Sunday, May 10, 2009

Handwashing my clothes

I have been recently washing my clothes by hand. Just my shirts (neck and wrists) because I generally wear cheap t-shirts. I am not sure why I have not tried earlier since my parents been doing it before I was born; but I am getting pretty good results. A lot of clothes I have simply dulled beyond belief and alot of yellowing on the wrist area and neck... this is probably my fault because I really can't wash my clothes after just one wear with no sweating. So basically I guess they have been yellowing while in storage because I would think I would never leave it that yellow otherwise.

At first I was internet searching for some hand powered tools to make things easier like the Hand Powered Portable Washing Machine which is basically a plastic barrel with a very cheap plastic base. Watch this video:

I was laughing so hard even though the review was favorable because the stand was jerking all around and I can quite easily tell it would break in a few uses. Regardless from the video it was just turning it a few times and there was some pitch about pressure but the guy said on the youtube video that if you turn the screw to seal off the barrel on top; that it might actually go through.... (what?)

Anyway I do not see much difference between buying a large protein powder canister (5 pounds?) and just putting a clothing inside and just use my leg rolling it back and forth or even just shaking it by hand for a few seconds which is just as effective as hand cranking that plastic barrel a few turns. The reviews are somewhat mixed as well in how clean it gets clothing.

However my week experience has made me an expert and from the global knowledge of the internet at my disposal I came into the following pointers that might be interesting to everyone and even myself should I get bored with it and want to give it try later in my life.

1. Do not use too much laundry detergent or you will spend large amounts of time rinsing it out.
2. Do not try to use dish washing liquid as it may contain bleach. Some have reported using it with no problems but while the dish washing liquid may not "bleach" your clothes. Bleach will eventual wear out your clothes causing holes to appear easier.
3. Shampoo is a possible alternative in a pinch but baby shampoo or clarifying shampoo is the best bet since they hypothetically contain less chemicals.
4. Woolite is not the best detergent to hand wash as their ingredients are actually quite harsh. Ivory Snow is also not entirely compose of soap flakes nowadays. Simple castile soap may be better when laundry detergent is not available.
5. Pretreating by applying laundry detergent in very diluted strength on the problem stains is helpful
6. Soak the clothing for an half hour is helpful.
5. Suds is very important so agitating the water is very helpful to cleaning.
6. Tough stains require the actual hand washing. Meaning you must rub the dirty spots together in the water for the suds to work into the area and out.
7. DO NOT TWIST or WRING the clothing.
8. By all means swoosh the clothing and knead the clothing by pushing or one hand squeezing.
9. Watch some youtube videos about hand washing clothing for visual aide.

I seem to have a problem with rinsing which I guess results in more water use versus using a machine. However I am pretty confident I am removing more detergent hand rinsing than the machine is doing. The key again is not to use too much detergent and it will come down to experience. I am enjoying it so far. The main problem is actually the moisture from the drying since I leave it hanging in the bathroom and there is no ventilation there. I was thinking of a 400 dollar 3 in 1 air conditioner/dehumidifer otherwise mold is a problem. Hope that's helpful for anyone reading. Clothes will last longer and cleaner. I do not know if I will do underwear, socks or pants however.

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