How Can I Handle All Types Of Linen? Certain fabrics need more careful treatment to follow these instructions. Check the tailored clothing, items with special finishes, care label – if it says hand wash or dry clean, and anything made of more than one fabric, Simply use a dry cleaner rather than machine washing.
Fabric Washing Drying and Ironing
Acetates are temperamental fabrics. Never use enzymatic detergent. Machine or hand wash at a low temperature. Do not wring or fast spin in a washing machine. Do not tumble dry. Allow acetate items to dry naturally, and iron while still damp.
Acrylic needs frequent washing since it can smell of sweat. Usually, machine washable, but check the care label. Wash items at a low temperature. Pull into shape after washing, and remove excess water. Dry flat or line dry.
Take care not to flatten the raised pile when washing. Handwash at a cool temperature or dry clean, according to the care label. Do not wring. Iron on the wrong side with the pile over a towel.
Cashmere is expensive, so it merits the specialized care that it needs. Handwash in cool water in well-dissolved soap flakes. Rinse well. Do not wring. Dry, and shape or “block” while drying. Iron inside out while damp with a cool iron.
Tough in wear but needs care in washing to avoid crushing pile. Always wash inside out. Hand or machine wash, according to the care label instructions. Iron inside out while evenly damp, then smooth the pile with a soft cloth.
When mixed with other fibers, wash as for the most delicate. Machine wash cotton at a high temperature, always keeping whites separate from colors. Tumble or line dry. Do not allow items to dry completely, as they will be difficult to iron.
Denim is a strong fabric, but prone to shrinking, fading, and streaking. Wash denim separately until you are sure there is no color run. Wash items inside out. Tumble dry or line dry. Iron denim items while still very damp, using a hot iron.
An extremely delicate fabric. Wash and dry carefully. Treat stains before hand washing in a mild detergent. Never use bleach – it causes yellowing. Dry flat on a while towel away from direct sunlight. Iron, if you must, over a white towel.
Leather and Suede Sometimes washable, but check the care label. Protect items with a leather spray after hand washing so that marks do not build up. Rub suede with another piece of suede or a suede brush to keep the nap looking good.
Linen is a tough fabric that withstands the highest temperatures. Machine wash according to the label. Test colored linen items for colorfastness Iron while still very damp. Starch will prevent some creasing (but not on bed linen).
Silk is a delicate fabric that requires special care to prevent damage. Handwash silk in warm water. Some silk items can be machine washed on the delicate cycle. Line dry naturally, and iron while damp. Use a pressing cloth to protect the fabric.
Wash wool and dry carefully, since items easily lose their shape. Some woolens can be machine washed, others must be done by hand. Check the care label. Wool can be dried flat, line dried, or dried on a sweater rack. Do not tumble dry.
Always read the care label before washing clothes, to establish which method of cleaning is most suitable for the item. Soak heavily soiled clothes before washing. Treat stains as soon as they occur, then launder.
A good soak before washing loosens the dirt from clothes. Enzymatic detergent is best for protein-based stains. Soak clothes in the machine or in a bucket, immersing them completely. Be sure that enzymatic detergent is fully dissolved before you soak clothes.
• Black garments: When these develop a “bloom” and do not look black any longer, it is because of a buildup of soap. Either soak the item in warm water with a little white vinegar or add water softener (instead of detergent) to the machine’s regular wash.
• Color runs: Always wash dark colors separately until you are sure that the dye does not run. If dye from dark clothes runs onto pale fabrics in the wash, you can use a commercial dye-run remover to remove color from the lighter items.
Preserving color: To prevent a new pair of jeans from fading when washed, soak them in 4 tbsp (60 ml) of vinegar mixed with 5 quarts (5 liters) of water for about 30 minutes.
Preserve the brightness of colored clothes by soaking them in a bucket of cold water with a handful of salt added before washing them for the first time.
White cotton socks: Return white socks to pristine condition by boiling them in a saucepan with a few added slices of lemon. The lemon is a natural bleach. Dishwasher detergent also whitens socks – just add a little to the regular wash load.
• Cotton or linen soak items for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tbsp (15 ml) household bleach to 10 quarts (10 liters) cold water. Rinse thoroughly before washing as usual.
• Wool Soak discolored wool overnight in one part hydrogen peroxide to eight parts cold water. Rinse, and wash according to care label.
• Nylon Soak nylon items in 6 tbsp (90 ml) of dishwasher detergent and 3 tbsp (45 ml) of household bleach to 5 quarts (5 liters) very hot water. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, then soak the nylon items in it for at least 30 minutes.
Always dilute bleach before you use it – straight bleach will “burn” holes in fabric. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dilution. If in doubt, add a “glug” of bleach to a bucketful of cold water to make a standard bleach solution.
Sort clothes into matching loads, based on care label instructions. If you need to wash mixed fabrics together to make up a full load set to the lowest recommended temperature. Do not be tempted to use more detergent than instructed – it will not get clothes any cleaner.
Checking For Color Run
Place an old, white handkerchief with colored garments to pick up any color run. When it stays white, all the excess dye has run out, and the colored items can be washed with white ones.
• Cleaning machines: From time to time, clean your washing machine by running it empty on a hot cycle with 1 cup (250 ml) white vinegar in the detergent compartment, or added during the cycle. This cleans detergent deposits that may have built up.
• Detergent quantities: Using too little detergent results in clothes remaining dirty if you use too much, it will not rinse out of clothes completely.
• Washing times: Whites may yellow if washed for too long at too high a temperature, and natural fibers may shrink.
• Sort in clothes: Close zippers and fasten buttons on garments before you machine wash them; otherwise, they get battered, and they may not close when the wash cycle is finished.
• To avoid ending up with gray whites, do not mix whites and strong colors in the same load.
Keeping socks in pairs
Use safety pins to keep pairs of socks together in the wash, so that individual socks do not get lost. Leave the safety pins in while the socks are getting dry (either in the dryer or on a clothesline).
Place small or delicate items such as pantyhose and scarves in a pillowcase to machine wash. This will prevent them from snagging and from becoming tangled up with other garments.
Before the wash checking pockets: Be sure to go through pockets before you put items in the wash – tissues disintegrate, pens leak and money can be damaged.