Towels soaking in a blue bowl with water and detergent.

How to Soak Clothes

Sometimes, a stain can be so heavy or widespread that it needs a long soak to help loosen its grip before you wash your clothing in the machine. You might think that this is a pretty straightforward task – and you’d be right – but there are a few things to think about before you go ahead and start to pre-soak laundry. Here’s how to soak clothes!

How to pre-soak clothes

1) Make sure your clothes are colour fast. Soaking clothes overnight (or for any long stretch of time) can loosen the dye and cause fading if the item isn’t colour fast. So how can you tell what’s safe to soak and hand wash? The label should help you out, but if not, a quick colour fastness test is your friend: find out how to do it here

2) Check your fabric type. Certain fabrics don’t respond well to prolonged soaking. If your garment is made of wool, silk, or leather, or has a flame resistant finish, it’s sometimes best to find another way to remove the stain. Here are some guides to help: 

Clothing with metal fasteners are also bad candidates for a soak – you don’t want to encourage your buttons and zips to rust. 

3) Fill up a plastic bucket or basin with water. It’s best to avoid using an enamel bath or basin to soak laundry. Make sure the temperature isn’t too hot for your fabric or dye (check the labels on your clothes to be sure) and that there’s enough room to fully submerge your clothes. 

4) Add the detergent to the water. Check the label for the correct dosage. You’ll want to make sure the detergent is fully dissolved before you put the garment in. Wear gloves, and make sure you’re working in a well-ventilated area, especially if you’re soaking with bleach.

5) Add your clothes to begin your laundry soak. Make sure that your clothes aren’t scrunched up: you want the water to reach all of the fabric. As with a normal wash, it’s also very important that white and coloured articles are soaked separately, not together, especially white nylon.

There you have it – all you need to know to pre-soak laundry. Still wondering how to tackle that stain? Find more handy laundry guides right here in the dedicated stain removal section on our site.

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