Is there anything more annoying than accidentally shrinking your favourite top in the washing machine? We think not! But doing those delicate items by hand can feel like heading back in time, especially with the washing machine looking temptingly at you. But don’t give in, even the gentlest cycle on your machine may prove too much for hand wash items. So here’s a few hints and tips for the best ways to hand wash your delicates:
Always read the label
This way you won’t get caught out. Sometimes an item you are least expecting can be hand wash only (and it’s usually your more expensive items that need hand washing!).
The usual suspects
When you are sorting your wash, the usual suspects to look out for include cashmere and some other woolens, plus quite a few silk items. Also look out for solid colours that can easily bleed.
A clean environment
If you are washing in a sink or bowl, make sure you’ve given it a good clean first.
The water temperature is really important, so always make sure it’s cool or lukewarm to stop your delicates from getting damaged. The perfect temperature for hand washing is 29ºC/85ºF (if you really want to be precise add a thermometer to the bowl).
Keep fabrics and colours that are similar together and hand wash in small batches at a time.
Gently does it
Carefully move or ‘swish’ the clothes around in your soapy bowl of water. Nearly all of the dirt will come out in the first five minutes, so keep it gentle and mild.
In the rinse
Empty your bowl or drain your sink and add new clean soap-free water. Rinse out the clothes and then repeat, adding more fresh water until no more soap exists.
Squeeze out your water gently but never wring as this can damage the item. Lay each item in a towel and roll several times to press out the majority of the water. Then you can leave the item to dry but avoid hanging so you don’t stretch it out of shape. Job done!