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The Guide to Washing Delicates

You’ve got a pile of laundry, and nestled within are those delicate items that can’t withstand the regular wash cycle. Whether it’s a silk blouse, lace underwear, or a cashmere sweater, washing delicacies can be daunting. But fear not. I’m here to guide you through it.

Washing delicates doesn’t have to be a chore. You can keep your delicates looking fresh and new with a few tips and tricks. It’s all about knowing the proper techniques and using the appropriate products. So, let’s dive into the world of washing delicates and demystify the process.

Remember, your delicates are called ‘delicate’ for a reason. They need a little extra love and care. With the right approach, you’ll master the art of washing delicates in no time.

Selecting the Right Laundry Detergent

When it comes to washing delicates like silk, lace, and cashmere, the choice of laundry detergent plays a pivotal role. Not just any off-the-shelf product would do. We require a gentle detergent on our fabrics that is tough on dirt and stains.

As a veteran laundry-doer, I’d suggest a detergent formulated explicitly for delicates. The product you’re seeking should be gentle, pH neutral, and preferably free from harsh chemicals like bleach or brighteners. Listings, product details, and labels should affirm these qualities.

The market is filled with countless options, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. It’s helpful to stick to reputable brands with an established market presence and positive customer reviews. Always remember that saving a few bucks should not come at the cost of damaging your fine fabric.

There’s also the hotly debated topic of liquid versus powder detergent. Both have their merits. Liquid detergents dissolve quickly and are ideal for treating specific stains before washing. Powder detergents can be more cost-effective and environmentally friendly but might not dissolve entirely in colder water.

To further complicate matters, you’ve got specially formulated detergents for wool, silk, or colored fabrics. Going that extra mile can preserve the integrity and color of your fabrics, so consider these when choosing.

Sorting Your Delicates

As we move beyond the choice of detergents, the sorting process is another crucial step to maintaining the quality of your delicates. I can’t stress enough how important it is to sort your laundry before you start washing. Let’s be honest. We’ve all made the mistake of mixing colors and tearing ourselves up when we end up with pink socks or a lighter shade of our favorite shirt.

Firstly, separate light and dark-colored items. This primary step is essential as it helps prevent color transfer, which can drastically alter the appearance of your delicates. Keeping whites with whites and colors with colors is a golden rule worth following.

You’ve probably noticed care labels on your clothes. They’re not just frivolous attachments but precious information for garment care. Based on those instructions, make separate piles of delicates accepting similar wash treatments. Certain items might be hand-washed only or require a specific water temperature, so consider these while sorting.

Next, pay attention to the fabric type. Washing all your delicates together isn’t the wisest choice. Delicate fabrics like lace and silk demand gentle care, while wool and cashmere require dedicated detergents. I suggest making separate piles for different fabric types – one for lace, one for silk, one for wool, and so on.

According to BYU, checking for stains before tossing your delicates into the wash is a good practice. Stains require pre-treatment, and figuring out if you’ve got stained items during sorting can save you from intense scrubbing later.

Lastly, if you’re dealing with colored fabrics, a brilliant and prudent step is to test for colorfastness. You do this by applying a drop of water to a hidden area, dabbing it with a white cloth, and checking if the dye transfers to the fabric.

Once you’ve sorted your delicates, you are one step closer to ensuring their longevity and quality. As you invest time in sorting, you’ll soon appreciate the difference it makes to your precious delicates.

Hand-Washing Delicates

After sorting your laundry and choosing the perfect detergent, it’s time to delve into the intricacies of hand-washing your delicates. While it might seem daunting, with the proper knowledge and an understanding of the process, you’ll find it more straightforward than you initially thought.

Delicate items like pure silk, cashmere, or quality lingerie often need special attention. Hand washing ensures these garments remain in the best possible shape for longer, maintaining their appearance and texture.

Use a Clean Basin or Sink

Firstly, fill your clean basin or sink with cold water. Why cold water? Warm water can cause colors to bleed and possibly shrink certain materials. Remember, it’s not the heat but the gentle action of the water and the detergent that will clean your items.

Less is More

Secondly, regarding the detergent used for hand-washing, less is indeed more. A small amount of laundry detergent, about a teaspoonful, should suffice. Ensure the detergent is thoroughly mixed in the water before adding your garments. Don’t rush this process; let your clothes soak. An hour should be sufficient. But if you’re dealing with a delicate or heavily stained item, consider soaking it overnight.

Rinse and Dry Gently

Finally, rinse your garments thoroughly in cold water. Never wring out your delicates; gently squeeze the excess water out. For drying, lay your item flat on a clean towel and roll it up to absorb as much water as possible. Then, unroll the towel, reshape the garment on a dry towel, and let it air dry.

While this might seem like an extra step in caring for your delicate items, hand washing is a small act with a significant impact. It can significantly increase the lifespan and quality of your garments, ensuring they retain their charm and glamour for a long time.

Machine-Washing Delicates

Moving on from hand-washing, let’s delve deeper into the procedure of machine-washing delicates. Many of you might hesitate to put your delicate clothing items into a machine. Trust me, with the right approach, you can successfully machine-wash even the most fragile pieces in your wardrobe without causing any damage.

How to Select a Washing Machine Cycle

Ideally, you’d want to choose a cycle that mimics the gentle agitation of hand-washing. Most washing machines have a “delicates” or “hand-wash” cycle. This is your best bet for washing delicate items as it minimizes the wear and tear caused by rigorous washing. If your machine doesn’t have a specific delicate cycle, opt for a short, cold wash with a slow spin.

Using a Mesh Bag

Using a mesh laundry bag can protect your delicates. Place your garments in the bag before putting them into the washing machine. This will prevent them from getting tangled or snagged on other clothing items or parts of the machine.

Detergent Selection

As discussed earlier, picking the suitable laundry detergent is crucial for washing delicates. Use a mild, color-safe detergent that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals or brighteners. Liquid detergents are often more gentle than powder detergents.

Quantity Control

Overloading your washing machine can lead to unnecessary damage to your clothes. When washing delicates, remember to load your machine only halfway. This gives your garments enough space to move freely and get cleaned thoroughly.

By carefully selecting your washing machine cycle, using mesh bags for added protection, and controlling the quantity of your load, you’ll keep your delicate items in tip-top shape. Washing machines may seem intimidating for delicate garments, but you’ll manage just fine with the above tactics.

Drying and Storing Delicates

Reaching the culmination of the process, it’s time to tackle drying your delicate items. Remember, doing this right is crucial for preserving the item’s shape, size, and fabric integrity.

Here’s a simple guideline: Always air-dry delicates. This practice allows fragile fabrics the time they need to slowly return to their previous shape and size without the damaging impacts of a machine dryer’s heat. Lay the items on a clean, dry towel, then roll it up to extract the excess water. 

Unroll the towel and let the garment air dry completely on a flat surface, away from direct sunlight, to prevent color fading and damage. Consider using a drying rack for a wrinkle-free finish for items like silk or lace.

Switching gears to storing your delicates, it’s essential to dedicate some attention to this phase. It ensures your items stay fresh, unwrinkled, and undamaged until the next wear.

For lingerie and bras in particular, remember these rules:

  • Never hang bras. They might lose their shape. Instead, stack them in a drawer with the cups inside each other.
  • Invest in proper garment bags or boxes for lingerie and hosiery. Store them separately from other clothing, preferably in cool, dark spaces.
  • Do not fold lingerie items like silk robes or slips. These need to be hung to keep their shape and texture intact.

Invest in moth-repelling products for other delicate items, such as cashmere or other delicate knits. This will help keep your pieces formaldehyde-free and safe.

Dealing with delicates is not just about washing and wearing them but about maintaining longevity. So, please don’t rush the drying; give storing the attention it deserves. Use quality hangers, suitable garment bags, and the correct organization method for the most satisfactory results.

What goes hand in hand with drying and storing delicates? Ironing. That’s right. In the upcoming section, let’s get into ironing and how to do it right.


Taking care of your delicates doesn’t have to be a daunting task. It’s all about paying attention to the details. Every step counts, from selecting the suitable detergent to understanding the art of hand-washing. Remember, cold water and minimal detergent are your allies when hand-washing. When machine-washing, choose the proper cycle and use mesh bags for protection. Refrain from overloading your machine, and always opt for quality detergents. And let’s remember the importance of drying and storing your delicates correctly. Air drying is your best bet to maintain the shape and integrity of your items. Use the right hangers, garment bags, and moth-repelling products to keep your delicates looking their best. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to master the art of washing delicates in no time.

Utilizing Clotheslyne for Delicate Laundry

For those who prefer a professional touch or lack the time for hand washing, Clotheslyne offers a convenient solution. You can hire Clotheslyners through the app to expertly wash, dry, and fold your delicates.

How You Can Use Clotheslyne

Using Clotheslyne ensures your delicate garments are treated with care and expertise. This service is ideal for those who value their delicate clothing but may need more resources or time to handle them appropriately.

To use Clotheslyne, download the iOS Apple App or Google Play Store Android app to schedule your laundry pick up and folded clothes drop off date with a community Clotheslyner near you! It’s that simple.

FREE pickup and delivery laundry services for less than drop-off at your local laundromat!