Delicate clothes and other valuable items in your home like sheer curtains or embroidered pillow shams may not be suitable for the washing machine, but that doesn’t mean they never get dirty. In fact, regular cleaning is key to ensuring they last.
You can take some of those items to the dry cleaner, but sometimes the safest way to ensure your valuables and expensive pieces of clothing are well maintained is to learn how to hand wash delicates at home.
Check out our helpful guide for gently washing items like sheer curtains, shams, silk shirts, merino wool, and, now, cloth face masks, that we all wish could just be tossed in the washing machine. All of your delicate items will be smelling fresh in no time with a little help from Fresh Wave.
How to Wash a Face Mask and Other Delicates
- The Benefits of Washing by Hand
- How to Wash a Face Mask
- How to Hand Wash Silk
- How to Gently Clean Wool and Cashmere
- How to Handle Lace, Tights, and Undergarments
The Benefits of Washing By Hand
Washing certain articles of clothing or delicate items by hand is beneficial for many reasons. For one, it’s far more gentle than using the washing machine and gives your more control over the process. For example, you can leave items in a soapy water mixture for a specific amount of time, and add things like bleach or odor-eliminating detergent without affecting other articles of clothing you might have in a normal load of laundry.
Hand washing delicate clothes also exposes those items to the many benefits of soapy water like killing bacteria and, better yet, killing viruses. Research has shown that soapy water is effective at killing coronaviruses and the reason why is fascinating.
When soap dissolves in water, it forms micelles. Micelles are clusters of hydrophilic heads (water-attracting) and water-repelling tails that dissolve fats. This lethal combination of hydrophilic and hydrophobic components makes the molecules in soapy water able to penetrate the coronavirus’s protective fatty layer, killing the virus and gently cleansing the fibers of your delicate items.
How to Wash a Face Mask
Cloth mask care is something that’s new to many people. But just as it’s important to wear a mask in public, it’s also important to make sure you’re regularly cleaning your reusable cloth mask to ensure you aren’t unknowingly exposing yourself to bacteria.
Like washing hands, there are best practices when it comes to how to wash a face mask.
- First, you should remove any filters or detachable drawstrings.
- Next, draw a small bowl of warm water and add a small amount of laundry detergent to the water.
- Agitate the water to combine the mixture. You may create a few suds, which is fine.
- Place your cloth mask in the bowl and rub the mask’s surface.
- Allow your mask to sit in the soapy water mixture for a few minutes.
If your mask had an unpleasant smell prior to washing, you can supplement your favorite laundry detergent with a laundry deodorizer like Fresh Wave. Add a splash of Fresh Wave Laundry Booster to your soapy water mixture. While the soapy water works to clean the fabric, plant oils in Fresh Wave’s proprietary odor eliminating formula will naturally absorb odors.
How to Hand Wash Silk
Items and garments made of silk, like a silk shirt or a silk pillowcase can be washed in the washing machine on a gentle cycle. But your safest bet for preserving the material and avoiding shrinkage is hand washing delicate clothes and household items.
To hand wash silks, fill your sink or a large bowl with cold water. Add one teaspoon of gentle detergent to the bath. Use a detergent that is meant for gentle-wash clothing, like a wool detergent, in order to protect the fibers. Add your items to the basin and allow them to soak.
When you’re ready to rinse your garments, fill a bucket or bowl with cold water and add distilled vinegar. Vinegar will eliminate any soap residue from the fibers. While rinsing, it’s important to remember that silk fibers weaken when wet. It’s never a good idea to wring or twist your silk items while you’re hand washing. Remove your silk shirt or pillowcase from the wash and hang them to dry. Never place silk in a warm dryer or near the sun.
How to Gently Clean Wool and Cashmere
Like silk, merino wool and cashmere are premium fabrics that need to be handled carefully. Additionally, if you want to build a more complete understanding of how to hand wash delicates, you need to learn how to properly hand wash wool because it’s incredibly common.
From blankets to winter wear, wool starts popping up everywhere when the weather gets cold. To hand wash your favorite wool items, first start by prepping the fabric. Remove pilling, pet hair, and fuzz with a fabric shaver and spot clean any stains by adding gentle detergent directly to the area and letting it sit for 15 minutes.
Fill the sink or a basin with tepid water and add a delicate detergent to the water. Turn the garment inside out and place it in the basin. Move the garment around through the water to ensure soap penetrates the fibers but do not rub the fabric together. This can cause further pilling. Once your garment has finished soaking (make sure not to exceed 10 minutes in the water) remove the sweater from the soapy water and rinse twice in clean water.
How to Handle Lace, Tights, and Undergarments
Lace may not be the most common material, but hand washing delicate clothes made of lace is important to know in order to preserve garments handed down by family. Lace items should never be placed in the washing machine or dryer as this can easily cause tears and damage. Instead, fill a bowl or basin with warm water and add detergent to the mixture.
Like silk and wool, it’s not recommended to handle lace or tights heavy-handedly and it’s a common misconception that the best way to hand wash delicates or rinse the fabric is to wring and twist. Instead, gently plunge the garments in your soapy mixture. This will agitate the water enough to distribute the soap and you’ll avoid stretching. Then, hang dry or on a flat surface in the sun.
While we may not leave the house in our best lace, tights and undergarments are far more common for everyday wear. Hand washing delicate clothes like tights can help you avoid misshaping and dye transfer that might occur in the wash.
Take hand washing delicates to the next level and fight odor with Fresh Wave Laundry Booster. The proprietary formula of plant oils leave clothes and valuables smelling fresh and clean in any season and after any activity. Find out more about tips where to use Fresh Wave and start freshening your delicates today.