How to hand wash your delicate clothes instead of drycleaning them
Avoid the chemicals and the cost of drycleaning by learning how to hand wash your clothes safely.
We all want to look after our clothes and we often dryclean fragile fabrics. Yet the process of drycleaning is a highly toxic one using the chemical perchloroethylene, which can cause damage to the liver, kidneys and even to the reproductive system of a person with prolonged exposure to it.
But many of us believe that if a label says “dryclean only”, then that is what we have to do. In Nana’s day there were no drycleaners to take their silks and linens to, so they hand-washed – which is still a very safe way to treat fabrics.
To hand-wash successfully, wash only one item at a time. Use a small basin, such as your bathroom basin or a bucket. Fill with lukewarm to cold water – hot water can ruin delicate fabrics.
Use a mild soap and gently squeeze and knead your garment, focusing on spots that are dirty or stained. Do not leave to soak.
After about five minutes of this, gently squeeze the soapy water out of the garment and rinse it in clean, lukewarm water.
Do not wring dry. Simply gently squeeze the water out of the garment and then lay it on a clean towel. Roll up the towel with the garment in it and then squeeze the towel. I do this by laying it on the floor and standing on it, moving my way up the roll.
Dry your garment out of direct sunlight and lay it out rather than hang it up, to prevent it from stretching.
When thoroughly dry, iron using the heat recommended on the label.