Thursday, August 16, 2007

how to hand wash clothes

It has taken me 23 and 1/2 years to be motivated to educate myself on how to hand wash clothing. The catalyst that sent me to the Internet to research hand washing and sent me even faster to the store to buy a drying rack and Woolite?

Well, there's this sweater I wore once last winter...and what would you know, it's been in the bottom of my laundry hamper since. Now, said sweater has been washed in the washer before, but it was starting to pill so I told myself next time I'd pony up for dry cleaning. Through what was left of last winter, through spring, and now almost all of summer, it remains banished to the bottom of the barrel. It even made it in the hamper through a move from one side of Seattle to the other.

Needless to say, the dry cleaning prices in Seattle abhor me, so it made easy to ignore for a while. But this sweater is looking sad. And lonely. And I couldn't go another day thinking that one of these days it's going to be winter again, and I will realize that it's been a YEAR since I needed to wash it.

Do you think I'm disgusting yet? Good. Me too.

On to the washing. Not surprising, there are tons of resources on hand washing clothing. I read through several and even watched a cheesy video, though when it comes to anything about cleaning I tend to trust good ol' Martha Stewart. I particularly love the mag Real Simple, though I'm not sure why, because every time I read it I find that there is some square inch of my apartment that I've been negligent in tending (read: more work for me). Regardless, here is the round-up of hand washing tips from Real Simple online:
If you don't want to click through, here's what I found particularly useful from these links, others, and actually doing it:

-Most things can be hand washed. Even things that say "Dry Clean," with the distinction from "Dry Clean Only," which means just what it says. (Note: I washed a sweater that said dry clean only, and it is fine! You can use your judgment based on the make of the garment.)

-How the garment dries is important in keeping its shape. Some things need to hang, some need to dry flat, and still others need care to be reshaped.

-Don't soak the clothing for more than 2-5 minutes. Letting it soak can weaken embellishments and besides, 98% of the dirt comes out in the first 2 minutes anyhow.

-Don't use water that's too hot. Most things should be washed in luke warm, but some of my tags said cold only.

-Roll sweaters in a towel to squeeze out all of the water. They will be really heavy after washing and difficult to reshape without this step.

Final verdict? Worth doing.

As for my hamper-ridden sweater? It's actually still in there!! I didn't get to washing that one. Soon though, my friends. Very soon!!


Kelly said...

so you inspired me to finally buy a drying rack....thank you for the excuse to leave work today! i went with the michael graves design.

Maneesh Kalra said...
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