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  1. #1

    Default Washing Clothes by Hand?

    I know, why would I want to go back to the "horse and buggy" days...

    First of all, I HAVE a washer and dryer...But my problem is that I lose the beautiful color of my shirts, and I get shrinkage, even after washing in cold with a mild detergent on the "delicate fabrics" cycle AND hang drying. Shirts that I loved to wear, I almost kind of feel like not wearing anymore. I find that even on the gentle cycle, I can still hear the washing machine, and it seems like it's treating my clothes somewhat violently. I figure that for some of my clothes, the only thing I can do is hand wash or dry clean them, the latter being too expensive for regular use. At the same time, when I hang dry, I sometimes get that "stiff" feeling to my clothing. I'm wondering if someone has any experience with this.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Washing Clothes by Hand?

    I do it all the time. Just like you, I am not happy using the washer to ruin my expensive clothes. I prefer to handwash them for the same reasons as yours. I could choose to dry clean too but then you don't want to pay $5 to dry clean your Ralph Lauren polo each time you wear it.

    Taking this a step ahead, I also am particularly careful ironing these 'designer' clothes. I almost always iron them inside out to avoid the 'shine' that a steam iron can leave on the clothing. I hate those little shine marks.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Washing Clothes by Hand?

    Another way to avoid the shine is to use an ironing cloth. This is a piece of white muslin (which is a lightweight woven fabric). Place it over the part of the garment you are ironing, then iron over it. Result: no shine.

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    Default Re: Washing Clothes by Hand?

    gupts- I also hate the shine marks.
    I do draw the line at hand washing -off to the cleaners the clothes go . However, I find dry cleaning ruins silks after a while.
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Washing Clothes by Hand?

    Quote Originally Posted by leor_77 View Post
    I know, why would I want to go back to the "horse and buggy" days...

    First of all, I HAVE a washer and dryer...But my problem is that I lose the beautiful color of my shirts, and I get shrinkage, even after washing in cold with a mild detergent on the "delicate fabrics" cycle AND hang drying. Shirts that I loved to wear, I almost kind of feel like not wearing anymore. I find that even on the gentle cycle, I can still hear the washing machine, and it seems like it's treating my clothes somewhat violently. I figure that for some of my clothes, the only thing I can do is hand wash or dry clean them, the latter being too expensive for regular use. At the same time, when I hang dry, I sometimes get that "stiff" feeling to my clothing. I'm wondering if someone has any experience with this.
    When you wash clothes for the first time add 1/4 cup of vinegar (white is best but apple vinegar will do) in the wash machine and run the washer. The vinegar locks the color into the fabric.

    Use cold water only with a detergent specifically designed to work in cold water, fill washer first then add detergent and start agitation cycle without clothes for a few seconds to thoroughly mix water with detergent. Then add clothes loosely into mesh washer bag(s) to contain clothes and keep them from the agitator (or drum fins on a tumble washer) and run through the gentle cycle.

    Dry using the Permanent Press dryer cycle with a couple of already dry towels included to soften the dryer fin contact with clothes. That almost always prevent gross shrinkage of clothes for me.
    Last edited by kbe; 11th October 2010 at 06:12 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Washing Clothes by Hand?

    Fantastic tips there, kbe! Thanks a million! As it is I have lost some pretty good threads to aggressive machines...

  7. #7

    Default Re: Washing Clothes by Hand?

    I laundry most modern, washable clothes I'm careful of - woollens, silks, rayons, underwear and heavily constructed garments - on a wool handwash cycle, very gentle on the fabrics. Liquid detergent for dyed fabrics (=free of bleach) cleans without stripping a lot of colour, and I hang dry everything, dryers are way too harsh on the garments.

    The best tip for keeping clothes looking their best for as long as possible, though, is to wash them less. Nothing ages and wears out clothes more than washing, so if at all possible, air them out and wear them twice between washes instead of just once, or more, if we're talking trousers, skirts, dresses, jackets, sweaters etc. Back in the horse-and-buggy days, people would wear, change and wash only their undergarments often, outer garments were aired between uses and stains removed, but washed rather infrequently, and that really isn't a bad idea at all, if adapted to modern times a little. Air your clothes more, wash them less, wear undergarments that protect expensive outer garments! It saves energy and water, too.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Washing Clothes by Hand?

    We bought Bosch front loading machines when we moved here, and I've been happy with the features on those. I'm lazy, I use the hand wash & gentle cycles all the time with no problem. When we had our old top loader I did hand wash items in the bathtub or sink with Woolite, because that machine really did put wear & tear on the clothes. Ironing with a cloth is advisable, good tip! I rarely use the dry cleaner anymore - just for coats or suits (which we don't often wear). The dry cleaner fade the colors on cashmere sweaters, and other clothes get that icky sheen to them. Not to mention all the chemicals. I mostly wear cottons now anyway that I gentle wash in my machine and dry on low heat setting in the dryer. I also wash cashmere sweaters on the hand wash cycle and dry them flat. They don't come out with that impeccably drycleaned look, but they're soft & fluffy and the colors stay true. I went to a household textile conservation seminar near here, and that was very interesting. Something extremely delicate and/or old has to be very carefully cleaned - not in a washing machine or dry cleaner.

  9. #9

    Thumbs up Re: Washing Clothes by Hand?

    All my very expensive shirts, pulls, etc, are washed by hand with a neutral soap.Even dry cleaning ruins them
    Have I told you about the scent of jasmine? Have I spoken about the smell of the sea? The earth is scented. And I perfume myself to enhance what I am. That's why I can not wear a perfume that bothers me. Perfuming is an instinctive wisdom. And like all art, it requires some knowledge of yourself..."
    Clarice Lispector ( 1920-1977) - Perfumes da Terra / Earth
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Washing Clothes by Hand?

    I'm with Pimpinett, at least when it comes to wool.

    Did you all know that wool is self-cleaning? OK, not entirely... But the creatine in wool breaks down bacterias, like sweat, so it actually is enough to air out wool. It really only needs cleaning if it becomes stained or soiled.

    Other stuff go into the washer on a regular warm cycle and are hung to dry, with the exception of cotton t-shirts/underwear which goes in the dryer.

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