It’s the cashmere sweater your sister gave you for your birthday. And the silk blouse that’s your perfect go-to for the office. Some clothing is not only special to you but also requires special washing to keep it in great shape.

The best way to hand-wash clothes is simpler than you may think and doesn’t require anything out of the ordinary. Protect your favorite items from fading and damage with these simple hand-washing tips.  

Step 1: Identify What Types of Clothing Can’t be Tossed into the Washing Machine

Hand-washing laundry starts with reading the cleaning instructions on the garment labels. Here are some of the most common items that need extra care:

  • Bras and lingerie
  • Wool or cashmere sweaters
  • Silk blouses
  • Other delicates

Step 2: Sort and Match for the Best Hand-Washing Results

Sort your laundry by fabric type first. Only wash silk with silk or wool with wool, etc. Then sort by color and separate lights from darks to avoid any color transfers. Do you have an item that’s especially dirty? Plan to wash it separately.

Turn the garments inside out and you’re ready to start hand-washing laundry.

Step 3: Add Water and Detergent

  • It’s often best to use room temperature or cool water. However, use cold water to hand-wash sweaters (wool and cashmere) and silk items. Check clothing labels for specific instructions.
  • You can easily use your sink, a basin or even your bathtub.
  • The best way to hand-wash clothes includes using the right amount of detergent. These small loads only need about a teaspoon to get the job done.

Step 4: Gently Agitate and Soak

Dive right into hand-washing laundry by submerging the clothing into the water. Use your hands to gently agitate the clothing, but don’t scrub or twist it to avoid damaging the fabric. Instead, use a gentle swishing motion. Clothes can soak for up to 30 minutes.

Step 5: Time to Rinse

Ready for an unexpected hand-washing tip? Grab your colander from the kitchen. Place the clothing inside one piece at a time and use cool water from the sprayer on your faucet to rinse with ease. The water will spray through the clothing and out the colander for an effective rinse.

No colander? No problem. Fill your sink or basin with cool, clean water. Swish the clothes around to rinse out the detergent. Repeat with a second round of fresh water if needed.

Step 6: Press out Excess Water

Press water out of items such as hand-washed sweaters by pushing them against the surface of your sink or basin. Another option is to place your items on top of a towel, roll it all up and then press down to remove excess water. Avoid twisting or wringing out clothing which can damage delicate fabrics.

Step 7: Nice and Dry

Now that you’ve completed the steps for washing, here’s how to dry hand-washed clothes. Lay your clothing flat to dry or place it on a drying rack. Air drying is the best option for hand-washed items. Avoid damaging delicate fabrics with the high temperatures of dryers.

Your Clothes Will Thank You

When you follow the steps for the best way to hand-wash clothes, your clothes will thank you with colors that don’t fade and fabrics that don’t shrink ahead of their time. So, feel free to wear your favorite clothing as often as you’d like—whether you are going out for a special evening or staying home for the night.