How To Wash Clothes in the Shower

How To Wash Clothes in the Shower

Got caught in a laundry dilemma with no access to a washing machine?

Sometimes, life presents us with unexpected challenges, like being away from home or encountering laundry emergencies while travelling.

We’re about to unveil the art of washing clothes in the shower—a handy skill every laundry adventurer needs in their repertoire.

So, roll up your sleeves, embrace your inner laundry hero, and let’s dive into the world of suds and spins right in the comfort of your shower.

Get ready for an immersive cleansing experience that leaves your clothes looking pristine and you feeling like a triumphant laundry maestro!

The following guide works best in shower bathtubs. However, it will also work in a regular shower.


Do This Before You Start

Before embarking on your shower washing adventure, a little preparation goes a long way in ensuring a smooth and efficient process.

Here’s what you need to do to get ready:

Sort and organise your laundry

laundry sorting basket

When preparing for a shower wash, it’s essential to sort your laundry by colour and fabric type.

This way, you can avoid colour bleeding mishaps and ensure that delicate items receive the gentle treatment they deserve.

Separate dark, light, and coloured garments into different piles. Additionally, set aside any heavily soiled or stained items that may require extra attention during the washing process.


Gather essential supplies

laundry materials and handwashing symbol

To achieve optimal cleaning results, gather the necessary supplies before you step into the shower.

You’ll need a mild laundry soap or laundry detergent suitable for hand-washing. Opt for a formula that is gentle on fabrics but tough on stains.

Don’t forget to have a scrub brush or soft-bristled brush at hand to help remove dirt and grime effectively.

Furthermore, a drain stopper or a makeshift alternative like a small towel can be handy. If you’re washing your clothes in a freestanding shower, you will have to wash each item separately.


Pre-treating stains

pre-treat stains

Treating stains before the shower wash can significantly improve the chances of removing them successfully.

Identify any stubborn spots or marks on your clothes and apply an appropriate stain remover or a bit of soap directly to the affected areas.

Gently rub or dab the stain to work in the pre-treatment solution, allowing it to penetrate the fabric fibres before the main washing process.


Cleaning Your Clothes in the Shower

The following steps will give you the best outcome for your clothes.

1. Prepare the area

Clear any clutter from the shower or bathtub to create ample space for your laundry.

Ensure that the shower area is clean and free of any residue or debris that could potentially transfer onto your clothes.


2. Fill the tub or use a basin for water

fill tub with water

Plug the drain using a stopper or a makeshift solution like a small towel or plastic bag to prevent water from draining out.

Adjust the water temperature to a comfortable level. Remember, lukewarm water is usually best for most fabrics.

Fill the tub or a basin with enough water to submerge your laundry fully. Be mindful not to overfill, as you’ll need space to agitate and rinse the clothes.


3. Add soap and agitate the water

Add the appropriate amount of laundry soap or detergent to the water. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended dosage.

Swirl the water with your hands or use a gentle stirring motion to create suds and distribute the soap evenly.


4. Soak and scrub the clothes

Submerge your sorted and pre-treated garments into the soapy water, one piece at a time.

Gently agitate the clothes in the water, ensuring that each item is thoroughly soaked and exposed to the cleaning solution.

Pay special attention to stained or heavily soiled areas, using your scrub brush or fingers to gently work the soap into the fabric and help loosen dirt and grime.


5. Rinse and wring out excess water

wring out clothes

Turn off the shower or fill a clean basin with clean water for rinsing.

Remove each garment from the soapy water and immerse it in the clean water, gently swishing and squeezing to remove soap residue.

Continue rinsing each item until the water runs clear, indicating that the soap has been thoroughly removed.

To wring out excess water, carefully squeeze the garments without twisting or stretching them excessively. Avoid wringing delicate fabrics too forcefully.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully completed the shower washing process.

Now it’s time to move on to the next stage—drying and caring for your freshly cleaned clothes.


Drying Your Clothes

drying rack

After completing the shower washing process, it’s crucial to properly dry and care for your freshly cleaned clothes.

While you may not have access to machines like a tumble dryer, here are some effective drying methods and care tips to ensure your garments dry efficiently and maintain their quality.


Find a well-ventilated area in your home or accommodation where you can hang your clothes to air-dry.

Use hangers, clotheslines, or a drying rack to hang the garments individually, ensuring proper airflow around them. Avoid overcrowding the drying area to prevent excessive wrinkling.



For certain items, such as lightweight fabrics or undergarments, towel-drying can expedite the drying process.

Lay a clean, absorbent towel on a flat surface, place the garment on top, and roll the towel tightly, gently pressing to remove excess water.

Repeat the process with dry towels as needed until the clothing item is damp rather than soaking wet.

woman hanging wet clothes to dry indoors


Avoid direct sunlight to prevent fabric damage

While sunlight can aid in drying, excessive exposure to direct sunlight can cause colours to fade and delicate fabrics to become brittle.

Choose a shaded area or an indoor spot away from direct sunlight to hang your clothes for drying. This helps preserve their colours and maintain their structural integrity.


Dry delicate garments with care

Delicate fabrics, such as silk, lace, or wool, require extra care during the drying process. Lay them flat on a clean, absorbent towel or a drying rack, shaping them back into their original form.

Avoid using clothespins or hanging such delicate items, as they may stretch or damage the fabric. Instead, let gravity gently pull them down as they dry on a flat surface.


Give clothes long enough to dry

Depending on the thickness and type of fabric, air-drying can take anywhere from a few hours to a day or more.

Exercise patience and give your clothes sufficient time to dry completely before wearing or storing them.

To check if a garment is fully dry, touch it with your hand to ensure there are no damp spots or residual moisture.

By following these drying and care tips, you’ll ensure that your clothes dry effectively and maintain their quality without the need for a tumble dryer.

Embrace the natural drying process, and remember that a little patience goes a long way in achieving perfectly dried and cared-for garments.


Common Challenges and How to Solve Them

While washing clothes in the shower is generally a straightforward process, you may encounter a few common challenges along the way.

Here are some tips to help you troubleshoot and overcome these obstacles for a successful shower wash.

Removing stubborn stains effectively

Remove Ink from Clothes Using bicarbonate of soda paste

If you find that a stain hasn’t completely come out after the shower wash, avoid drying the garment immediately. Instead, repeat the pre-treatment process and rewash the item.

For particularly stubborn stains, you can try spot-treating with a specialised stain remover or using a paste made from bicarbonate of soda and water.

Apply the treatment directly to the stain, gently rub it in, and allow it to sit for a while before rinsing and rewashing the garment.


Dealing with limited space and larger loads

If you have limited space in your shower or bathtub, consider washing smaller loads at a time to ensure thorough cleaning and adequate water circulation.

Alternatively, if you have a larger load to wash, you can divide it into two or more batches and wash them consecutively, ensuring you have enough time and space for each batch.


Tackling delicate or sensitive fabrics

using mesh laundry bags for underwear

Delicate fabrics, such as silk or lace, require extra care during the washing process.

Consider placing them in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase before submerging them in the water. This will provide an additional layer of protection and prevent excessive agitation.

For sensitive fabrics that may be prone to shrinking or stretching, use cooler water and minimize the amount of time spent soaking or agitating them.

Gently squeeze and pat these fabrics instead of vigorously scrubbing or wringing them out.

Remember, each laundry challenge presents an opportunity for you to adapt and find the best solution.

With a little patience and experimentation, you’ll become adept at troubleshooting and overcoming any hurdles that come your way during the shower washing process.


Can You Wash Clothes in Just Water?

handwashing clothes

Washing your clothes in just water can be tempting if you’re looking for a more eco-friendly way to do your laundry or if you’re concerned about using too much laundry detergent.

However, the effectiveness of washing your clothes in just water depends on a few factors.

Firstly, if your clothes are lightly soiled and don’t have any stains or odours, washing them in just water may be enough to get them clean.

However, if your clothes are heavily soiled, you may need to use some form of laundry detergent to get them clean.

Secondly, the type of fabric your clothes are made of can also affect how well they’ll be cleaned with just water.

For example, synthetic fabrics like polyester may not absorb water as easily as natural fabrics like cotton, which may result in dirt and stains not being effectively removed.

Lastly, the temperature of the water you’re using can also play a role in how well your clothes will be cleaned.

Hot water is generally more effective at removing dirt and stains, but it can also cause shrinkage and damage to certain fabrics.

Washing your clothes in just water can be effective for lightly soiled clothes made of natural fabrics, but it may not be enough for heavily soiled clothes or synthetic fabrics.

If you do decide to wash your clothes in just water, make sure to use hot water and give your clothes a thorough scrubbing to ensure they’re as clean as possible.



dirty clothes in laundry basket and shower

Congratulations on mastering the art of washing clothes in the shower!

With this versatile and eco-friendly method, you can keep your garments clean and fresh without relying on traditional laundry facilities.

By following the step-by-step process and implementing drying and care tips, you have learned how to effectively wash and maintain your clothes.

Troubleshooting techniques have equipped you to overcome common challenges, ensuring a successful shower wash every time.

Now you have the power to take control of your laundry, no matter where you are.

Embrace the convenience and flexibility of shower washing as a resourceful alternative.

Step into the shower with dirty clothes and emerge with a sense of accomplishment and clothes that are ready to wear.