How to Hand Wash Delicate Clothing

Despite huge advancements in technology, there are still some items of clothing that need to be washed by hand. Technology has improved water efficiency and environmental concerns have changed the types of cleaning products being used. But, you can’t change the material that an item of clothing is made from.

In some cases, hand washing is the only option, in which case you’ll want to get it right.

Sort Your Clothes

Whether you’re using a machine or washing by hand, you need to sort clothes into light or dark. This ensures colours don’t run and ruin your clothing. White, cream and pastel colours can be kept together; anything else needs to be separated to create your coloured pile.

Set the Water Temp

Hot water can be bad for certain clothes and especially is an issue if you’re hand washing. If you’ve decided to hand wash your clothes, it's usually because they are delicate. Hot water could potentially shrink them, fade them, and even cause them to lose their shape.

Your best bet is to use lukewarm water, bordering on cool.

Get The Right Detergent

Use a specially formulated laundry detergent that is designed to wash delicate items like silk, synthetics, lace, and more. Using the right detergent means that the stains will be removed without damaging the garment.

Don’t forget the amount of detergent you use depends on the size and volume of clothes being washed.

Soak First

The first step is simply to add your warm water to the sink or bowl, put in some detergent, and then add the clothes into the mix. Leave the clothes to soak for 10-15 minutes.

Washing Time

You can swirl your clothes around the bowl, in a similar way to how the washing machine does it (except that you’ll be gentler). Do this for several minutes to ensure the dirt is aggravated by the detergent.


Empty the bowl of water and refill with clean warm water. You can then swirl your clothing again for several minutes to rinse them.

It’s always a good idea to repeat this step 1 or 2 times, ensuring the water is clear after you’ve rinsed the clothing.  This means all the detergent and dirt are gone.


The first step in the drying process is to fold each item of clothing and press it against the side of your bathtub. This will remove excess water without creasing or miss-shaping your garment.

Keep folding and squeezing to remove excess water. This folding and squeezing process will prevent you from pulling and misshaping your item.

Once you are happy most of the water is out simply unfold them and return them to their original size and shape. This is important as you want your clothes to dry in the right shape. Ideally, you should lay each item out flat in the proper proportions. You may need a little space to accomplish this.

The best idea is to put a towel under your garment and then lay it flat on top of them, this will help to protect your garment and remove the water. You’ll need to flip the garment when the top side is dry, in order to dry the other side.

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