A Guide to Washing Your Delicate Clothing

KDC-Housekeeper with washing machine

It is no mystery that delicate clothing can be challenging to wash.

Often there are no washing directions on the label, and even when there are, you don’t have the time and energy to execute every instruction.

We frequently splurge the most on our luxurious silk gowns, comfortable cashmere sweaters, and lacy undergarments. Unfortunately, these are also the most expensive and time-consuming items to clean.

From feather-light silk to exquisite lace, delicate material can be exquisite to wear. Whether it’s a woman’s silk blouse or a chiffon dress, your delicates are an investment that you should protect. The essential way to ensure that your valuable garments last as long as they can is by washing your delicates correctly and consistently. By knowing what is delicate wash and the various ways to do it, you can preserve your exquisite delicates for as long as possible.

What are Delicate Items 

Knitted fabrics, such as lace, wool, linen, silk, and other knitted fabrics with embroidery or ornamentation are examples of delicate fabrics. Although cotton isn’t commonly considered a delicate fabric, light cotton garments may require special care.

How Frequent Should You Wash Your Delicate Clothing 

Generally speaking, washing delicate item such as a silk blouse should be cleaned after every three uses. On the other hand, if you need to clean a delicate garment that’s near the skin, such as undergarments, you should consider washing it after one or two uses.

Hand Washing vs. Machine Washing Your Delicates 

If possible, hand washing is the preferred method for cleaning delicates. With hand washing, you have more control over how much pressure and temperature you use at each stage of the cleaning process, ensuring that your delicates last as long as possible.

Use the best detergent for delicates, free of harsh chemicals and smells, when washing by hand. Mix the detergent in a sink or tub with cold or warm water, and then gently swirl your clothes in the solution.

It should also be emphasized that hand washing is often the best option for protecting your delicate items. However, people should recognize that it isn’t the only option because today, you can utilize an added feature of the delicate cycle on washing machines.

Ultimate Guide to Washing Your Delicate Clothing 

1. Check the label of your delicates.  

The label is the most ideal place to start when learning how to wash delicates. Some delicate materials, such as silk, synthetics, and fine knits, are labeled “hand wash” or “dry clean only.” While these terms do not prohibit the use of your washing machine, they do require you to exercise extra caution when machine washing delicates. When in doubt, the safest action is to settle for handwashing.

2. Treat stains at once. 

Treat stains on delicate garments as soon as they are spotted for optimal results. You may take additional measures to make those stains more bearable before you begin washing them. Avoid using commercial stain removers and bleach, particularly on silk. Use a natural cleaning solution, such as white vinegar, baking soda, or lemon juice. Even with natural cleaning, it is advisable to take your time and use only the minimum amount of cleaner required to complete the task.

3. Learn to hand wash your delicates. 

When hand washing and rinsing delicates, it’s ideal to use clean containers, though you can also use the sink. You should sort your delicates into lights and dark. By sorting them beforehand, you can wash several delicate fabrics without having them bleed into other materials.

Use a detergent specifically designed for hand washing delicate items. Only use cold or warm water to avoid shrinkage or color fading in your clothing.  However, if there are budget constraints, it would be best to settle using one cup of hot water, one teaspoon of baby shampoo and one drop of your favorite essential oil as an alternative to a commercial lingerie detergent.

Before you find the ideal detergent-to-water ratio, you might need to experiment with several delicates. Rinse clean delicates in a second container. Then, fold and press clothes against the basin to remove moisture. Additionally, never wring your delicates because it’ll ruin the material and finish.

4. Learn to wash your delicates in the washing machine. 

To begin, sort your delicates in the same manner as when washing by hand. You’ll also need to sort by fabric besides color. You shouldn’t mix Cashmere and knitwear with anything delicate like lace or polyester. Take caution when combining other delicates with metal closures and zippers to prevent snagging and tearing.

Before washing your delicates, you can still pre-treat any stains that you may have overlooked. Moreover, ensure all zippers and other enclosures are well buttoned while turning your delicates inside out. Select the gentle or delicate wash setting with cold water, add your detergent, and place your clothes in a delicate wash bag. To prevent damage, select the lowest spin cycle on your washing machine.

5. Air dry as much as possible. 

Drying delicates in the dryer increases the risk of shrinking. Although, drying fragile items in mesh bags for half a cycle is possible if you have access to a dryer with an air-dry option. Alternatively, hanging your items out to dry on a flat surface or on a line, away from the sun’s rays would be best.


Washing delicate clothing doesn’t have to be an unpleasant or overwhelming process. You may preserve your lovely delicates in excellent condition for an ample time if you consider the tips mentioned above. By knowing all the information about handling your delicates, regardless of handwashing or using a machine, you’re now well-equipped to flawlessly execute the best practices.

Let Kelly’s Dry Cleaners  Take Care of Your Delicates For You. 

At the end of the day, washing delicates doesn’t have to be hard or stressful. If you add a few extra steps to your regular laundry process, you can keep your delicates in great shape for a long time. However, if your time doesn’t permit accomplishing this process, it would be best to ask for the assistance of Farmington dry cleaners. We can do the job for you in no time and with excellent results. With our outstanding service, your delicates will surely last a long time. Call us now to experience it!