Expert Tips for Cleaning Delicates and Linens

What items of clothing absolutely have to be dry cleaned? Can you just hand wash most things?


Quality clothing and linens are a worthy investment, but that doesn’t mean you want to take out a second mortgage to pay your dry cleaner’s bill. Lindsey Weiber Boyd, co-founder of specialty detergent line The Laundress, shares her tips on how to clean special items without cleaning out your wallet.

There are some items that unfortunately cannot be washed -- they must be dry cleaned. Any items with rayon or viscose blend are unpredictable, so wash at your own risk! However, most silk, synthetics, and blends can we washed by hand or in the machine on a delicate/woolen cycle in The Laundress Mesh Washing Bag with Delicate Wash. Note that silk should never soak for longer than 30 minutes. Never put silk or synthetics in the dryer, allow them to line dry.

Should you dry clean all bed linens and down comforters? How often should you clean them?

All bed linens can and should be washed; it’s better for the life of the fabrics. We recommend separating colors and washing with the appropriate detergent (darks, whites, fabric conditioner if preferred). Line dry or drying on a low heat is recommended; promptly remove from the dryer to reduce creasing. Pressing when damp is best and you can starch as preferred. Down comforters can be washed, we recommend laundering down comforters professionally because of their size and to ensure proper drying with a trusted laundering service or in an industrial machine. It can be very tricky to get them sufficiently dry so that they do not mildew from the inside out.

How often should you clean them?

One to three months depending on the fabric and your lifestyle (i.e. wash silk less, wash more if you have pets, etc.).

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