They say to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If—like us—you get dressed in the morning with this mantra in mind, you’ve got a closet full of wool slacks, pencil skirts, silk shirts, and blazers, all of which are probably labeled “dry clean only.” Keep them in tip-top shape without the weekly trip to the dry cleaner (who’s got time for that? You’ve got a corporate ladder to climb!) with these five tips we swear by.
Step 1: Pretreat Stains
For items labeled “dry clean” or “dry clean only,” always start with a water test by testing an inconspicuous area for adverse reactions before washing.
For silk and wool: First, look at the garment’s inner tag. If it says 100% silk, wool, cashmere, cotton, or linen, flip it inside out and pretreat any discoloration with Stain Solution. Massage a bit in with your fingers or a soft brush like our Stain Brush. For super stubborn stains, soak the fabric in cool water for up to 30 minutes.
For suit jackets, lined dress pants, and blazers: These structured items are best dry cleaned, but you can spot treat stains on cuffs, collars and inside linings plus freshen underarm odor with our Wash & Stain Bar. Lather up the bar with cool water and work it directly into the affected area, then wipe away excess suds with a damp Lint-Free Cleaning Cloth. Finally, remove excess moisture by blotting with a dry Lint-Free Cleaning Cloth to prevent water marks.
Step 2: Wash Like This
Handwashing your clothes is much easier than you think: fill a Wash Tub Basin or your sink with cool water and mix in two capfuls of our Delicate Wash or opt for Wool & Cashmere Shampoo instead for natural fibers. Submerge your clothes (keep lights and darks separate to avoid color bleeding), give them a few swishes, then allow them to soak for up to 30 minutes (set a timer so you don’t forget!). Larger load? You can machine wash as long as you put them in a mesh bag—try our Mesh Bag Bundle —which will protect delicate fabrics from getting caught in the machine. Be sure to use cold water on the delicate cycle with low spin to prevent shrinking.
Step 3: Dry With This Method
Step away from the dryer! Air drying is the only way to go with delicates. Press the items against the edge of the sink to remove excess water; avoid wringing or twisting which can cause wrinkles and weaken fabric. Place them flat in its natural shape on a drying rack or hang to dry.
Tip: While most items can be hung to dry, sweaters, knits, and heavier items with embellishment can't handle the tension on the fibers, especially when they’re wet. Instead, lay them flat to dry, positioned in their natural shapes.
Step 5: Keep Things Fresh
Between washes, steaming your clothes will quickly remove wrinkles, eliminate bacteria, and restore luster to silk fabrics, while a misting of our anti-bacterial Delicate Spray will quickly nix odors. No time for a steam? No problem! Spritz fabric with a wrinkle-smoothing spray like Crease Release and smooth with your hands.
If you don’t have time for a quick steam, spritz fabric with a wrinkle-removing spray like Crease Release and smooth with your hands.
Bonus tip: Prone to static on skirts and hosiery? A few sprays of Static Solution will tamp it down in seconds.