Are you someone who shy’s away from delicate fabrics through fear of ruining them? Years ago I had a dry-clean-only red velvet dress, I loved it. I took it to get dry cleaned and they crushed the velvet and ruined the dress.
Ever since then I’ve often left the fancy fabrics, or delicate things alone. Lots of these things aren’t very practical with children either, so for a long time I’ve not really had anything delicate in my wardrobe. How about you? is your wardrobe full of delicate things or do they make you a bit nervous?
The importance of caring for delicate fabrics
By properly caring for your most delicate fabrics, you can make them last much longer and keep them looking new for longer as well. It might be that we are talking about something you might only wear once or twice a year. Maybe it’s something with sequins that only comes out at Christmas? Or maybe its just a slinky cropped top that can snag easily.
Whatever it is, we want it to last, so here are a few tips for caring for those delicate bits and bobs in your wardrobe.
Read the care label
Sounds simple right? Wrong – you’d be surprised how many people don’t and I’ve done this myself in the past. Don’t mess up that denim milkmaid summer dress because you didn’t pause and read the label.
Read the care label on the fabrics before you wash your delicate fabrics in a washing machine. You need to check the tag to see if there are any special procedures you need to follow to clean them. I used to think “I’m sure it will be fine” and chuck it in – but things don’t always work out if you adopt that approach with everything. If your fabrics don’t have a label with washing instructions or if it says dry clean only, hand wash them to be on the safe side.
As a general rule, don’t machine-wash extra fine silk, suede, leather, feathers, or fur as they can only usually be cleaned by a professional dry cleaner.
Use the hand wash setting
Lots of washing machines these days have a hand wash setting. I’ve used this a lot with things I was concerned about in the past. The spin is normally set to a slow speed, so as not to damage or tangle the clothing.
I’ve not had an issue or negative outcome using this setting, so if your machine does have one you could consider this as an option.
If you are hand washing your delicate fabrics, fill a sink or a large bucket with cool water and place your delicate items in it. If you have any doubt, hand wash the first time, even that plunge top you layer under your favourite blouse.
To hand wash your delicate fabrics, add about 1 teaspoon of detergent to your sink or bucket and gently swirl them around for 2 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.
Use mesh bags
If you haven’t got any mesh bags for your washing I highly recommend them. My grandmother used to use these as a way of keeping socks together – as we all know what a pain it is to wash socks, as they seem to loose their partners so easily! She also always put her bras in these. Underwired bras and lace bras in particular can get easily damaged in the washing machine, as can tops and dresses with shoe string straps, or even slinky strappy tops.
Other things to consider
Other general things you can do with delicate fabrics include, reducing the spin speed, use a liquid detergent to avoid discolouring the fabric and use cold water to prevent shrinking or damage to the fabric.
If your machine has a pre-soak option, use it! Soaking the delicate fabric before it goes through a gentle wash cycle will remove all of the dirt from the fabric. This can be really useful.
Make sure any zips are zipped up and buttons are fastened to keep them from snagging on anything during the washing process.
Do you have any tips of your own to share with me? I’d love to hear them, let me know in a comment below.
This is a collaborative article.