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A guide to washing clothes by hand the right way

Hand washing clothes doesn’t have to be hard! Read on for an easy guide for how to hand wash at home.


handwashing clothes

Key steps

  • Organise clothing, separating colours from whites. 
  • Check the care label for temperature guides.
  • Mix water with good quality detergent like Omo.
  • Soak stained clothing.
  • Gently squeeze the water and detergent through your clothing to wash it.
  • Rinse under clean water until it runs clear.
  • Wear gloves for sensitive skin.

You probably have a 'hand wash only' garment in your closet but do you really know the steps for washing clothes by hand? As well as choosing a mild detergent that won’t harm the fabric you also need to know how to make sure it’s fully cleaned and rinsed correctly. Read on to discover how to hand wash clothesand how to take extra care of delicate fabrics like silk or heavily decorated abayas.

Once you’ve sorted your washing into like-for-like colours, make sure you use a good quality detergent such as Omo powder to get the best results.

Hand wash vs delicate cycle: can I use a washing machine?

Even if your washing machine has a delicate cycle, for most hand wash clothing we don’t recommend using the washing machine. If the care label includes the word ‘only’, for example, ‘hand wash only’ or ‘dry clean only’ this should be adhered to. If it simply says, ‘hand wash’ then it’s down to personal preference. You can use the delicate cycle on your washing machine or choose to follow the advice below to hand wash those items of clothing. Read our article on laundry symbols for more help with this.

How to hand wash: tips for getting the best results

There are a few tips to be aware of before you start to hand wash your clothes:

  • Organise each piece of clothing that needshand washing into colours. Always wash whites and light and dark colours separately. Read our other tips on managing laundry for more guidance.
  • Ensure you double-check whether they require a hot or cold hand washon the care label. 
  • Sometimes,hand wash laundry detergentinstructions can vary, so always check the labelfor dosage and other details.
  •  Take care to ensure your detergent has completely dissolved in the water. A liquid detergent is best as it will dissolve more quickly.

Safety Warning

If you have sensitive or damaged skin, always wear rubber gloves when hand washing clothes.

How to hand wash clothes in a sinkor tub: 8 easy steps

Whether you decide to hand wash clothes in the tub, or the sink, the steps are the same. Using the tub is great for larger items, while small delicates are easier to wash in the sink.

1.    Mix water (at the temperature advised on the care label) with a good quality detergent such as Omo Active Liquid. For fabrics like wool, silk and rayon we recommend using a pH-neutral, non-enzymatic detergent.

2.    Add your clothes to the water.

3.    If they’re stained it’s best to leave them to soak.

4.    Wash the clothes by gently squeezing them in the water and detergent mix.

5.    Rinse under running water up to 3 times, until the water runs clear. 

6.    Always wash your hands thoroughly after having them in the detergent mix. 

7.    If you suffer with sensitive or damaged skin always wear rubber gloves.

8.    Unless the care label says otherwise, always air-dry your hand wash only clothes, never use a tumble dryer.

Whatever your clothing says on the care label, you now have some super easy steps to show you how to hand wash with easin.

Originally published