Washing delicates like silk and wool in your washing machine

You need to take care when washing delicate clothes, like silks and woolens, as they can easily be shrunk.

That said, you can still wash most of your delicate items in the washing machine – this guide gives you some advice on how to stop shrinkage and other damage.

Washing

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Here are a few tips to bear in mind when washing delicates:

  • Silk, silk blends, wool, rayon, acetate, cashmere, angora, lycra and nylon all need special care and attention when they're being washed – make sure you check the label for precise details, as some of these items may be hand-wash or dry-clean only.
    Hand-knitted items will also have the care instructions on the label, while 'Superwash' wool can go in the washing machine on a cold, gentle cycle.
  • The same general colour rules you follow with your normal wash also apply to delicates. Their colours can still run – so you should always make sure to separate your colours and whites.
  • You shouldn't use fabric conditioners and bleaches with delicates, as these might damage the items. You can get different detergent for washing delicates, which can provide a bit more protection than your usual choice.
  • Make sure there's nothing in the machine with hooks or zips, which might catch or pull on delicate items and cause damage.
  • Lightweight or knitted items can be put into a mesh bag or a pillow case to reduce the chance of them being damaged in the machine.

 

Drying

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Heat can damage and shrink delicate clothes – so it's usually best to avoid the drying programmes on your washing machine. The best way to dry these items is to lay them out flat on a towel and leave them to air dry. This stops stretching or heat damage.

Some delicate items might be able to cope with a cold tumble to get some of the wrinkles out – but you should always check the label. 

If you need any more help, you can contact a Team Knowhow Expert here.

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