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Clothing Items That Have to be Hand Washed

Most of us understand that our delicate clothing should be hand washed but we often don’t really know which ones exactly or how to get the perfect hand wash process done.


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Clothing Items That Have to be Hand Washed

Clothing Items That Have to be Hand Washed

Most of us understand that our delicate clothing should be hand washed but we often don’t really know which one’s exactly or how to get the perfect hand wash process done. The other side of the coin is that many people think hand washing is a laborious process that is going to take a long time, and who has time to stand around and hand wash clothing all day long.

When it comes to delicate clothing, as well as certain other fabric types, hand washing is the way to go. In this guide, we’ll show you how to properly hand wash clothes so that you'll never have to worry about ruining your delicate clothing again and it won’t take forever to do either.

Why Do Some Clothes Need to be Hand Washed?

Certain fabrics and clothing designs cannot withstand the movement and strong aggravation that goes along with being washed in a machine. Hand washing is a gentler process that can be done specifically for the exact garment you’re washing; it can be tailor-made if you will.

Which Type of Clothes Need to be Hand Washed?

There are many different types of fabrics and clothing that benefit from being hand washed rather than machine washed. The most common hand wash only clothes are:

Bras and Underwear

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Most bras and underwear are made with silky fabrics, which do not do well in the washing machine. Even cotton underwear is much more delicate than cotton shirts or pants for example. Bras often contain underwire too, which can be bent out of shape in an automatic machine.

Clothes with Unique Fabric

Certain fabrics prefer to be hand washed than washed in the machine. Fabrics like silk, wool, pure cotton, and other unique fabrics will often lose their shape and colour when washed in a machine. These fabrics require a much gentler wash where the temperature can be regulated perfectly and they are not put under too much movement or aggravation.

Clothes with Special Designs and Sequencing

Clothing with a lot of detail like textured designs and sequins are better off being hand washed. When they are washed in the machine, they are put under too much movement which can then lead to the designs tearing, breaking, bending, or in the worst case, being completely ripped off.

How to Hand Wash Delicate Clothing Items?

Now that you know what clothing items to hand wash, it’s time to learn about the best way to do it.

For delicate garments and smaller clothes

If you want to know how to hand wash delicate clothes like bras, underwear, or smaller items, follow these easy steps:

  • The best is to use the bathroom basin for this task.

  • Fill the basin with cold water and add the correct amount of Surf laundry detergent. Always check the care label on the clothing to get an idea of what the right dosage of detergent to use is. We usually recommend around ¼ cup – ½ cup of hand washing powder in a basin full of water.

  • Move the water and detergent around gently to make sure the detergent or powder is well dissolved.

  • Put your bras, underwear, or small article of clothing into the water and allow it to soak for about 15 minutes. Take care to ensure that all the fabric is fully submerged under the water.

  • Gently rub the delicate garment in between both your hands, using a rolling motion between your knuckles.

  • Rinse the garment well under cold, running water.

  • Allow it to dry flat on a towel outside in natural sunlight.

For larger items like jeans, pants, jerseys, and shirts

These items require a little extra space and elbow grease to get cleaned. Here’s how:

  • Fill your bathtub with tepid or cold water.

  • Add the correct amount of Surf washing powder or detergent as per the care label of the garment you’re washing. In general, we recommend about ½ cup – 1 cup of washing powder in a bath full of water.

  • Place the garment into the bathtub and make sure it is completely submerged under the water. You may have to get creative and use a weight to keep the fabric down – a jar of pickles or coffee usually works quite well for this. Leave to soak for 15 – 30 minutes.

  • Wash the garment well with your hands, and don’t be afraid to use a bit of strength when washing. You may want to use a hand washing board for harder materials like jeans and cotton.

  • Rinse the garment very well under cold, running water.

  • For jeans and cottons, hang the garment on the clothing line and allow it to dry in the natural sunlight. For wool and silks, we recommend laying out flat on a table (on top of a clean, dry towel) to dry.

Can You Put Hand Wash Clothes in a Washing Machine?

If you want to run the risk of your clothing stretching, shrinking, tearing, or losing its colour, then throw your delicate clothing and garments in the washing machine! It is ideal to follow the ‘hand washing only’ guideline on its care label. When it comes to clothing and fabrics, we say rather be safe than sorry.

What is the Best Detergent for Hand Washing Clothes?

Hand washing is a delicate process that requires the use of a quality hand washing powder that can penetrate fabrics easily to lift and remove dirt. At Cleanipedia, we love the Surf washing powder that is formulated with whitening technology. Not only do they make white clothing whiter, but they also make colours and darks appear brighter too. Surf cleans and brightens your hand washed garments, and you’ll be able to see the difference in them in just a few hand washes.

For more detail on why handwashing is so much better for your delicate fabrics and items, read our blog on Is Handwashing Better For Your Clothes now.

For more laundry tips and tricks, visit Cleanipedia now.

FAQs on Clothing Items That Have to be Hand Washed

Why do you have to hand wash some clothes?

Some fabrics do not like the pressure and movement of a washing machine and can stretch, shrink, and lose their shape if they are not hand washed.

Can I ignore the hand wash-only label?

We would highly recommend that you don’t! Always follow the care label of every item of clothing.

What happens if your machine washes a hand-wash-only item?

You run the risk of your items stretching, shrinking, tearing, or discolouring.

Is it cheaper to wash by hand?

Hand washing and automatic machine washing is equal in terms of cost, it is just that hand washing may require slightly more of your time.

Can you put hand wash only clothes in the dryer?

If the care label on your clothing items says it can be tumble dried, then yes.

Originally published