Friday, December 17

Doing the Hand Washables

Wowie zowie--no school today and at 4 PM we start Christmas vacation--yeah!
The couch in my bedroom has been accumulating hand washables, delicate clothes that need a gentle touch for washing and drying, for 6+ months.  Keeping up with regular laundry isn't a problem in our house but those dainty clothes and linens hardly ever have their turn in the laundry room.  I get a kick out of using linens from my mom or those I've found at resale shops, but they do need to be handwashed and often they are in the laundry or unironed when I want to use them.  I never even think about how much it would cost to have them cared for at the cleaners.

Today was the day to tackle the enormous task--lightweight sweaters, family linens, slinky clothes, bulky sweaters--now damp, but clean.  Here are some tips for managing hand washables when you do them en masse:
Use the gentle cycle on the washer and the maximum water volume to wash clothes which can be safely washed in a machine.  Unless your clothes are extremely fragile this will work for non-heirloom clothes.
Family linens and dainty clothes can be washed in a big basin or in your (clean) laundry sink.  Have several bath towels ready to use for rolling up your rinsed clothes and blotting the water out for 10 minutes or so.  Throw those wet towels in the dryer unless they have absorbed dye from the clothes and dry them right away.
If you don't have enough floor space to dry your sweaters on the floor, on a towel for blocking, then use the top of a bed or your ironing board.  If you are unfamiliar with blocking your sweaters to retain their shape and size, just Google the term or please write me and I'll take a video of the process.

Use over-the-door hangers to dry lightweight tops and sweaters.  Sometimes I hang the item upside down and take advantage of gravity to maintain the neck shape.  If there's a possibility of the hanger making indentations in the fabric I'll use a small towel as a buffer.

Delicate linens can be dried flat on a bed.  Put a clean sheet on top of the bed and gently flatten the linens over the sheet, taking care to block the item into its original shape.  If your handmade linens aren't exactly square when you're done don't fret, they are handmade and very unique.  I use a fan to speed up the drying process and keep my bed linens from getting too damp.

Now all that's left on my bedroom couch are some papers and those unwrapped Christmas presents.  I can say with some confidence that most of the items will be gone by the 25th...