Wash Clothes by Hand

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Black socks, they never get dirty, the longer you wear them, the blacker they get!


  1. Change into clothing you don't mind getting soapy water on. If detergent is left on clothing for a long time (until your next washing for instance) it will discolor the clothing.
  2. Wash clothes in a place with abundant water such as a shower head, bathtub faucet, or outside using the garden hose, a river side, etc.
  3. Find a bucket/basin/bathtub/stoppable sink that is big enough to hold your clothes. Remember that clothing is smaller, heavier and harder to manage when wet
  4. Add detergent. If you are using liquid, pour it right on. If you are using powder, it might work better to to dissolve it with a smaller amount of water.
  5. Add clothes.
  6. Cover the clothes with water. Whether you use hot, warm or cold water depends on the type of fabric you are dealing with. Cold water is usually the best option for most fabrics and conserves energy. Hot water will shrink wool. It should be no more than 30 degrees Celsius or 86 Fahrenheit. Warm water is better for heavily soiled clothes, but hot (over 60 degrees Celsius or 140 Fahrenheit) can shrink cotton. Luke warm water is appropriate for silks. Hot water is the best for socks because it kills fungi.
  7. Let the clothes soak for about 20-30 minutes. 20 minutes is appropriate if you don't have many clothes, 25 if you have a medium amount, and 30 if you have a big bundle of clothing. Don't soak for longer because detergent will both damage the fabric and fade the colour of your clothes.
  8. Use a brand new, never been used before, toilet bowl plunger to agitate the clothes with a gentle up and down action. You can also use your hand to agitate the clothes.
  9. Drain out the water. Remove the clothes and let them drain for several minutes. One way is to but the clothes in a sink, the bath tub, or any clean place where the force of gravity will take the water away.
  10. It usually takes three changes of water to remove the soap. Put the clothes back in the container and cover with clean water. Agitate them. Drain the water. Repeat this step at lease two more times.
  11. Take them out and allow them to drain for several minutes.
  12. Hang everything up to dry on plastic hangers.


  • Sheets and especially towels, are much harder to hand-wash, due to the difficulties of hand rinsing. Do so at your own risk.
  • Perspiration/sweat is oily/waxy. Be sure to use some soap rather than just rinsing.


  • Do not use too much detergent! You are not a washing machine. Getting out all that soap will be hard.
  • Don't wring your clothing if it's stretchy (i.e. a t-shirt). Blouses will wrinkle. Skirts and pants made out of fine fabrics will also get damaged. Jeans, sweats, towels, sheets and other durable clothing will be fine--wring away! Give items a few shakes to get rid of wrinkles.

Don't Forget To Check Your Pockets!

Things You'll Need

  • Large basin-type tub
  • Running water
  • Detergent
  • Lots of energy

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