April 02, 2020 at 07:05PM
If your laundromat recently closed or you’re forgoing a visit to limit your exposure to surfaces that might hold coronavirus, rest assured—you can wash your clothes at home without a machine. Here, natural cleaning expert Becky Rapinchuk of Clean Mama gives her top tips for effective hand-washing and drying in the age of quarantine:
First and foremost, if you’re not leaving your house, Rapinchuk recommends keeping your laundry to a minimum and wearing items more than once. “Jeans, leisurewear, and sweatshirts all are good for getting more than one use,” she says. As for the things you do need to clean after every wear (think underwear, socks, sweaty workout gear, or those leggings you wore outside to get the mail), do so in a large bucket, tub, or deep sink.
First, fill your vessel with water that is warm but not so warm that it burns your hands since washing in hot water isn’t actually necessary. Around 77 degrees Fahrenheit should do. Then, put in the same amount of laundry detergent you typically would for a laundry load of this size. Ideally, you’d use a gentle, eco-friendly liquid detergent. If you’re fresh out, Rapinchuk says a drop or two of Castile or dish soap can also be effective. You could also use a powder detergent: Simply dissolve 1 teaspoon in your warm water for every load of clothing.
After letting your clothes soak in the aforementioned warm water for about 10 to 30 minutes (depending on how dirty they are), it’s time to dry: “Rinse and wring the clothing out by rolling it in a bath towel to remove most of the moisture,” Rapinchuk says.
Then, hang your clothes outside to line dry if that’s an option. Otherwise, you can hang them somewhere where they’ll be out of the way—in your bathroom or laundry room, or on a drying rack.
See? Hand-washing doesn’t have to be intimidating. Even once the stay-at-home order is lifted, you might want to consider keeping up this practice of washing your delicates at home. The planet will thank you for it.