Hand Wash vs Washing Machine: Which one is better?

Ever since the washing machines were invented, to this day there has always been a necessity to hand wash clothes at some point or the other. We have also had to invest some time in washing clothes by hand, let’s face it. It could have been either to remove dome stain from a fabric or hand wash is what the care instruction demands.

The debate runs on everyone’s head when we notice a change in the texture of the fabrics of garments after every laundry, we worry if we are ruining our clothes with every cleaning process in the washing machine at its microscopic level, we wonder if the gentle cycle on the washing machine and the dryer is really gentle at all.

All these concerns are validated, and it is natural for you to worry. There are many recent articles that point out clearly the advantages and disadvantages of machine washing. Here we will discuss the battle between Hand Washing VS Washing Machine as well. Let us get to know which would work best for you.

Benefits of washing clothes by hand

using hand to wash

Hand washing clothes is sometimes a way of life, a choice or necessity. Certain types of garments and fabric like silk, delicate clothes, etc., may come with care instructions that advise you to avoid machine washing. However, hand washing on a regular basis is difficult, a big deal and you need to have sufficient time in your hands.

There is a certain set of benefits that come with washing clothes by hand, like all you need is your wet clothes, some soap or detergent and know the right amount of agitation the stains during the cleaning process need. Although electricity bill concerns are out of the question, you have to think about water usage and how much you save or lose. Let us look into the other advantages to hand washing clothes.

1. Delicate cleaning:

Washing machines do come as a savior in washing clothes and consume less time and save you a lot of trouble and physical energy, but they can never be gentle on your clothes. Machine washing will alter the texture of cloth and fabric.

Hand washing is delicate on all types of clothes since you are in control of the agitation process. Whereas in a machine, the machine does the agitation, and when the clothes rub a lot of f damage is done to the fabrics at the microscopic level.

While washing your clothes by hand the entire cleaning process is delicate. You use less of everything. It is less water, less energy, less agitation, less liquid detergent or soap. Once you rinse the clothes, you can sun dry the laundry. Avoiding the dryer is again gentle on the clothes.

The hand wash cycle is far better than any wash cycle, even better than the delicate cycle that washing machines guarantee you. If you have the time to hand wash, it is highly recommended you do that to save and maintain the quality of any garment.

2. Clean to perfection:

Cleaning clothes that have dirt or stains on them at specific spots cannot be run in a washer along with a huge load. The hand wash cycle is the best way to remove any stain immediately. You save time and the fabric by making use of a little detergent, some cold water, and giving the stain a quick rinse.

Although a washer seems highly efficient in running a huge load of clothes, the washing process is harsh on clothes. Hand washing is not just delicate in comparison to machines, but it also removes dirt effectively.

3. Recommended choice for delicates:

Washing delicate clothes by hand is the most recommended choice. Some fabrics like silk, linen, light cotton, etc., are too delicate to be washed in a washer. You can always go back to the tag that almost every cloth comes with, to check for the instruction on how to wash them.

Delicate clothes require delicate cleaning, and that is why machine wash must be avoided for them. This is highly suggested since there is a difference in the way you clean clothes when you are washing your clothes by hand. Machine wash can never be as gentle as your hands.

Benefits of washing clothes by washing machines

how does a semi automatic work

Washing machines make our life so much easier. When faced with the battle hand wash vs washing machine, we choose washing machines almost every time!

Washing machines save us from all the difficult aspects that come along when you opt for hand washing your clothes like they consume more time and physical energy.

With washing machines, be it fully automatic or semi-automatic; all you got to do is put your garments into the machine, add some liquid detergent, turn ON the machine, dry the wet clothes, and move on to the next batch of load. Let us look at the advantages that come with washing your clothes in a washing machine.

Save physical energy:

Washing machines will save you the trouble of straining your body to do the laundry. You just have to turn the machine ON and forget about it.

A fully automatic model will even ensure your wet clothes have been dried. The physical energy required to clean clothes is nothing!

However, in a semi-automatic model, you will have to move the washed clothes from the rinse drum to the spin drum. This is also simple unlike more energy than hand-washed clothes demand.


You can save time using washing machines. Fully automatic models can convert your dirty laundry into clean ones in just a matter of time. You can certainly save time and use the waiting period elsewhere. Just start the wash cycle and forget about the machine.

Semi-automatic models also help you save a lot of time and energy in comparison to washing your clothes by hand.

More clothing in less time

Although machines use more water you must admit they work on more clothing as well. Washers are available to accommodate a heavy load, control how much water you use (less water for light loads), delicate cycle options, and more.

Whether you have front loading washing machines or top-loading machines, you can still wash a lot of clothing in one wash cycle which cannot be done in a hand wash cycle.

Disadvantages of hand washing

tub of clothes to wash

1. Water usage

The hand wash cycle for just a couple of delicate clothes might require less water, but when it comes to more clothing you will require more. If your household is faced with water scarcity issues you will be wasting excess water by washing your clothes by hand.

A front-loading washing machine is a preferred model to consume less water and energy. You can opt for this washer to prevent water wastage.

2. Energy

To wash clothes by hand your body will have to spend more energy. You don’t just consume a lot of time, but also energy and strength which can lead to exhaustion, even if you intend to give less agitation.

When clothes rub, the friction and agitation created helps to clean them. This is done by an agitator or impeller in washing machines, whereas when done by hand it is going to take up a lot of strength.

Disadvantages of machine washing

which washing machine to buy

1. More power

The biggest disadvantage people find is the expense and high electricity bill. Whether you use front loading washing machines, warm water or cold water, semi or fully automatic model- washing machines use a lot of energy.

If you have to wash several loads of laundry a day, you will be faced with a big electricity bill.

2. Harsh on clothes

Washing machines can never imitate the gentleness of a hand wash cycle. They will be harsh on your clothing and affect the quality of any fabric or garment. When clothes rub even during the delicate cycle, they will not be equal to hand washing your clothes. Any could easily misshapen since it is a machine and you have little control over it.

Our Verdict: 

Who should go for hand washing?

hand washing or machine wash

You can opt for hand washing if:
✔ You have sufficient time and physical energy to spare.
✔ You have restrictions on power and water supply.
✔ Delicate clothing demands only hand wash.

Who should go for machine washing?

Loading clothes in front loader

You can opt for machine washing if:
✔ You do not have restrictions on power and water supply.
✔ Several loads of laundry are to be washed on a regular basis.
✔ You do not have time to spare.

1. Is delicate wash the same as hand wash?

No. A delicate wash involves more agitation than a hand wash, even if it is in a front loading washing machine.

The time taken by the washer to do any type of washing and drying is harmful to the fabric. All delicate clothing should be hand washed and sun-dried to preserve its quality. 

2. How many times you can machine wash in a day?

A girl using top load washing machine

You can use your washing machine as many times as required in a day to wash clothing. However, remember to always rest the machine for half an hour before you run the next batch.

3. How does a washing machine make life easier?

The washing machine is a great invention that makes cleaning and drying clothing faster, easier, and convenient.

4. Is hand washing clothes better for the environment?

Yes. You can conserve water (if it is for less amount of clothing), energy, and detergents. A front-loading washing machine uses a lot less water as well, but running any electrical appliance takes up energy.

Washing clothes by hand is a lot better for the environment.

5. How much time washing machine takes?

A regular washing cycle will take anywhere between 60 minutes to an hour and a half. However, different washers have options to have cycles for a shorter time span as well.

Wrapping Up

We have reached the end of this blog post. We trust you are clear about the pros and cons of hand wash vs washing machine. Let us know in the feedback form which among the two works best for your home and the washing cycles you experiment with.

About the Author

Neha Pik

Neha Tiwari, Member at Homezilla.in

Neha is the one who is aware of current trends and best practices in our desi community. She also helps and educates people looking for a solution to their problems via online. Her work has been published on countless blogs and notable magazines.