BUTLER Magazine

Laundry Guide: To Hand-wash or Machine-wash my clothes?


No doubt, doing laundry is a chore and a bore. But, unless you are a billionaire who could perhaps throw your clothes after each use, you ultimately can’t run away from needing to do laundry.

Noticed how the tags on your clothes are full of detailed instructions on how we should wash them? Undeniably, not everyone takes note of them but if you do, of which should you pay close attention to or just dumping it into the washer works fine? While some prefer hand-washing for a better scrub, others may select otherwise. We’ll spill the detergent below on which is the better option for your clothes.

Laundry Guide: To Hand-wash or Machine-wash my clothes?Photo: Imgur/Pinterest

From the image above, it’s evident that every fabric is as sensitive as a human heart. Treat each piece of clothing you own like it’s a baby, especially if it cost quite a bit to your wallets.

Ordinary clothes label to pay close attention to:



PHOTO: Aphiwat Chuangchoem/ Gettyimages

Back in the day when washing machines were not easily accessible, hand-washing was the go-to on laundry day. Imagine how tired moms must be needing to scrub eight family members worth of clothes – my back hurts just thinking of it.

Undoubtedly, hand-washing has its fair share of pros and cons. One of which is the fact that it is relatively more water-saving and energy-efficient. Fun fact: Did you know that the washer uses up to 19 gallons of water per load –  that’s equivalent to 70kg of water! It’s insane just thinking how switching to hand-washing could save precious gallons of water.

Unlike washers, hand-washing is hands down way more gentle to any fabric. In a machine wash, clothes are stretched to its limit, literally beating your clothes to death by breaking the fibres thus, in the long run, hand washing would help to preserve the life of your garments.

The noise-efficient option: Apart from the sound of the brush used to scrub the clothes, hand-washing certainly is more friendly to the household and even to your neighbours. Till someone invents a quiet washer, it’s almost impossible even to meditate while the washer is running.

Clothes highly recommended to be hand-washed:

The downside of hand-washing draws down to the amount of time and effort put into it compared to a washer. This is particularly true when washing bulky materials such as curtains and beddings. Not only does it need a whole lot of scrubbing up to its edges, but, you would also have a hard time lifting it due to the added weight of water. You could count it as a workout, but, with the bathroom being already slippery as it is, we certainly do not encourage you to do so.

The Hand Wash symbol: Do I need to heed the tag’s advice? The quick answer to that, you should adhere to it as much as you can but otherwise, use your washing machine’s hand wash program (if available).



PHOTO: Carol Yepes/ Gettyimages

Now, what about hand-washing vs machine- washing? After all, machine-washing is just you dumping your clothes into the washing machine, press the start button and that’s it. How hard could it be?

Here’s the deal, if hand-washing isn’t feasible, machine-washing is the more time-efficient option, especially if you’re too shagged from work and need extra downtime. But, there come flaws in machine-washing, one of which is that it will most likely shrink or damage your clothing even more quickly.

If you have clothing that feels delicate or needs to retain its shape, e.g. undergarments, swimwear, or that you hope would last a long time just so it would be worth the money spent, hand-washing is still the safest bet. One thing’s for sure if you have just bought a new shirt, it’s highly inadvisable to drop it in the washer, or it would end up wearing out before you know it.

Exclusive note to clothes with colours that quickly runoff by water: refrain from having it machine- washed to prevent cross-contamination of colours with your other clothes. (That is unless you are alright with having blue jeans turning green after a wash!) Clothes of this sort would more likely have a “Do not wash” care label tagged to it, so you know the drill, skip the washer and proceed to hand-scrubbing them. 

You may end up with a higher electric bill at the end of the month with frequent use of washing machines. But, fret not, there are energy-efficient washer options sold in stores so perhaps switching to that could make a difference.

Note: If you are unsure if your clothes are machine-washable, check for any symbols on the fabric care label. Some would include the recommended temperature for washing or the type of cycle to use for machine-washing.

So, ultimately which is the better option?

Whilst you would save much money by hand-washing your clothes, it uses too much time and effort, something our busy souls could spare for more pressing matters. So, our verdict – Hand wash only the highly recommended clothes we mentioned above and leave the rest to the washer. Trust us; this would not only allow for more for Netflix-time, continuously relying on this method would take a toll on your body so nope, machine washing it is for us!



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