Here’s a mind-blowing fact for you: About 90% of items labeled dry clean can actually be washed at home. In fact, washing at home is better for delicate fabrics like woolens and silk, as the dry cleaning process uses harsh chemicals that can cause damage over time. (Not to mention you’ll be saving some serious money and time, too!) So go ahead and ditch your dry cleaner and start washing these five fabrics at home with our super simple guide.
No matter the fabric composition, always begin by pretreating stains. If the stain is oil-based, lather The Laundress Wash & Stain Bar with cool water and gently work it into the affected area with a finger or The Laundress Stain Brush. If it’s tannin-based (think juice, wine, coffee, or tea), use The Laundress Stain Solution. For stubborn stains that won’t let up, soak the garment in cool water for up to 30 minutes to allow the formula to penetrate the fabric.
Silk fabrics are prone to bleeding, so it’s smart to test them first. Grab a small section of hem from the underside of the garment and dip it in warm water. If you see dye seep into the water, wash it individually (if it’s a solid color) to avoid staining other items. If it’s patterned, avoid washing at home.
Turn your silk inside out. Fill a basin or sink with cool water and add two capfuls of The Laundress Delicate Wash. Submerge the item and gently swirl the water around with your hands until the detergent is fully dissolved. Soak for no longer than 30 minutes.
Run cool water over the garment until it rinses clean. To remove excess water, don’t wring! Instead, press the water out with your hands or against the sink.
Hang to dry or lay the item flat in its natural shape. Once dry to the touch, steam to release wrinkles and bring out the silk’s natural luster. Between washes, a misting of The Laundress Delicate Spray will refresh the fabric and banish any odor.
Flip the item inside out to halt friction and fading while washing.
Add two capfuls of The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo (many detergents can be harsh on your fabrics, but this one is pH-neutral and ultra gentle) to a basin or sink of cool water. Submerge the garment, agitate with your hands, then soak for 30 minutes. If you’d rather use a washing machine, place the item in a protective Mesh Bag to prevent snagging and use the following settings: Cold water + woolens or delicate cycle + low tumble.
If you hand washed, run cool water over the item until it’s no longer soapy. Gently press against your sink or basin to drain water from the fabric—don’t wring or twist.
Lay the garment flat on a drying rack or clean towel. To avoid damage and shrinkage, keep away from direct sunlight and sources of heat such as a radiator. In a rush? Lay your item flat on a towel, then roll both upwards, as if you’re rolling a burrito. This will quickly sop up excess water.
Ironing can crush or flatten the natural pile of the yarns. Instead, steam to remove creases, or give your garment a spritz of The Laundress Crease Release. Pesky pilling? For cashmere, glide a The Laundress Sweater Comb over the fabric in one direction to remove them; for wool, use the The Laundress Sweater Stone. Brushing your cashmere or wool between wears with a The Laundress Cashmere Brush will also release the fabric’s natural oils and keep it looking new. In between washes, refresh with The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Spray, which is made with antibacterial ingredients and has a warm cedar scent.
Some velvet items, like blazers, suits, and upholstery should be dry cleaned. For at-home care, we recommend spot treating stains only with The Laundress Wash & Stain Bar and The Laundress Lint-Free Cleansing Cloth: Wet the bar, gently work it into the stain, then remove soap and residue with the cloth.
It’s the safest method for laundering your velvets! In a wash bin or sink of cool water, mix in a squirt of The Laundress Delicate Wash, add your items, then mix with your hands. Allow to sit for up to 30 minutes.
Run cool water through the item until it rinses clear of soap.
Press the garment to drain extra water. When it comes to drying, you have three options: You can air dry by laying the garment on a flat surface or drying rack, hang to dry, or you can put it in the dryer on the low heat and “fluff” settings (this prevents the velvet from crushing).
Never iron this type of fabric—it will flatten the natural pile of the velvet. Steam instead. And because velvet is prone to dust, lint, and fuzz buildup, you can give it a brush with The Laundress Clothing & Upholstery Brush when you need.
Wash your linen with The Laundress Signature Detergent on the normal cycle with hot water. Add one capful each of The Laundress All-Purpose Bleach Alternative for a boost of brightening power and The Laundress Fabric Conditioner to soften and reduce static and wrinkles.
Linen is sturdy enough for high heat in the dryer. It’s prone to wrinkling, so to make ironing easier, remove from the dryer before the cycle is up so that the fabric is still a bit damp. Then iron or stem on the highest temperature setting to loosen up creasing and lay flat to dry completely.