Handwashing Delicates

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It has reached full Spring mode here in Phoenix, so I have to finally wash all my sweaters and put them away. And while most of them are plain old cotton or nylon and can easily be washed, I have a few cashmere sweaters and ones with delicate linings/accessories/etc. So I thought I would research how to properly wash them, and I found some helpful stuff on other delicates as well.

Thank goodness I had read an interview with the “Queen of Cashmere” before I went out and bought any Woolite.

Some tips:

♠ Before you start, create a little station: dirty clothes, towel to roll out excess water, drying rack

♠ Wash items from lightest to darkest (so dark clothes don’t bleed into water)

♠ Water temperature should be lukewarm, not ice cold or boiling hot

♠ Use just a squirt of all-natural wash, Dr. Bronner’s or, in a pinch, baby shampoo

♠ Let items soak about three minutes, then swirl around to GENTLY agitate them. You don’t want to whip them around on squeeze them, otherwise it would be just like throwing them in the machine

♠ Empty basin/sink and refill with clean water to rinse, swirling gently. Repeat if necessary, depending on the amount of suds in your rinse.

♠ Remove garments and (once again) GENTLY get excess water out. DO NOT WRING. “Support your garment, don’t let gravity stretch it.” Lay on towel and roll up to remove more water. Do not smush clothes while in towel. This is all about a light touch.

♠ Lay on drying rack or flat to dry. Turning items over halfway into drying cuts down drying time, and also those pesky “drying rack” bumps.

♠ Some notes from the above Queen of Cashmere that need to be stated:

“Washing cashmere all goes back to the raw product. A good piece of cashmere should never be dry-cleaned. But if you have a less than good piece, you need to do it anyway. If you own Woolite, throw it OUT! It leeches color right out of everything. Woolite is not “lite” and I believe in humane laundry. Woolite wages war on your clothes. Use baby detergent, Ivory Snow, Dreft even Kirkland Signature Environmentally Whatever Detergent.

Handwash but minimize the hazards by following these rules: Never ever agitate. (Also a good rule for life in general). Put the garment in the dryer for no more than 5 minutes to get the stitches distributed and aligned, finish drying it flat and touch up with a steam iron using a silicon pressing cloth, or layer of a sheet over. Block the sweater(press with steam lifting the iron in an up and down motion). Never use a back and forth ironing motion or it will ‘grow’ your cashmere and make it larger. Never use the iron directly on the neck or seams because it will glaze the cashmere. If you have a good sweater, follow these instructions and it should look new.”

Notes and Links:

♦ Design Mom, 7 Secrets to Caring For Unmentionables

♦ The best tips for caring for vintage pieces, are vintage themselves

Bra care via Slip of a Girl – keep a couple in rotation, clean every 3 wears

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