I have a lot of clothes I hand-wash, including clothes that say "Dry Clean Only"* and I hand-wash a lot of the random thrift store clothes I buy that seem a little delicate or vintage. Only the problem is....over the years, I have acquired a lot of clothes that I would put in the "hand-wash" category. And as someone who doesn't want to be hand-washing stuff regularly every week to stay on top of it, I usually procrastinate until I get a large pile of things that need to be hand-washed. And then I wait. And wait some more. And when I finally really want to wear something in the pile enough, I wash that and as many other things as I can fit on my drying rack and hanging in the shower. But even after that, it doesn't begin to put a dent in the load. And I am tired again of the effort of hand-washing, so I end up waiting a while before hand-washing some more. It is has been a bit of a sisyphean struggle.
But today, while trying to figure out the right way to hand-wash some vintage dresses I bought recently, I ran across the brilliant idea of putting delicate clothes in a pillow case and tying it up to go in the washer on delicate cycle with Woolite. So, I grabbed two white pillow cases and tossed one probably-should-be-dry-cleaned-white-vintage-dress in each.** And the verdict is: they came out of the wash and look perfect. Whiter, clean, and no damage. Amazing. I already have in another load in the washer including a couple of dark previously-hand-wash-but-now-pillow-case items. Whew. This short cut has me looking forward to less hand-washing and more time wearing fun clothes that previously spent long lengths of time in hanging out in the dirty "hand-wash" pile.
*For some of the "Dry Clean Only" clothes that seem to be at risk of damage with hand-washing (wool sweaters, etc), I use Dryell. I once worked at a dry cleaners, and since those four days of employment there, I am a firm believer in Dryell. My job at the cleaners was steaming and ironing ladies dresses, and I must say that dry cleaning does not get B.O. out.
**They were two for $15....I can not bring myself to pay to dry clean them and have not yet been able to find Dryell in Canada.