loads, you can use the gentlest detergent and cold water. Some clothes, like whites, wash better in warm water than cold water, but they’ll still clean in lower temperature.

2. Pretreat stains

Check each garment for stains and pretreat them as appropriate. Most stains can be pretreated with spot treatments or stain solutions. Use a gentle rubbing motion to apply the treatment. Afterward, turn the clothes inside out so the stain faces inside. 

3. Submerge in a sink of water and detergent

Fill a tub with the appropriate temperature of water and the recommended amount of detergent. Clothes made of wool and silk clean best in cold water, but cool or lukewarm water works fine. Swirl the tub until the detergent dissolves, then lay out your clothes in the water.

Submerge the clothes completely and gently swirl with your hands. Don’t twist, scrub, or stretch, which can damage the fabric. Instead, let the detergent soak into every part of the clothes. Then leave the clothes to soak according to the below guidelines:

  • Soak bras and lingerie for 15 minutes 
  • Soak underwear for 30 minutes 
  • Soak tights for 10 minutes 
  • Soak hats for 15 minutes
  • Don’t soak silk for more than 30 minutes

4. Rinse and lay out to dry

You can rinse clothes by directing the faucet over each garment, or submerging them in a sink of freshwater and squeezing out the detergent. Don’t wring the clothes. 

After squeezing out most of the water and detergent, lay out the clothes flat to dry. For speedier drying, lay them out on a towel. Whites can be laid out under the sun for brightening and disinfection.

Laundry delivery services can wash all your clothes, from delicates to whites

Laundry Care Express offers laundry and dry cleaning pick up and delivery services to residents in the Santa Cruz and San Jose areas. Schedule a laundry pick up today for your next laundry load.


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