Hand Washing vs Machine Washing Clothes

Hand Washing vs Machine Washing Clothes

Ever since the invention of washing machines, there has always been a heated debate of hand wash, vs. machine wash, and there are a few opinions floating around the internet. Washing machines are some of the most affordable appliances for many households. They allow one to clean their dirty laundry without using so much time, resources, and effort.

So, which of the two methods of cleaning dirty laundry is better? It is understood that clothes with “hand wash only” on their instructions label should not be washed in the machine. Some risk it, and some may get away with it but we advise against it. However, despite the availability of washing machines, Some people still opt to wash their clothes by hand. It is the cheapest and the gentlest approach towards cleaning dirty clothes.

Read on to find out the pros and cons of each of the method, the proper method of hand washing clothes, and the related questions in terms of cleaning dirty clothes.

Hand Washing Clothes

Hand washing of dirty garments is a prominent method of doing laundry for many people around the world. This method has been utilized long before the onset of washing machines. The method involves soaking dirty garments in water, and then physically rubbing the clothes together until the last of impurities are removed from the garments fabric. When compared to machine washing, here are the pros and cons for hand washing clothes.

Pros of Hand Washing Clothes

1. Energy Efficient:

This is the most energy-efficient method of doing laundry. The amount of energy consumed while washing with a machine is the most obvious drawback of using machine washing. However, when handwashing. All you need is a tub (or a bucket), and your hands (or feet in some circumstances) to wash your clothes. You do not necessarily need electricity for this manual endeavor.

2. Economical:

It may be an odd point to consider since water is everywhere, and water can be recycled, but compared to washing machines; hand washing uses less water than the alternative.

According to statistics, machine washing consumes 53 liters of water, while handwashing only consumes 20 liters of water. From the above comparison, clearly hand washing your clothes is more economical in terms of saving water. Besides, many laundry detergents require a given amount of liquid to use for a single wash.

3. Hand washing is safer to the environment

The water used by washing machines mainly comes from water treatment plants. They use chemicals such as chlorine to treat the water. While it may be essential to treat the water before washing dirty garments, the chemicals used in the water treatment facilities consume a lot of energy and are harmful when released to the environment.

Since hand washing uses small amounts of water, one need only use a smaller dosage of detergent. It reduces the number of chemicals released into the environment  as well as reduces waste packaging

4. You get to exercise

Since the washing is done manually, one gets the chance to put in some work out while washing the clothes.

5. Quiet and Peaceful experience

Hand washing is also a quiet and cathartic experience. The washing machines tend to produce a lot of noise, which could disturb the peace in your household. With hand washing, you get some time alone to think and reflect upon your life.

Cons of Hand Washing Clothes

1. Time and effort tasking

The main drawback of handwashing clothes is that it requires a lot of time and effort to get the dirty garments clean. It is particularly very tasking if you want to wash heavy materials like beddings and curtains.

The garments tend to be very heavy due to the weight of the water. Hand washing also makes it hard to remove tough stains from a garment’s fabric. One has to keep rewashing the dirty clothes to get them clean. By the end, a lot of time is used in cleaning one piece of garment only.

Machine-washing Clothes

This modern alternative of washing dirty laundry is especially popular among generation Y and Z. It simply works by the process of agitation. This simply means that when the clothes tumble around the machines drum, they rub together creating a friction that helps clean the grime and dirt from the clothes. One need only add some detergent to loosen the bonds between a garments fiber, and any other impurities you would like to remove.

Pros of Machine-washing Clothes

1. More options

washing dirty laundry with a machine avails several options for one to consider. Some of these machines are equipped with multiple settings, which are great when washing delicate garments. You can also choose between semi-automatic and full-automatic washing mode.

2. Saves time and Effort:

It is a way easier method to clean laundry with this method. All you need to do is dump a litter of dirty laundry in too the machine, and press start, then Voila! Clean clothes! You get to save so much time and effort manually rubbing the clothes together to get rid of the grime.

Cons of Machine-washing Clothes

1. More expensive

Since these modern machines require electricity to run, you need to have a constant supply of electricity to clean your clothes. It is quite expensive compared to hand washing and you water bill is likely to use because of how much water and electricity your specific water machine uses.

Tips for Hand Washing Clothes

Since hand washing of clothes is the gentlest approach to washing dirty garments, you have to treat the clothes with extreme care through the cleaning process. As a means to save time, you can wash garments of the same color and fabric at the same time. Below we have outlined some systematic tips on the best method to hand wash dirty laundry.

  1. Read the care label to determine the type of fabric used on your clothes: Many legitimate clothing garments are tagged with a label, which helps determine the kind of fabric used on the garment. This helps you determine the best kind of laundry detergent that can be used. Standard detergents work fine on many fabrics but delicate fabrics need to require more gentle detergents like fine fabric, mild dish or free and gentle detergents.
  2. Treat stains, if you have to. You need to apply a laundry stain remover or a liquid detergent gently into a stain with your fingertips. Always avoid scrubbing. When the garment is soaking, add the sudsy water through the garment for maximum effect.
  3. Add water to sink. Whether lukewarm or warm, depending on the care label, and additional garments in the sink: Some fabrics like silk, wool and bright colors work best in cold water.
    Once the sink is full, add the recommended dose of detergent, swish it in the water to make sure it’s well dissolved, gently lay your clothes in the water and press it down to fully immerse it. If the water turns color, do not panic, it is simply the fabric dye releasing color, and does not result to any kind of color loss.
  4. Always rinse thoroughly: With a sprayer on your sink’s faucet, you can easily insert lightweight garments, like swimsuits and lingerie. However, for heavy clothing, fill the sink with cool, clear water, immerse the garments, and then squeeze the water through to rinse the clothes.
  5. Remove excess water:  ringing out wet and delicate fabrics may cause unnecessary damage. To dry such clothes, lift the garments with both hands, and then gently squeeze out as much water as possible. When you feel they are sufficiently dry, lay the garments on an absorbent towel, then roll them together until all the water is absorbed.
  6. Put items out to dry:  You have to layout wet garments flatly to dry. This prevents the delicate garments, especially knits, to stretch out of shape. Once one side is dry, flip it over.

Is it Cheaper to Wash Clothes by Hand?

Forgoing washing machines and hand washing your clothes will eliminate the need to use electricity. You will save money on energy expenses and save a substantial amount of water. Conventionally washing machines use about fifty gallons of water per load. Using such large amounts of water makes the washing machine one of the largest water users in your home.

By washing the clothes using your hands, you will save money on water bills. Additionally, use of washing machine brings about the emission of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is the number one contributor of global warming. The economic effects of global warming are immense. Anything we do to reduce the quantity of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is welcomed including washing clothes by hand.

However, there is no definitive answer on whether hand washing is better than machine washing. Hand washing uses less water, consumes less energy and is friendlier to the environment compared to washing machines. 

While it may be hard to calculate the environmental differences, your clothes will certainly appreciate you taking the time and effort to wash them by hand.

Many of your clothes are likely to be damaged on a microscopic level when machine-washed. Thus, hand washing is a great method to keep your clothes looking new and fresh for longer.

Related Questions

How much clothes can you put in the washing machine?

It depends on the size of your washer. Overloading is one of the reasons why washing machines break down. Never overload your machine and always follow the manual.

Can you hand wash clothes labeled “dry clean only”?

In general, it is best to follow the garments care label. Silk, leather, and velvet cannot withstand water. The manufacturer always knows what is best for the item, and it is best that you read the care label and do as recommended.