Updated on July 8, 2022 by Sarina

This post lists the best and safest ways to clean clothes and fabric.

Cleaning and Washing clothes – Such a banal job. What is there to write about it. Everyone knows how to do it and no one will want to write or read about it in their precious free time. This is what I initially thought.

But then I decided to go ahead and write because Most of everyday life is banal and monotonous but we still need inspired ideas and techniques to live through them. And there are always some ideas around simple things that leave the most boring things a lot improved. Like washing and cleaning clothes.

Other than dropping them into a washing machine and forgetting about them, do you know that there are many other methods to clean clothes?  Washing machine cleaning can some times mean that you clean the clothes to death. There is something called over cleaning of clothes. I am also guilty of this. But it can mean a short lifespan for your favorite clothing.

Here are the different methods you can use to clean your clothes. 

Do not forget to check the care label of your clothing to know what method of cleaning suits it the best. Check out the post describing and explaining all the care labels or laundry washing symbols you will find in clothes

10 Methods for washing clothes

clean and wash clothes


As you know a vacuum sucks out dirt and dust – if you have a handy vacuum you can use it to suction out dried dirt without spreading it out to other places.

So if your clothing seems to have a little dirt that can be removed with your vacuum forget tossing it into the washing pile. Sofas, curtains, carpets etc are regularly vacuumed to remove dirt.

Vacuuming before washing also prevents rubbing of dirt particles further to non-dirty areas.

2. Scraping

Some sharp object is used to scrape out the dirt from the fabric surface.  This is useful when some material has dried out on the fabric surface and needs some pressure.

Maybe that dried cream needs only scraping and you can wear the clothing one more time without laundering.

3. Brushing

A fabric brush is used to clean the fabric surface. Useful with napped fabrics. Small dust is brushed out easily this way.

4. Sponging

This involves cleaning the surface of the fabric with a clean cloth. The cloth is used to dab the dirt from the fabric. This is a method used when you would rather not immerse the fabric in water.

5. Blotting

Sometimes you want a spot clean of a stain on the fabric surface – and you do not want the dirt or stain to spread to neighboring areas. Here a clean cloth is used to blot the spot.

Sometimes detergent is used on the spot and then blotted again.

You can use stain removers to blot the stain – Check out this post on Best stain removers for some quick home remedies for stains

Coffee stains, blood-stains, wine spills etc are blotted before any other method of cleaning is used.

6. Flushing

Some dirt/stain requires forceful pressure of running water to remove them- you can flush water forcefully on to the spot with the dirt 

7. Freezing

Freezing is not a washing process as such- it prepares the dirt to be cleaned – some stains need to be hardened before they can be removed. You can freeze the cloth and then remove the hardened dirt on it with scraping technique and then wash it.

clean and wash clothes

8. Machine Laundering

Laundering is another term used for cleaning of fabrics with water in washing machines. Cleaning with water is the best method to remove water-soluble soils like body fluids (sweat), salts, or sugars 

Home laundering is what you do on a regular basis at home – Using your home washing machine for washing clothes at home.

You may be presoaking the clothes beforehand in water and detergent solution for thorough removal of dirt. I prefer a phosphate-free, biodegradable detergent.

You can get your clothes professionally laundered at concerns which specialize in cleaning clothes. Check out this post on washing clothes in a washing machine for more details

Garments are sorted according to their color, dirt present, fabric type, and composition, garment construction and trimmings used etc and then washed in cycles befitting them. The garments are then rinsed, dried in a machine dryer, or hung dry and finished.

9. Hand washing

This is Wet cleaning by hand washing of clothes. Delicate clothes, garments with special construction, trimmings etc cannot be machine washed but they can be carefully hand washed so that the fabric is preserved in its original form.

Hand washing is recommended for some fabric types that will get damaged by the tumble action in a washing machine. You can find some recommendations for handwashing clothes here 

10. Dry cleaning 

Dry cleaning involves cleaning of clothes with solvent. Some fabrics/clothes are damaged if you use water to clean them – there may be shrinkage, damage to fibers, a difference in texture, change in appearance and feel etc.

Wool, linen, silk, and rayon are fabrics best dry cleaned. Some old Oil-based stains, grease etc are best removed from fabric with dry cleaning. The option of using perchloroethylene or petroleum solvents to clean the clothes mitigates all these concerns.

Learn more about the process of Drycleaning here

Related posts : Basic Garment care – other related articles; Different kinds of detergents used to clean clothes.; How to disinfect clothes

Clothing care according to fabrics and clothing : How to wash Linen; How to wash wool Silk care; How to care for Pashmina shawls ; Faux leather care; Leather care.; Upholstery care; How to wash shirts; How to remove lint from clothes; Mending tears on clothes

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