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How To Care For Resort Wear

In the summertime, vacation is always at the forefront of the mind. Whether your dream destination is a pristine beach or a vibrant city, gossamer resort wear garments are the perfect choice for staying cool. Since resort pieces like caftans and scarves are often delicately constructed from fabrics like silk, synthetics, and blends, they require a specific type of care. But don’t let a “dry clean” tag ruin your vacay vibes! We’ve got all the expert-crafted solutions and pro-vetted tips for removing stains, laundering, and freshening these pieces in the comfort of your home (or hotel room).

Follow along below with our step-by-step guide, just don’t forget to set your OOO notification!

Gather Your Tools: Wash & Stain Bar, Stain Solution, Stain Brush, Scented Vinegar, Delicate Wash, Mesh Bag Bundle, Wash Basin, Crease Release, Delicate Spray

A note before beginning: We always recommend completing a water test before pretreating and laundering any delicate garment, but particularly those that are heavily dyed or have complex patterns. Find out how in our guide.

Step 1: Target Stains

Pretreating stains, spots, and spills ahead of the wash is one of the best ways to ensure a vacay-worthy finish on delicate resort wear fabrics. Since these items should be laundered using a cool temperature, your targeted pretreatment should also utilize cool to tepid water, and the appropriate product per stain type.

For oil, grease, and dirt based stains like sunscreen or body oil, use the Wash & Stain Bar. This powerful little bar targets oil-based stains with ease! Simply run under water, and work into a lather using the soft-bristled Stain Brush. Using the brush, carefully work the lather into the stain, using circular motions to melt it away. For tough stains, soak in a Wash Basin filled with cool water for 10 minutes, apply more lather as needed and then proceed with laundering. If you’re in the midst of your trip and aren’t ready to wash yet, no worries! Simply rinse away the soap and stain residue and let air dry.

Dye and protein-based stains like lipstick, green juice, or coffee require a different approach. Start by applying a few drops of Stain Solution (check out our TSA-approved 2 oz option), which contains a powerfully plant-derived, stain-lifting enzyme complex. Don't fret if your red sangria or wine stain starts turning bluish or greenish - that’s just the enzymes working their magic! Massage in using a damp Stain Brush, and proceed with either soaking and laundering, or rinsing and air drying.

Step 2: Pretreat Odors

Are your favorite caftans suffering from a musty suitcase smell, or perhaps the lingering essence of chlorine or seawater? A 10 minute, deodorizing presoak will work magic on tough odors. Pour 4-5 capfuls of our multipurpose Scented Vinegar into a Wash Basin and fill with cool water. Submerge your garment, and gently agitate the water to help saturate the fabric. Scented Vinegar’s powerfully deodorizing formula works on both fabrics (including delicates!) and home surfaces to melt away unwanted odors. Hint - it’s ahhmazing for deodorizing funky-smelling swimsuits. Get the low-down in our guide here.

Step 3: Hand or Machine Launder

Delicate vacation pieces like the fabulous caftans, lightweight dresses, gauzy blouses, and scarves (we love the options from resort brand Ooshie) can be hand or machine laundered on a delicate setting using the Delicate Wash detergent. Formulated with The Laundress Delicate Care Complex, it protects & maintains delicate fibers while deactivating harsh minerals and enhancing cleaning on silks, synthetics, and blends. Tough on stains, dirt, and odors but gentle on your clothes, Delicate Wash will help keep your resort wear pieces looking new for longer, so you can stay jetsetting with your favorite items! Plus, its sophisticated fragrance of soft citrus and herbal elements will have you dreaming of paradise.

Machine Washing

To machine wash, start by turning your garment inside out and placing it inside a Mesh Bag before tossing in the drum. The bag provides a key layer of protection inside your machine and helps prevent snagging or tearing. Then, select a handwash or delicates cycle on your machine, with cold water and a low agitation or spin setting. A cold washing temperature and low spin are essential to preserving the fit and finish of delicate garments. Add 2-3 capfuls of Delicate Wash depending on machine type and laundry load size to the dispenser, or drizzle evenly over the Mesh Bag directly before running the cycle.

Hand Washing

If you are unsure of your machine’s settings or simply would rather handwash, the Wash Basin is the perfect tool for laundering by hand. If you’re already jetset, the hotel sink works too! Just be sure to rinse well with water and wipe down with a towel before placing your garment inside to prevent any potential lingering bleach residue from streaking your garment. 

Fill your basin or sink with cool water, and add 1-2 capfuls of Delicate Wash, and gently agitate the water by hand to ensure even distribution of product. Turn your garment inside out and submerge it in the basin, taking care to ensure all parts of the fabric are submerged. Let soak for up to 30 minutes, checking halfway through to lightly knead and turn the fabric in the water to help release any residue from the garment. When you’re ready to rinse, take care to avoid wringing or twisting the fabric, which helps to preserve fit and finish. Instead, simply press against the sink or basin to release excess water.

Step 4: Air Dry

Air drying is always the best method for delicate resort wear fabrics like silk, synthetics, and blends, as heat from the dryer can warp, shrink, or otherwise damage garments. First, remove excess water from your item by laying it flat over a clean towel, and gently rolling it up like a burrito. Press (don’t wring!) on your towel burrito for a moment before unraveling.

For lighter weight fabrics like caftans and blouses, place garments on a hanger or lay over a designated rack to dry. Never hang items out to dry over your hotel balcony - one gust of wind and your favorite dress is MIA. Heavier fabrics like weighty silk and knits should be laid flat to dry on a clean towel, as hanging can cause them to warp.

Whether you are hanging items or laying them flat, it’s best to first smooth them gently by hand to prevent creasing. To get ahead of any tough wrinkles, mist with Crease Release from a few inches away and lightly tug the fabric to loosen crease marks. Like a gentle steam in a bottle, this fabric spray easily removes moderate wrinkles from garments and infuses them with a light, “clean laundry” scent. Take our 2 oz size on your travels for on-the-go wrinkle removal!

Step 5: Freshen

In between washes, freshen your silk using Delicate Spray. This “wash in a bottle” helps lift odors and adds a beach-ready fresh, citrus and herbal scent to garments. This spray is designed to refresh without competing with your personal fragrance, so you can mist your caftan or blouse throughout a hot beach day to stay fresh without worrying about an overpowering scent. We love to stash essentials like Delicate Spray and Crease Release in a beach bag, like Ooshie’s colorful totes or our heavy-duty canvas version. If your item requires a more intense fabric reset, try misting items with Delicate Spray in combination with steaming using the Jiffy Steamer, which removes stronger odors and stubborn wrinkling.