How to Hand Wash Delicates

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When it comes to fine knits or lacy, sheer, or shrinkable clothing, you have two choices: cough up the cash for the dry cleaner or take a few extra minutes to give your delicates the TLC they deserve.

Step 1: Check label
Check the “proper care” label of the garment for any specific instructions.

It’s a good idea to hand-wash knit items that have buttons, sequins, beading or other adornments, as they can be easily damaged in a washing machine.

Step 2: Fill sink
Fill the sink or basin with cool water.

Step 3: Add just enough detergent.
Add just enough detergent to cover the surface of the water.

Step 4: Dissolve detergent
Swirl the water with your hand to make sure the detergent is fully dissolved.

To make sure that fine knits retain their shape, pay attention what the article looks like now, dry, so that once it’s wet you’ll be able to reshape it correctly.

Step 5: Immerse article
Immerse the article in the water.

Step 6: Work in the suds
Gently swirl and squeeze the clothing, working the suds through. Don’t pull, stretch, or wring the fabric.

Step 7: Soak garment
Allow the garment to soak for 2 to 5 minutes.

Step 8: Squeeze water out
Gently squeeze the excess water out of the garment–but don’t wring or twist it. Drain the sink or basin.

Step 9: Rinse item
Refill the sink or basin with fresh water, and swirl the item around to rinse.

When washing silk, add a quarter cup of white vinegar to the first rinse to help remove the soap residue.

Step 10: Keep rinsing
Continue draining the soapy water, refilling it with fresh water, and swirling the item until there are no more suds in the water.

Step 11: Transfer to towel
After your final rinse, lift the garment, gently squeeze out the excess water, and transfer it to a flat towel.

Step 12: Roll up towel
Roll the towel up with the article inside, pressing on it gently to soak up more water.

If the garment soaks through the towel quickly, repeat the process on a second dry towel.

Step 13: Hang or reshape
Hang up the item if it won’t stretch, or, in the case of knits that need to be reshaped, place it on a dry towel and arrange it to its original shape.

Did You Know?
The Federal Trade Commission instituted the use of “proper care” tags on all U.S. clothing in 1972.

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