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How To Clean A House Dress

If you told us a year ago that house dresses would become part of our day to day wardrobe, we’d probably laugh. But it’s 2020 and it’s a year of so many firsts. Most of us are spending more time at home than ever before. Our houses are no longer a place of personal space and relaxation—they’ve also become office spaces, home schools, and makeshift bars for Zoom happy hours. So when it comes to getting dressed to not leave home, we want to feel comfortable, but not so comfortable that all we want to do is lay on the couch with our Netflix queue. Plus, we want to look pulled together for all those video calls. So after lots of trial and tribulations over the course of the last 6 months, we’ve settled on the house dress as our attire of choice. The perfect happy medium. House dresses are flowy and billowing. They’re soft and non-restrictive. And they’re polished. House dresses make you look and feel like you’ve put the effort in (which, come on, if you’re changing out of your PJ’s, you have) and also like you have things all together, which is so, so important… and because you do!

Because it’s likely you haven’t acquired a full house dress wardrobe quite yet, it’s important to know how to clean the ones you do have. By no means do you need to go to the dry cleaner, even if the dress is tagged “dry clean only,” and even if it’s made of silk. Yes. Really. Ahead, easy washing and refreshing moves every house dress-owner needs.

Remove Stains

Pretreat any stains with Stain Solution (for color-rich protein and tannin stains such as red wine, coffee, chocolate, ink, and pit stains) or Wash & Stain Bar (ideal for oil or grease stains such as ring around the collar, salad dressing, and makeup).

Mind The Material

If your house dress is made of cotton, linen, or a durable synthetic like polyester, use warm or hot water. Next, add the appropriate amount of fabric-specific detergent (try Signature Detergent), depending on the size of the load—usually 2-4 capfuls. Select a normal cycle on your washing machine.

If it's made of a delicate fabric like silk, lace, a delicate synthetic, or a woolen like cashmere or merino, go with cool water and Delicate Wash or Wool & Cashmere Shampoo, respectively. Insert your dress into a Mesh Bag prior to placing in the machine to protect it from snagging. For your machine settings, choose a delicate cycle and low spin.

For best results, be sure to wash like colors and fabrics together.

Consider Hand Washing

Handwashing is the gentlest way to wash laundry and will preserve your house dresses’ longevity. Here’s how to do it:

Fill a Wash Tub Basin or a clean sink or tub (use our All-Purpose Cleaning Concentrate and Scrub Brush to clean yours) with cool or warm water, depending on fabric type. Add the appropriate type and amount of detergent, then softly agitate the water with your hands to distribute the soap into the water. Add the dress or dresses and allow to soak for up to 30 minutes. Remove the laundry by pressing each garment against the edge of the tub, and placing in a clean bucket or sink. Then release the soapy water and fill the basin back up with clean water before placing the dresses back in. Swirl to thoroughly rinse away the suds and drain once more. If any garments remain soapy, run them under the faucet until rinse water runs clear. Never wring—this will damage the fibers. Instead, apply pressure against garments to rid them of excess water.

Air Dry

Hang or lay flat to dry. Delicate house dresses made of silk, delicate synthetics, or woolens should always be dried by laying flat in their natural shapes on a drying rack or clean towel—hanging will strain the fibers and distort the garment.