10 Basic methods to CLEAN & WASH Clothes

Some of the commonly used methods to clean clothes including cleaning clothes without water

This post lists the best and safest ways for cleaning clothes and fabric including a simple method of cleaning garments that do not require the use of water.

Cleaning and Washing clothes – Such a boring 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 free time. This is what I initially thought.

But then I decided to go ahead and write because Most of everyday life is bland 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.

Besides 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 sometimes mean that you wash 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 – vacuuming, scraping, sponging, brushing, blotting, freezing and sanding. 

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 to other places.

If your clothing has 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 curtains to remove loose dirt for cleaning.

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

2. Scraping

This method uses a sharp object to scrape the dirt from the fabric’s surface. Scraping is useful when some material has dried out on the fabric surface and needs some pressure.

scraper tool for cleaning clothes and fabric

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

3. Brushing

brushing to clean clothes

The fabric surface is cleaned using a fabric brush. Helpful with napped fabrics. Small dust is brushed out easily this way. If you have dried out thick mud on fabric, you can use hard brushes. (Just ensure that the hard bristles do not damage the fabric fibers)

4. Sponging

Sponging involves cleaning the surface of the fabric with a clean cloth. The cloth is used to dab the dirt from the fabric. This method is 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, blood, 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; it prepares the fabric for the dirt to be cleaned. Freezing is used because, some stains need to be hardened before you remove them. You can freeze the cloth, remove the hardened dirt on it with scraping, and wash it.

clean and wash clothes

8. Sanding

Use the finest of sand papers in the range of 3000s to 10000s to sand the surface of the clothes very delicately.

Be cautious in using grittier sand papers ; they can potentially damage clothes, particularly if it is done aggressively or on delicate fabrics. 

9. Machine Laundering and Hand washing

Laundering is another term used for cleaning 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 to thoroughly remove dirt. I prefer a phosphate-free, biodegradable detergent.

You can get your clothes professionally laundered at concerns that 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.

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.

For some fabric types hand washing is recommended, as they will get damaged by the tumble action in a washing machine. You can find some recommendations for handwashing clothes here. 

How often should clothes be cleaned?

Lingerie, Underwear, socks, and other intimate items are typically washed after each use. Items like t-shirts, pants, and skirts can be worn a few times before washing, as long as they are not visibly soiled or odorous. If sweat smell is there, it is better to wash it, because if kept in storage, the smell can become more pungent.

10. Dry cleaning 

Dry cleaning involves cleaning 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. The option of using perchloroethylene or petroleum solvents to clean the clothes (dry cleaning) is said to be the solution to these problems.

Which clothes should be drycleaned?

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. Regular clothing items like suits, jackets, or blouses should be dry cleaned after several wears to clean them thorougly.
You can Learn more about the dry cleaning process and which clothes should be Drycleaned here ; Drycleaning symbols

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 clothes; How to wash wool clothes How to wash Silk clothes; Faux leather care; How to clean leather.; Upholstery care; How to wash shirts; How to remove lint from clothes

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Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

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