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:
- Invest in good quality laundry detergent.
- Use non-bio detergent or wear gloves when hand washing if you have sensitive skin.
- Buy a separate, hand washing only bucket (unless you want to wash you clothes in the dirty floor bucket!).
- Develop your own laundry rules. You can hand wash garments labeled ‘machine wash’ or ‘machine washable.’
- Dry garments away from direct sunlight.
- Use the gentle spin cycle for delicate garments.
- Always hand wash your favourite items. Especially the garments you want hanging around in your closet season after season.
- 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.
- Adopt a positive mindset around hand washing.
- Treat your clothes with tender loving care. They are after all, part of your identity and every day life.
Hanae Mori vintage dress | Veronika Maine belt | Prada sunglasses