There is nothing worse than buying a new shirt or dress only to get it home and read the label that says “Hand Wash Only”. In the past when I read that I basically took it to mean “Wear until it gets dirty and never again”. Handwash only items always had a short shelf life in my home. It is a pity because they are often the nicest clothing items that you would love to keep for a long time. However, that was the past. Now I have embraced hand washing and realized that it is not that difficult, is easy on your clothes and easy on your time. Follow my tips on handwashing and you will never fear that dreaded label again.
The first step is to read the label in full and in detail. Ideally, do this in the shop so that you know what you are getting into but if you have already bought the item then do not worry. There is no label that we should be afraid of. Once you see the item is hand wash only take good care of it. A handwash only item is very sensitive and so it should not be washed that often. This is an item that you should try and keep clean. Just because I am going to show you how easy handwashing is, does not mean that you should be handwashing your favorite dress three times a week or wearing it in a muddy field playing football. The label is basically telling you that this is an item you need to be careful with. Still wear it with comfort and be relaxed but choose your moments carefully.
Once it has been worn a few times and needs to be washed set up a clean basin of water. The water can be lukewarm but should definitely not be hot. Place a few drops of detergent in the water. Make sure it is not a strong or chemical detergent, something mild is best. Next, swirl your dress in the basin until it mixes with the detergent. If swirling feels strange you can also knead the dress like bread. I always feel like swirling has less risk of wrinkles but kneading gets it covered in the soapy water more. Maybe make your choice based on how dirty your item is.
If the item is silk then adding a few drops of hair conditioner to your final rinse will give it an extra silky feel and is a great tip I learned a long time ago. Now it is time to rinse the dress thoroughly with water until the soap is gone and squeeze gently. I can’t emphasize the word ‘gently’ enough here as if you are too strong you might as well have thrown it in the washing machine. Giving it a light squeeze will help to get rid of the excess water without damaging the item.
Once done you can simply lay the item out flat to dry. Don’t hand it with close pegs or anything like that as they will do more damage. Now sit back and wait until your dress is dry and marvel at how easy this task that once seemed so daunting was.
The secret to looking after your clothes is to always read the label. After I buy clothes and it no longer feels new I have the habit of throwing it in a washbasin with everything else. However, no matter how old your clothes are they still need care and attention. If you look after our clothes in the right way they can stay with you for many years. Wash smart, read the label.