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When and how to hand wash your clothes

Machine washing is a harsh and damaging clothing care process. The vigorous movements can harm textile fibers and unravel seams and hems. Steamery's CEO Frej Lewenhaupt outlines when and how to hand wash your clothes in order to make them last longer.


Our Co-founder, CEO, and self-proclaimed textile nerd Frej Lewenhaupt has been interviewed by ELLE Magazine UK on how you should hand wash your clothes in order to make them last longer. We’ve gathered some of the tricks and answers that he shared with the fashion magazine down below, you can also read the full ELLE article with everything from stain treating to steaming here.


Why is it good to handwash clothes?


"Machine washing is a harsh clothing care process. It's not just the soaking of clothes in water that has an impact on their appearance, but the movements – such as twisting and shaking – that manipulate fibers, seams, and trimming, which may result in damage. Another big advantage with hand washing is that you also have total control of the items being washed, and can adjust your method. For example, when removing stains you can focus on only these spots, so the rest of the garment doesn't need to be washed at all."

All items you personally define as delicate items (clothes that are dear to you) will last longer if hand washed


What fabrics should I hand wash?


"All items you personally define as delicate items (clothes that are dear to you) will last longer if hand washed. However, the most general way to define if clothes should be hand washed will be found on the care label. Normally high fashion items, delicate silk, wool, cashmere, and merino wool (especially fine knits) meet the qualification for hand washing."


Can I hand wash 'dry clean only' clothes?


"Many garments that have a 'dry clean only' symbol can actually be hand washed. Usually, this is about either the fashion brand, the fabric mill, or the suppliers to the fabric mill, being extra careful. The sign is there to ensure they take no responsibility if you harm the garment in a wash. But, in many cases, it’s perfectly fine to hand wash. Be very careful if you decide to hand wash 'dry clean only' items, as some of these fabrics might be harmed by water. To avoid this, before hand washing any 'dry clean only' items, look up how the item's textiles and trimmings will react to water, if you cannot find anything extra sensitive, it should be ok to hand wash gently."



The best products to use when hand washing clothes

Delicate Laundry Detergent

Odor Control Laundry Detergent


Step-by-step guide to hand washing clothes


1. Wash


  • Pre-treat any stains and/or pre-soak your clothes if needed
  • Fill up your wash basin with lukewarm water
  • Soak your garment and gently work the water and detergent through the textile fibers with your hands
  • Let it rest for 15 minutes and repeat the gently pressing for the water and detergent to penetrate the fabric
  • Pour the water and detergent out and rinse the clothes with cold water
  • Repeat this process again
  • Finish by rinsing with water until there is no detergent residue left


2. Dry


  • Gently squeeze to release excess water without twisting the garment
  • Tightly roll your clean laundry in a terry cloth towel to release water
  • Gently straighten out the fabric, focusing on seams, collars and cuffs
  • Flat dry knits by laying them out on a surface
  • Hang dry woven fabrics and jersey fabrics


3. Steam


If you can, steam your item once dry, rather than ironing, as it is much gentler on your clothes, plus it can be used on most textiles and it will give your garments that 'new' appearance.

Source: ELLE UK

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