Follow these 7 in-depth tips to wash your delicate fabrics and everyday essentials like a pro:
Proper sorting before you wash clothes and other fabric items ensures the best results. First, separate lights and darks to prevent colours from bleeding, fading, or turning murky.
Next, group items by fabric type. This allows you to wash according to ideal settings for each fabric’s needs. For example, sturdy denim can handle hotter temperatures that would damage delicate silks. Check clothing labels to identify material content and required care.
Finally, sort by soil level – lightly worn items in one pile, heavily soiled items in another. This prevents traces of dirt and oil from redepositing on clean clothes. Outfits worn in muddy conditions or kids’ grubby play clothes may need a targeted pre wash treatment before going in with everyday laundry.
Don’t throw stained clothes straight into the laundry, as you run the risk of setting the stains permanently! Start by identifying the type of stain:
Gently dab or spray targeted pretreatments and allow time to work before washing. Avoid vigorously rubbing stains, which can further grind them into the fibres. When possible, hold the fabric taut to prevent distortion. Once pretreated, you can launder the item as usual.
Remember that catching stains early is vital for easy stain removal.
Water temperature matters more than you may think. The heat of the water impacts how well detergent dissolves and activates enzymes that attack stains and soils. While hot water loosens oily, tough stains, cooler water is gentler on dyes and delicate garments.
Here are the main temperature guidelines for different fabrics:
Follow the garment labels for the recommended temperatures and adjust washer settings accordingly for best results.
Detergent lifts dirt and stains, softens water minerals, and boosts cleaning enzymes. However, too much detergent creates excess suds that deposit a sticky residue on fabrics that attracts dirt over time.
Follow the amounts recommended on the packaging based on your load size. In standard machines:
For HE (high-efficiency) machines, use only 1-3 tablespoons due to the low water volume. Too many suds can even damage the washing machine, so start with less detergent and increase gradually only if needed. Proper measuring prevents waste, residue, and wear on fabrics.
Fabric softener makes clothes smell fresh and feel soft. But did you know overuse can create a waxy buildup on fabrics that diminishes their natural absorbency? Follow these tips for best results:
A little softener goes a long way in keeping clothes fresh and static-free without becoming oversaturated.
Knowing how to dry your fabrics properly is just as important as washing them. Proper drying preserves the feel, fit, and vibrancy of fabrics wash after wash. Follow these drying guidelines:
Taking a bit more time to hang-dry whenever possible helps to preserve fabrics’ look, feel, and structure over time.
While you can successfully wash many modern fabrics at home, delicate materials like silk and wool often require professional dry cleaning to prevent damage, shrinkage, yellowing, or misshaping. Consider dry cleaning for:
Remember to always check the clothing label – if it says ‘dry clean only’, do so to be safe. Find a quality eco-friendly dry cleaner that uses greener methods and chemicals.
Fabric care doesn’t have to be complicated. Follow these 7 washing and laundry tips, including sorting, pretreating, washing, and drying different materials, to keep your favourite fabric items looking and feeling fabulous.
If you’re revamping your wardrobe or sprucing up your living spaces, take a look at I Want Fabric’s wide selection of affordable apparel fabrics, upholstery textiles, trims, sewing supplies, and more. Our friendly team is also on hand to offer advice on how to best care for your fabric of choice.