Fabrics like silk, lace, wool, chiffon, and velvet are considered delicates. That’s because the material tends to break or shrink more easily and a lot more can go wrong when washing them inside a machine using conventional settings. To avoid disappointment from accidental shrinkage or discoloration, clothes made from delicate fabrics should be treated with extra care when washing. But this needn’t be a daunting process. With just a little extra preparation, laundering fine fabrics is easy enough.
Study The Label
Before you begin, check the label on the inside of your garment. You can find a guide to laundry care symbols here. These will usually help you to identify if a fine fabric can be washed in a machine or should be washed by hand, and at what temperature. If a label says, ‘dry clean only’, leave it to the professionals.
Separate Your Delicate Items By Type
It’s a good idea to sort your clothes by fabric type before washing them. That’s because washing velvet with silk, for example, could result in some undesirable issues. If you must wash items together, it’s best to use laundry bags for each group of fabrics.
How To Hand Wash Delicates
Some items of clothing will need to be washed by hand. Before you begin, it could be worth assessing whether you have hard or soft water. Hard water tends to result in laundry that feels stiffer and looks more discolored. Detergents also won’t lather up as well. Luckily, there are ways to convert hard water to soft water
- Pretreat stains: Before you wash your delicates, treat any larger stains using a special solution. Cuffs and collars are areas that get stained easily and should be carefully examined.
- Fill a basin with warm water and detergent: You’ll probably want to use a special detergent for your delicate fabrics. There are a few things to look out for when searching for laundry detergent for silk and wool fabrics. Soak your fabrics in the basin for up to 30 minutes.
- Rinse: Afterwards, rinse the garment with cold water.
- Press, don’t twist: Avoid twisting delicate fabrics as this can destroy the structure. Instead, press the fabric to get the water out or lay it on top of a towel.
- Hang to dry: Delicate fabrics often don’t fare well inside a machine dryer, that’s why it’s best to hang them to dry.
Machine Wash Fine Fabrics
If the garment label allows you to machine wash an item, select the handwash mode on your machine. As before, pretreat any stains by hand before adding the items to the machine. Turn the delicates inside out and close any buttons or zippers. Afterward, hang your items to dry.
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