10 Old-fashioned Laundry Care Tips

Some might consider glamorous day dresses and the onerous act of hand-washing as old-fashioned. Not me, I love wearing beautiful clothes as much as I love doing laundry, especially hand-washing. Automatically throwing my good clothes into the washing machine, even on the delicate cycle, is something I rarely do. Leaving them to the mercy of the cold stainless steel bowl and machine-wash cycle seems a little too harsh. I would much rather my warm, human hands wash my treasured clothes before they are briefly subjected to a mechanistic gentle spin cycle. I cannot pinpoint where, when, or why this hand-washing habit or love affair started. Perhaps it was a match made eons ago in laundry heaven between the hand-washing god and my Virgo trait called meticulous. It just seems in my nature to provide my clothes with such dedicated, tender loving garment care. Also on a practical level (another Virgo trait), clothes last longer if hand-washed and extending the life of my favourite wardrobe items is more important than potentially ruining them in a machine-wash cycle. Hand-washing can be therapeutic too, calming the mind by focusing on a single, methodical task.

Now, at this stage you might be wondering ‘does she hand-wash ALL her clothes?’ If so, the answer is no. There are exceptions like my underwear, sportswear, my around-the-house clothes, and obviously any dry-clean only items. I also reduce the amount of times I wash certain items (like jeans) or dry-clean others (like wool skirts, silk dresses, coats and blazers). Unless you are outside in 40 degree celsius heat and sweating like you have spent an hour in a Swedish sauna, clothes remain relatively clean with every wear. There is nothing wrong with using another good old-fashioned technique of hanging your clothes outside in the fresh air, or on an airing rack, for a couple of hours before popping them back in your closet. Only in recent decades have we have taken up this obsessive ‘wear x 1 = wash’ equation. Anyway I digress. As I said, I love hand-washing as much as I love dressing up. Both require dedication, time and effort. Both seem inherent in my fashion DNA. If you dread the prospect of hand-washing, just think of it as an act of kindness by giving your clothes a special treatment at an old-world laundry spa. And who knows, if you wear something fabulous at the same time, you might somehow find it therapeutic too?!?

My 10 Hand Washing Laundry Care Tips:

  1. Invest in good quality laundry detergent.
  2. Use non-bio detergent or wear gloves when hand washing if you have sensitive skin.
  3. Buy a separate, hand washing only bucket (unless you want to wash you clothes in the dirty floor bucket!).
  4. Develop your own laundry rules. You can hand wash garments labeled ‘machine wash’ or ‘machine washable’!
  5. Dry garments away from direct sunlight.
  6. Use the gentle spin cycle for delicate garments.
  7. Always hand wash your favourite items. Especially the garments you want hanging around in your closet season after season.
  8. Ignore rule number 3 and 6 for anything with the dry clean only label. Depending on the fabric, hand wash ‘dry clean only’ garments at your own peril.
  9. Adopt a positive mindset around hand washing.
  10. Treat your clothes with tender loving care. They are after all, part of your identity and every day life.

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