Doing Laundry by Hand

It Can be Done!

First of all, dismiss all ideas of washing laundry in the bath. It’s not worth it. It might seem like a good idea but really, it isn’t. You need to be standing up at a sink, not bent over a bath – even if your kids like the thought of stomping all over the washing. Everything that needs to be washed can be done so at the kitchen or utility sink.

Get yourself a supply of rubber latex gloves. Not the very thin kind, but good thick ones. You can’t hand wash laundry without them as your hands have to withstand being immersed in very hot water.

You can use your usual detergent and softener (if you really need to use softener – I don’t).

You will also need a large stainless steel pan (I used my large pasta pot), a stove top, a kettle and an outside drying space.

Washing clothes by hand
Washing clothes by hand

Sort Laundry

Start Small and Easy

Select 10 items to wash. Stick to similar things like tops and T-shirts. You can do jeans tomorrow! Run hot water into your sink – it should be no hotter than the labels state. To be honest, I always wash in the hottest water my hands can withstand inside my rubber gloves. Add a small amount of detergent. I can’t tell you exactly how much but use the smallest amount that works. You want some bubbles but not too much. You get a feel for it after a while. I use concentrated wash tablets and found that less than a quarter tablet was enough for one sink full of water.

Check the items for stains – you may have to deal with these first as you would normally. For example, soak blood and grass stains in cold water prior to washing or the stain will set fast in hot water.

Immerse no more than two or three items at one time. Squish and knead them in the water for a few minutes. Squeeze gently and place on drainer. Add next batch. Squish and knead as before. When they are on the drainer wash the last batch. Let the grubby, scummy water out.

Fill the sink with clean, hot water. Rinse the items in turn, squeezing and placing on the drainer. When they are all done, repeat once more. Most clothes will be fully rinsed by now but occasionally, you might have to rinse a third time.

Another approach can be to make use of eco washing lines clothes airer resource to find great ways to do washing the eco-friendly way.
written by myraggededge


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