Scenic Erie Station Village

Tips for Handwashing Clothes

Woman handwashing clothing in a sink

February 2023


One great thing about life at Erie Station Village is that each of our apartments and townhomes comes with a washer and dryer. But there are times when it’s worth it to do some hand washing. The first is when you need something to be clean but don’t have enough laundry to justify running a full load. That’s a great way to save energy. The second, is delicate items that should never be machine washed. That includes lingerie or anything lacy, cashmere, knit and wool sweaters, wool socks, and anything made of silk. It’s also smart to handwash items with decorative embellishments like beading or crocheting.

But before you fill up that sink, it’s important to read the label on any garment. If it says “dry clean only,” don’t chance it. We actually have two local dry cleaners that participate in our VIP Program that give discounts to Erie Station Village residents.

If you’re handwashing an item that you would normally place in your washing machine, it’s fine to use your normal laundry soap. For items like wool, cashmere, and silk, use a detergent designed for delicates like Woolite, or one made for baby clothes like Dreft.

Depending on how many garments you need to handwash, you can use a large bowl, your bathroom sink, kitchen sink, or plastic bucket or tote. Just make sure whatever you use provides enough room to rotate and turn over your clothes without spilling water. You should also make sure whatever you use has been thoroughly cleaned and rinsed.

Begin by filling the sink or container with cool to lukewarm water. Then add the detergent and thoroughly mix it in. The amount of detergent you use should be based on the manufacturer’s instructions, but it will be better for your clothes if you use slightly less than the recommended amount.

Next, add your garments by gently submerging them in the soapy water and massaging them a bit. Now let everything sit for 15 to 30 minutes. This will give the detergent time to loosen any dirt, so you can be more gentle in the next step.

After soaking, thoroughly massage the garments, turning them over and addressing all areas. If something shows visible dirt, like the feet of tights, you can pay more attention to those spots. Just be careful not to pull or stretch the fabrics.

Next, fully draining the water and give your garments a gentle squeeze. Then fill the sink or container with cool or lukewarm rinse water, massage your clothes and repeat the drain and rinse once more. When no soap suds show up in your rinse water, you know you’re ready to move on.

Finish up by gently squeezing the water from your clothes. Avoid wringing delicates or they could stretch or lose their shape. Lay them on top of a bath towel on a flat surface. Roll up the towel like you would a yoga mat and press the roll so the towel absorbs water. You can repeat this process for any garments that hold a lot of water. Then air dry your garments by placing them on a drying rack, preferably in a room with good airflow or lots of sunlight.