How to Hand-Wash Your Clothes

How to Handwash Your Clothes


Drain the detergent solution and wipe the sink free of any suds, then refill the sink with clean cool or lukewarm water to begin rinsing. Using your hands, agitate the clothes to release detergent, draining the water and repeating until they are fully rinsed. Sturdier fibers like polyester and cotton can be rinsed directly under running water, though you should avoid rinsing delicate items like hosiery or fine scarves directly under a running tap.


After the final rinse, drain the sink, move the clothing to one side and, one by one, press down on each garment to extrude the water held in its fibers. Do not wring the fibers, which can cause stretching or other damage. The first press, so to speak (it’s like making wine!), is just with hands, in the sink, to push out as much water as possible without wringing.

If you have a clean, dry towel to spare, lay the clothing flat on the towel and roll the towel and piece of clothing up together, jelly roll style. The combination of pressing out the water and rolling the item in a dry towel will leave it only damp, rather than dripping wet, which will speed up drying time. If you don’t have a clean towel to spare, but you do have a salad spinner, it can be used to extrude water from smaller items like socks, underwear or T-shirts.

Allow the clothing to air dry by laying it flat, using a drying rack or line drying it if that is an option.

As far as outdoor drying goes, the same rules apply as for exposure to people, said Vineet Menachery, a virologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch. If the clothes are more than 6 feet away from an infected person’s sneezing or coughing droplets, they are safe to line dry.

“It is unlikely coronavirus is floating through the air outside,” said Dr. Menachery. “Now if your neighbor is sick and coughs out the window less than 6 feet away from you hanging clothes, then they might be contaminated.”

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