A lot of us end up learning the hard way that delicate clothes require an entirely different laundering process from our more rugged jeans, cotton t-shirts, and sweats. If you’ve ever ended up damaging your favorite silk blouse or pair of underwear by throwing it into a “normal” cycle with the rest of your laundry, then you know what we mean. Luckily, delicates come with care labels that tell you exactly what they require in order to be thoroughly cleaned without fading, wearing or shrinking.
What are Delicates?
Delicates refer to any clothing items made from materials that are likely to become damaged if washed using a standard laundry cycle, either by shrinking, discoloring, stretching, tearing, etc. Think of your silk dress, your lace lingerie, or your cashmere sweater. Delicates, like all clothing garments, should come with a care label that confirms that it does belong in the delicate category, and therefore must be washed according to special instructions.
How to Wash Delicates
So, let’s cover how to wash your colored clothes, in order to keep them looking nice and of course, perfectly clean. However, before doing so, make sure your washing machine is clean, as this should be done every once in a while to ensure it doesn’t make your clothes dirtier. Also, AVOID hand washing or machine washing extra fine silk, suede, leather, feathers, fur, and other fragile fabrics.
- Look at the care label of each item in your delicates pile. Some may specify “hand wash only” or “dry clean only.” Follow these instructions carefully, and separate garments into smaller piles of like items, such as washing all of your lingerie together, or all of your cashmere garments together.
- You’ll also want to separate light and dark colors as you normally do.
- Fasten your delicates if they have hooks and eyes. Otherwise, the hooks can snag the other items and cause tears in the fragile materials.
- For delicates that can be machine-washed, put them into a mesh wash bag, keeping like items together according to the piles you made earlier. You can typically fit up to a few different loaded mesh bags into a load of laundry. Again, make sure not to mix color types.
- Wash your machine-washable delicates with Grab Green Delicate Laundry Detergent Pods, since they’re ideal for fine fabrics and linens. Follow accordingly to the instructions on the detergent's packaging. Also, make sure to use the washing machine’s “delicates” or “gentle” cycle which is designed specifically for delicate materials. Newer washing machines even have a “hand wash” cycle. This means garments that are supposed to be hand-washed according to their care label can be cleaned using this cycle. If there’s an option to do so, run a pre-soak cycle, which will help clean these materials better.
- For garments that require much more specific, non-machine-washed methods, such as dry-cleaning, deal with them accordingly.
- Virtually all delicates must be air-dried, as they can’t handle a dryer’s dry and hot air. So, just make sure to hang your delicates to dry naturally, and then reshape them gently using your hands if necessary to prevent the shape from being distorted once it’s dry.