At AVMM, we believe in timeless designs and aim to create styles that are meant to last. Our forever and limited-edition collections offer classic pieces that will serve your wardrobe well, season after season.
In order to extend the life of your garments, it is important to be mindful of how we care for those items. Every time we throw that beloved garment into the washing machine there is an added wear and tear. While it is important to make note of the specific washing instructions found on a garments care label, we recommend avoiding excessive use of a washing machine when possible. One way to do this is by hand-washing your clothing. This is our number one tip for garment care best practices. We feel that the extra work will pay off!
Especially if your garment features the hand-wash symbol, follow our instructions below. However, we think that this washing routine is worth doing for many garments, as it provides not only the extra level of care, but also allows you to establish a tactile connection with items that accompany you day after day. So, how do you give this love in return and properly hand-wash your garments?
How to wash your clothes by hand
Not every garment can be thrown into the washing machine, and some fabrics may require special care. For example, if the label suggests “dry clean”, avoid washing the garment at home and look for specialized cleaning services. For (almost) anything else, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to hand-wash your clothing for better garment care.
1. Read label for directions
The garment care label basically tells you what the garment needs. It usually entails temperature, specific information regarding ironing or bleach possibilities, washing machine settings, or if hand-wash (or dry clean) is preferred. For hand washing we prefer to use a mild detergent and always check if it’s good to use with bare hands. We definitely lean towards detergents with natural ingredients, not just for environmental considerations, but also as they are less aggressive in cleaning fabric, often smell better and are more gentle on skin.
2. Fill your sink or tub with water
Depending on the amount of clothing you plan to wash, fill a sink or a tub with enough water to fully cover all the clothing, at the temperature recommended on the care label. If the garment has no label, choose cool or lukewarm water. Add a small amount of detergent into the water (or more, if you’re washing several items). Make sure to only wash multiple garments together of the same color, whites with whites, darks with darks, so as to keep the vibrancy of a garment - we all know the classic situation of a single red sock turning a whole batch of white laundry pink!
3. Soak your garments
It’s now time to submerge your clothes in the water and let them soak. Hand washing is all about washing your garments gently, delicately. Avoid scrubbing or twisting (especially if a garment has been piece dyed as this can remove surface dye and leave some spots a lighter color) and rather swish the item through the soapy water in gentle motions.
4. Rinse, repeat
Drain the sink or tub, and refill it with cool water to rinse your garments. Remove all soap by pushing the garment up and down. Repeat the whole rinse process if necessary. Once it is evident that all soap has been removed, drain the tub of water and begin to gently squeeze out as much water from the garment itself, holding the garment tight in both fists and pushing it against the bottom surface of the tub repeatedly, again avoiding twisting, but rather scrunching.
5. Hang your garments to dry
The best option for drying your garments is hanging them out in the fresh air after gently removing the excess water (to avoid shrinking them as much as possible). To get that extra bit of water out before air drying we recommend laying the garment flat on a clean and dry towel and slowly rolling up the garment in the towel to make a tight tube. The towel will absorb extra excess water to allow for a quicker air dry process. After unrolling the item, your garment is now ready to air dry. Some garments may require laying flat to dry, to better keep the original shape of the garment.
Why wash your garments by hand?
Hand washing your garments is a more delicate way to clean them. While some washing machines do have a gentle wash cycle, hand wash is still preferable for garments which specifically require washing by hand, and also for those of us who simply enjoy this meditative activity.
Moreover, hand washing could be a way to slow down, as a possible mindfulness practice, connecting deeper with the objects which serve your daily life. After all, we wear our clothing every day, they sit on our skin for hours, so washing them ourselves offers a more intimate relationship with those beloved items.
This article was written by Ambra Andrei, AVMM's content contributor and stylist.