It’s not what you think…
When you see a yarn label that says “hand wash, lay flat to dry,” do you get scared? Do you quickly drop the skein like it’s hot, knowing that you are not dedicated enough for all that? Perhaps you’re envisioning having to “work” when washing the item you were going to make, but are definitely NOT making now?
Oh honey. No. Seriously, this is not even close to a good reason to put that gorgeous skein of yarn back. When it comes to handwashing knit- and crochet-wear, there is absolutely nothing to be scared about, I promise! Let me walk you through this…
No washboard necessary!
The very first myth to dispel here, I think, is the amount of work involved. There’s like….. zero.
You read that right.
Fill a bucket/basin/sink with warm water and a drop of something. Wool wash, or even liquid dish soap, both work well. I love Kookaburra wool wash and Eucalan, but I’ve been known to use any Palmolive or Dawn I had on hand in a pinch.
You want to make sure you have enough water to completely submerge your item. It may float up to the top again, and that’s okay, you just need to have enough.
When I hand wash, I like to put my hand-wash items in a lingerie bag. I got a whole set that zip from Amazon, and I love them! Push the bagged item into the water and submerge it. Gently press the air out of it (this may take two or three “pressings,”) and then…… just let it soak. I always let mine soak for at least an hour to get good and saturated, but if I can, I like to soak overnight.
When you’re ready, dump it all into the washing machine for a spin cycle. This is SPIN ONLY- no agitation, no wash-and-rinse. Just spin the water out. If you do not have the kind of machine that will allow this, you can gently squeeze the water out of the whole bag, then wrap the bag in a towel (or two!) and step on it. This will squeeze most of the water out without stressing the garment itself and the friction and pressure will be on the bag. Then take the item out and lay flat to dry. I like to lay mine on the washer itself, on top of a towel. Flip in over the next day for a bit to make sure the back is also dry.
And you're done!
Like, completely. How easy was that? Did it feel like work? If so, you probably did it wrong 😉
A few extra tips for success:
~ Don’t wring, only squeeze.
~ Make sure the water is not hot, only warm.
~ Just a tiny bit of soap. If your water foams up a lot, it’s too much.
~ Never hang a wet garment! It will stretch out something awful. Either block it, or just lay it flat to dry if blocking isn’t necessary. Hanging it will cause massive regrets. Trust me.
I hope I was able to shed some light on the hand wash only issues if you had ever been under the impression that it was hard work. My wardrobe holds so many beloved sweaters, shawls, and accessories that I am happy to hand wash anytime they need it. I hope that you, too, will now feel this way. There are many many types of yarns and fibers that we would all be missing out on if we let our hand wash worries take the lead!
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