Recently, we had an “episode” with our eight year old energy/water efficient washing machine. Although we do wash by hand, we do use our machine especially when things get a little rushed around here. This show down with technology has gotten us to thinking more seriously about trashing our machine and going “cold turkey,” so to speak. It also made us search out the some interesting factoids about hand washing vs machine washing.
Here is some of the info we have collected.
Hand washing/ Machine washing Pros and Cons
Cleanliness: Hand washing gets stains out better because even pretreated stains on clothes are washed the exact same way as the other clothes in the washer. Stain removal by hand washing by using a scrub board or brush is more direct and, thus, effective.
Clothes Preservation: Hand washing preserves the life of your clothes compared to most machines.
Energy efficient : Hand washing is energy efficient as it uses only your human energy. Solar powered machines and the manufacturing of the washer both use energy from outside sources.
Health benefits: Hand washing gives a good workout, especially if you do some creative tinkering and do it by pedal power or treadmill power. Can save you money by canceling your membership to the gym. Better for the planet. Machines cannot claim this.
Water savings: The new water saving machines do not use enough water to thoroughly cleanse the clothes of all residue. Would need to actually measure the water used in hand washing to determine its water saving virtues.
Using the right (non toxic) detergents, both hand washed and machine water can be used as grey water.
Labor intensive: Hand washing is more directly labor intensive (but see labor saving.)
Soaking your clothes overnight can help remove dirt before washing when hand washing. Wet laundry can be heavy to lift.
Perhaps the kids can foot stomp your dirty clothes clean in their pool and make a game out of it.
Labor saving–depends on your definition
Hand washing involves your personal labor. With machines the labor is “transferred” as you work at your job to get money to keep the machine running. Therefore, both require labor directly or indirectly.
Noise factor: Hand washing is quieter (unless your kids are stomping your clothes in their rubber pool!)
Time saver: Machines rate high in this category if you consider that you are free to do something else while the machine is washing for you. And only if your income is at the level where you can afford to do the repairs.
Dangers to children: both are dangerous for children if left unattended as the child can fall into the hand washing water and drown. With machines, the child can get inside of the tub.
How many of our readers wash clothes by hand, care to share your tips and techniques?