When it comes to doing laundry, not all fabrics are created equal. Each type of fabric requires specific care to maintain its color, shape, and texture. In this guide, we'll walk you through the do's and don'ts of washing and drying various fabrics, from delicate wool to versatile cotton, and everything in between.
Cotton is a versatile and widely loved fabric for its comfort. When it comes to caring for your cotton garments, you can typically wash them on any washer setting and in any temperature. A default choice is the Normal Cycle with warm water, but it's always wise to defer to the item's care label for specific instructions. When it's time to dry your cotton items, tumble dry on a medium or low heat setting. To keep your cotton in excellent condition, consider pretreating stains, separating clothing by color or soil level, and turning cotton shirts inside out before washing. However, bear in mind that cotton is fairly forgiving, but it will shrink about 5% in hot water.
Linen is a breathable and stylish fabric, known for its propensity to wrinkle. When laundering linen, look for a gentle cycle in warm water, or opt for cooler water if you're concerned about color fading, depending on the care label's instructions. For drying, line drying is a wise choice to prevent excessive wrinkling. Remember to avoid chlorine bleach and fabric softener, as these can affect the fabric's texture.
Silk, a fabric known for its elegance, requires delicate care. When washing silk, it's best to hand wash delicate silk items in cold water in a sink or basin using a mild detergent without fabric softener or chlorine bleach. The dryer should never come into contact with silk items; they should be air-dried, but ensure they aren't exposed to direct sunlight. Take care when washing and treat any stains with caution, as silk is a fragile material.
Rayon or Viscose
Rayon or viscose, often found in elegant clothing, should be treated gently. Unless labeled "dry clean only," hand wash these fabrics in cold water. Machine washing should only occur if recommended on the label, using a delicate cycle and cold water, with the item in a mesh bag. When air-drying, be prompt in removing items and reshape them to prevent wrinkles. Similar to silk, it's essential to avoid chlorine bleach, fabric softener, and exposing the fabric to heat or hot water. Additionally, avoid wringing or twisting the fabric.
Polyester, known for its durability, can be cared for with a normal cycle and warm water. When drying, opt for the "Permanent Press" cycle or tumble dry on low or cool settings. To maintain the quality of polyester, wash it with similarly colored items, pre-treat stains, and consider adding vinegar to the wash to enhance softness and reduce odor. However, like with other fabrics, avoid chlorine bleach, direct sunlight, hot water, and vigorous scrubbing.
Acrylic is a low-maintenance fabric. For washing, use a low-spin cycle, such as Delicates, with cool water. Tumble dry on low heat. To prevent pilling, make sure to turn acrylic items inside out before washing, and avoid chlorine bleach or fabric softener. It's also crucial to stay away from high heat and hot water.
Nylon or Lycra
Nylon and Lycra are fabrics that need careful handling. Hand wash them or use a low-spin cycle, such as Delicates, with cold water. When drying, choose low heat. To reduce pilling, turn these items inside out. Avoid chlorine bleach or fabric softener when washing these fabrics and also stay away from heat and hot water.
Microfiber or Microsuede
Microfiber and microsuede are excellent for cleaning, but they require specific care. These fabrics can be washed using the normal cycle with warm or cold water and an extra rinse cycle. When drying, use low or no heat, and ensure the lint trap is thoroughly cleaned before drying. It's essential to avoid chlorine bleach, fabric softener, dryer sheets, or laundry detergent with fragrance or additives when washing microfiber, as these can interfere with the fabric's ability to trap dust and dirt. Finally, avoid ironing or using high heat with microfiber or microsuede.
By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your garments maintain their quality and last longer. Always check the care label for specific instructions, and remember that the proper care you provide to your clothes will be appreciated by your wardrobe.