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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

A Good Morning to Hand-Wash My Sweaters


With the cooler weather, this week seemed like a good time for hand-washing my sweaters. This morning, the sun was pouring into the kitchen, adding a bit of warmth to that end of the house for an hour or two. I have a drying rack set up near this large window -- perfect spot to dry some of our laundry.  

After finishing some kitchen chores, I grabbed the dirty sweater bin from the floor of my closet and brought the load to the bathroom adjacent to the kitchen. Two at a time, I washed the lot in the bathroom sink, gently pressed water out of each sweater over the sink, removed additional water by rolling each in a large bath towel, then gently hung to dry on the rack. 


I go through 1 towel for every 3 sweaters before the towel is simply too wet to remove any additional water. I lay the towel out on the top of the dryer, carefully laying the wet sweater out on the towel, fold the arms of the sweater in, fold the edges of the towel in over the sweater's sides, then roll the bundle up. Rolling sweaters up in a towel is a good way to press the water out without stretching or twisting the sweater. Hand-washing sweaters and coloring hair are some of the best uses for those very ragged bath towels.


I don't use any sort of fancy detergent like Woolite, just the cheap liquid hand dishwashing detergent from Dollar Tree. I choose a liquid detergent that has the least amount of color, in case the soap were to deposit any of its color onto my garments. I also guard the color of my sweaters by washing like colors together, as 2 sweaters will fit in my sink at a time. Despite using cheap liquid dish soap and washing by hand, my sweaters wash and dry nicely, offering no indication that I go the cheap route. 

To speed up the drying process, and prevent mildewy odors, I set up a box fan on the floor near the drying rack. Doing so seems to cut the drying time by about one-third.

I don't wear many wool sweaters, but I do wear (and hand-wash) cashmere, silk, and cotton sweaters. Of course, my sweater-washing bravery (even with my "good" sweaters) may be due to the fact that almost all of my sweaters have come from second-hand stores, paying from 99 cents to $4 each. 

In my mother's time, sweaters were brought to the dry cleaner once or twice per season. I'm not even sure where our nearest dry cleaner is for my area, as I haven't had anything professionally-cleaned in over 20 years. I'll continue washing my sweaters by hand, saving some money, and keeping those icky chemicals out of my breathing space. 

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great idea for hand washing sweaters. I've found that quite a few of my sweaters that are labeled "hand wash", wash up fine in my washing machine with a few items. I don't put them in the dryer to dry, I hang them on a folded wooden rack in my basement - works like a charm for me! I buy a lot of my sweaters at thrift stores also, my favorite is a cashmere (new with tags -SCORE!)I paid $2 for that baby and I LOVE it. Love the lacy pattern on your "sample" sweater.

Shelby

Alice said...

That just reminded me of my trip to California a a few weeks ago. I was planning to be there with hubby for 10-12 days but turned into 3 weeks plus one day. So I had three shirts, a pair of shorts, and some leggings as well as 5 pair underwear, two pairs of socks and one bra.

Finally after wearing these items I needed to wash clothes but there was no where to do so unless I walked 1.5 miles with my pack of clothes and husbands clothes (he wore t-shirts and socks and they needed washing). I knew that wasn't going to work so I used the shower and the wash basin that hospitals provide and washed clothes in the shower using shampoo as my soap. I had nothing else with me and no close stores to get anything.

I used the towel method to dry out the clothes as much as I could but I did roll them up and twist since I knew I could safely do that with the clothes I had. I used binder clips and clipped the clothes to the curtains in the hospital room, hung them over the shower door and also hung them over a small drawer of a cabinet. My husband had this contraption over his bed that he would position himself by hanging on the bar and shift his body around. I used that during the day to hang clothes to dry.

I can't say it was the best laundry job I ever did but they were fresh enough to wear over and over again.

Alice

Lili said...

Shelby said...
Great idea for hand washing sweaters. I've found that quite a few of my sweaters that are labeled "hand wash", wash up fine in my washing machine with a few items. I don't put them in the dryer to dry, I hang them on a folded wooden rack in my basement - works like a charm for me! I buy a lot of my sweaters at thrift stores also, my favorite is a cashmere (new with tags -SCORE!)I paid $2 for that baby and I LOVE it. Love the lacy pattern on your "sample" sweater.


Hi Shelby,
your deal on that cashmere sweater is amazing! The Ann Taylor Loft lacy sweater was bought last fall at Value Village for $4. I find a lot of AT Loft items there -- must be someone in my size donating that also likes AT stuff. I really love that sweater, too.
I wash a couple of my heavier all-cotton sweaters in the machine on gentle cycle and hang dry, too. It seems to work fine on those.

Lili said...

Alice said...
. . .I needed to wash clothes but there was no where to do so unless I walked 1.5 miles with my pack of clothes and husbands clothes (he wore t-shirts and socks and they needed washing). I knew that wasn't going to work so I used the shower and the wash basin that hospitals provide and washed clothes in the shower using shampoo as my soap. I had nothing else with me and no close stores to get anything.

I used the towel method to dry out the clothes as much as I could but I did roll them up and twist since I knew I could safely do that with the clothes I had. I used binder clips and clipped the clothes to the curtains in the hospital room, hung them over the shower door and also hung them over a small drawer of a cabinet. My husband had this contraption over his bed that he would position himself by hanging on the bar and shift his body around. I used that during the day to hang clothes to dry.


Hi Alice,
very ingenious of you, using what you had in the hospital. I especially like the binder clips as clothespins! You do what needs to be done, right? I've done a similar version of this in hotel rooms when on trips. I hand wash in the sink, using shampoo for detergent, then hang wherever I can find a spot. I've found that I can get by with very few tops if I wash each top at night before bed, then wear the alternate top the next day while the just-washed top dries for a day. This also works for socks and undies. When I travel, I only take a small-ish backpack, as I use public transportation everywhere and need to wear the backpack while hiking to bus stops. A good portion of my backpack is taken up with some food, too. So I sacrifice on the clothing. But I've never had to wash and dry clothing in a hospital room. That's a first! Good job!

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