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Delicates hanging on a clothing rack

How to hand wash clothes

Find out the best way to hand wash clothes. Use our guidelines and easy-to-follow methods showing you how to hand wash underwear and silk in the sink.

Whether it’s a silk top or lacy lingerie, we all need to take care of our delicates. Laundry methods need adapting when it comes to a delicate wash, as precious fabrics can’t just be slung in the washing machine. Learning how to hand wash clothes will keep them at their best and could well save you an expensive trip to the dry cleaners – it’s always worth to learn the best way to hand wash clothes.

How to hand wash

The best place to hand wash delicates is in your sink. Depending on the clothing you’re washing, there are slightly different methods. However, there are a handful of general guidelines to follow. Here’s how to wash clothes in the sink:

  • Make sure your sink is clean.

  • Always read care labels – some garments may be dry clean only, and unless you’re super confident and experienced, you should always follow that advice.

  • Pre-treat any stains before handwashing: delicates don’t stand up too well to scrubbing, so add a spoonful of detergent on any stained areas. Rub it gently into the fabric using your hands, paying attention to those areas that get easily stained.

  • Fill the sink with cool, clean water.

  • Add a small amount of quality detergent – Surf Golden Blossom Liquid Detergent is perfect for the job. It’s crafted with a blend of perfume oils that add an extra luxurious feeling to your precious clothes.

  • Soak your garments and give them a good swish around.

  • Rinse them in fresh water.

  • Take the clothing out of the water and drain over the sink – don’t squeeze or ring out.

  • Place on a towel before air-drying.

How to wash silk

A lot of silk clothing labels will say ‘dry clean only’ and that advice is always best followed. However, some pieces will allow hand washing. In addition to following the general guidelines in the first section, here’s how to hand wash clothes made from silk:

  • Wash in cold water – lukewarm at the most.

  • Test to see if colours bleed – dab a soaked cotton swab on a hidden area and check to see if any colour comes off. If it does, it’s to the dry cleaners you go.

  • It’s best to wash silk items individually.

  • Soak the item for 4 to 5 minutes in water and a little liquid detergent.

  • Drain and then rinse with cold water.

  • Roll in a towel and gently press to absorb extra water before lying out to dry. Never dry silk clothing in a tumble dryer – the heat can lead to damage and/or shrinkage.

How to hand wash underwear

Delicate underwear, particularly of the lacy type, should really be washed by hand rather than in the machine. As ever, check the care label to see what’s recommended, and then if you’re happy to move onto washing by hand here’s how:

  • Separate your colours to avoid any colour run accidents – if you have any concerns about specific items, wash them on their own.

  • Immerse your underwear in cool water mixed with washing detergent.

  • Go with the repeated dunking method – dunk your lingerie under the water and let them bob up several times. Don’t scrub or rub as you run the risk of tearing or misshaping.

  • You can let your underwear soak for up to an hour before rinsing thoroughly and leaving to dry naturally.

There you have it, the best approach to washing clothes by hand in your sink. As long as you check the care label, follow the advice about dry cleaning, and then use our easy-to-follow guide, your delicate clothes will look, feel and smell beautiful.