Hand Wash vs Machine Wash | Advantages of Hand Washing

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Which type of washing is better for your clothes depends on the availability of your free time, your willingness to do physical activity and labor, type of fabric, and the wash instruction written on your cloth. 

The difference between handwashing and machine washing lies in the intensity with which the fabrics are agitated and rinsed. 

Your washing machine will not be as gentle as you will be when you wash by hand.

Hand Washing your Clothes

When there were no washing machines then our ancestors had only one option – hand wash their clothes.

It does not require any sophisticated equipment or the use of electricity.

Anyone can hand wash, you need a tub, water and some cleaning agent like a soap or detergent.

It is the cheapest and popular way of cleaning among the masses of developing countries.


1. It is delicate on clothes

In the washing machine, the clothes rub with each other due to agitation but in handwashing you rub the clothes with your hand.

This is very light on the fabric.

The lesser the agitation, the lesser will be the damage to the fabric at the microscopic level.

The clothes will remain as new for a long time due to less friction while washing.

Clothes also need to dry out after washing. If someone does not have a washer at home then he/she will put the clothes in the sun which is again delicate on the clothes but if you use the dry cycle in the washing machine then it is somewhat harsh on the cloth.

2. Better Cleaning 

For overall cleaning of several clothes, a washer does a fine job but when it comes to removing stain spots then hand wash is best.

You can directly scrub on the stain spots with the soap, you can use a scrubber.

Hand washing clothes is effective and is suitable for cleaning specific spots of fabric.

3. Better for delicate clothes

Delicate clothes made of linen, silk, very thin cotton, etc are delicate and cannot be washed inside a washer.

They can only be hand washed.


Because they are delicate and hand wash is light for the fabric. 

Every Cloth has a tag on it with instructions for cleaning. Delicate clothes will have instructions for only hand washing along with instructions to prohibit washing in the washing machine.

wash label on a cloth

Above you can see the instruction tag for a cloth which clearly indicates to machine wash at 86 °F. Instructs to not use tumble dry and vice versa.


1. Uses more water

tap water

Hand washing may consume less water when washing 2-4 clothes but when it comes to washing many clothes at once like clothes of the entire family then the water consumption is huge.

Washing machines, especially the front load washer are highly effective in saving water and consume less water.

If your area has a scarcity of water then washing by hand may not be a good option.

2. Takes your crucial time

Hand washing requires you to invest your crucial time.

If you are a working lad then your time is valuable, your free time can be used in other productive works other than washing clothes.

3. Requires Physical exertion

Washing clothes by hand demands physical labor and hard work.

It needs physical activity and exertion.

In the washing machine the agitation or rubbing is done by the agitator or impeller but in hand wash your arms work as the agitator.

You get your cardio done during hand wash. Some may even say handwashing is like going to the gym.

I get easily lethargic after cleaning my clothes by hand.

4. One Cannot clean all clothes at once

If you are thinking of cleaning the clothes of your entire family in one go then you are mistaken.

This is possible in the case of a washing machine but not for washing by hand.

You will have to take a few clothes first and wash them then take the next batch of clothes for the wash.

Machine Washing the clothes

In the modern age, we have many sophisticated machines which make our lives easier and ourself fat by reducing our physical activity.

Machine washing is one such appliance. Just dump your dirty clothes and turn ON the machine, it will automatically wash, clean, and dry the clothes.


1. No labor required

You need no physical activity for washing clothes when using a washer.

Depending on the washer, just dump the clothes, turn ON the power, put some detergent, and the machine will automatically fill the water, use detergent, wash and dry out the clothes after some time.

You do not have to strain your body here.

Only in the case of semi-automatic washers, you will need to perform some physical labor, which is shifting the clothes from the washer drum to the spin drum.

2. Save Time

In case of fully-automatic washers, everything is done automatically after placing your dirty clothes and setting the appropriate wash setting.

Once the wash cycle starts you need not to worry till it finishes.

Till then you can work on something productive or watch your favourite show.

3. Clothes come out clean and dry in one go

There are three steps for washing clothes both by hand wash or machine wash.

  1. Wash
  2. Rinse
  3. Spin

In hand wash you need to first wash the clothes then rinse in freshwater both manually. 

There is no spin here. 

For drying your clothes, put them in sunlight.

But in a fully-automatic washer, all the steps are done automatically without manual intervention.

All the steps of washing, rinsing, and drying are done in one go.

This is true in fully-automatic washers.

4. You can wash more clothes at once

Washing machine comes in various capacities – 6.5 kg, 7 kg, 8 kg, etc.

These can accommodate lots of clothes.

You can wash several clothes at once. 

Washing clothes once a week leads to piling up of dirty clothes. With a washer, you can easily wash lots of clothes in one go.


1. Not suitable for all types of fabric.

Washing machine uses agitation for rubbing of clothes, this is a little harsh on clothes depending upon the wash setting.

Each fabric is different, some are delicate like linen, silk, etc and some are tough like nylon.

Delicate clothes cannot be washed inside a washer.

2. Harsh on clothes

Two types of washing machines which are top load and front load use pulsator wash and tumble wash respectively.

Both are somewhat harsh on your clothes. 

You cannot see the effect on the clothes with your naked eyes. But there is wear and tear at the microscopic level.

This lowers the life of a cloth.

3. Consumes Power

Unlike hand washing which requires your physical effort and drains your energy.

Washing machine consumes electricity for running, increasing your electricity bill.

We have written an entire article on how to check power consumption of washing machine. Do check it out.

Delicate wash is the nearest to hand wash

If you have reached till this section then you would know that hand washing is delicate and effective on clothes while washing machine is economical, saves time but a little harsh on clothes.

If you are thinking of how to get the benefits of hand wash with a washing machine.

Then the nearest you can get in the washing machine is the “Delicate Wash” setting.

This setting is supposed to be delicate on clothes similarly to hand washing, though not close.

In this mode, the washing machine uses less agitation for rubbing clothes, takes more time, and consumes more water.

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