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Looking After Your Clothes: ii. Washing and Drying


  • When buying new garments, check the washing label to see if you want to make the commitment to dry-cleaning, hand-washing or machine-washing an item.

  • Keep your washing machine clean by running an empty machine with a washing machine cleaner or white vinegar every now and then to prevent limescale, odour and bacteria build-up.

  • Divide your washing into different piles: Darks; Colours; Lights; Whites.

  • Woollens, delicates and silks should be washed separately. Follow the instructions on the labels regarding the recommended temperature.


  • Pre-wash sprays or solutions, such as Vanish, can be used for stained fabrics, except very delicate fabric.

  • Biological detergents can be used on heavily stained and dirty clothes in the washing machine or used to soak items in a bowl, but can be irritating to sensitive skin.

  • Blood stains and red wine stains can be treated by sprinkling salt thickly on top of the stain and rubbing/pressing in. Rinse in cold water, before washing on a cool wash. (If you are not able to take the garment off, you can spot wash with a very small amount of biological detergent and rinse in cold water).

  • Oil and grease stains are some of the hardest types of stains to remove. Try to deal with them as quickly as possible, before the oil has time to soak in.

  • Blot the oil stain using a paper towel, wash in hand soap and sprinkle some baking powder thickly on to the stain. Gently brush it into the fabric with a toothbrush.

  • Leave for an hour, then rinse the fabric in hot water. Wash on a warm machine wash.

Pegs on a Washing Line - How to Wash Clothes


  • If hand washing delicates, mix liquid detergent into warm water before adding the garments. Handle the clothes gently, don't wring the water out of them. Silk, cashmere, lace and other delicates, such as viscose, acetate, rayon, modal, spandex and Lycra can be hand washed in cool water or put in the washing machine on the Silk/Delicates cycle.

  • Make sure the spin cycle is on its lowest setting and use a mesh bag to provide extra protection to these fabrics.


  • Try to dry clothes naturally, if possible, rather than using a tumble dryer.

  • A heated drying stand is useful for cold weather.

  • A de-humidifier placed near a drying stand is useful for damp weather.

  • Place woollens, silks and delicates flat to dry to avoid becoming mis-shaped or stretched.


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