Saturday, February 11, 2012

How to Hand Wash

How grateful we are for the luxury of modern appliances. We rely on them for just about everything. Our plates come out of the dishwasher sparkling, leftovers can be reheated in the microwave with just a few presses of a button, and most of all our clothes come out smelling fresh and clean after simply loading the soap into the machine. But what about those few times when modern appliances simply won’t do the trick, when you read those seemingly troublesome words “hand wash only?”
Now this one simple phrase may have you thinking of the dark ages when women brought baskets full of soiled clothes to the stream or perhaps you might remember that washing board you saw in the antique mall, but hand washing does not need to be an ordeal. With a few simple tricks you can keep the process not only simple but green. First you should make sure your sink is clean, or designate a separate tub for hand-washing. The last thing you want is for your clothes to come out smelling like the remainder of the carrots you peeled into the disposal. Also you will want to stick with a cold or lukewarm temperature, never hot. Don’t mix your colors. Just like in a washing machine, the colors can bleed, so if you happen to have washed that one red shirt first, you’ll want to consider draining the sink and getting a new batch of water.

Next you want to ad the soap to the water before you put in the clothing. This way the soap gets distributed equally through the garment. When hand-washing, I use soap flakes. There are no enzymes, bleaches, or perfumes and it is created from palm and coconut oil, making it all around natural and gentle, perfect not only for sensitive skin but for those delicate garments that can’t be trusted in a washing machine. If you want to go with something closer to a laundry detergent, there are some options that I have in my book The Joy of Green Cleaning.
If your clothes are particularly dirty, you may want to leave them soaking overnight. You can treat any stains by going old-school and rubbing soap into the stain with a small brush, even on both sides if the fabric has the strength to take it. This combined with the soaking should eliminate most problems you may have.
So to finish the process you want to dry the clothes in the gentlest manner possible. Since wringing will only disfigure the garment beyond all recognition, and hanging will stretch out the fabric, the best thing to do is to lay it flat on either a white towel or netted drying rack. For those sweaters that hold on to a lot of water, you can first role up the sweater in a towel, get rid of the extra water, and then lay it flat. In the end you’ll have the joy of wearing that special garment once again without worrying about the fit.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:23 AM

    We use a hand cleaning process for carpet cleaning Vancouver wa as well. Whenever their are spots to be cleaned we hand scrub the area and use specific cleaning agents that are designed for hand cleaning.