Ditch Your Dry Cleaner – Q&A with Gwen and Lindsey of The Laundress

Decoding laundry care tags and making regular trips to the dry cleaner’s can be draining – but don’t give up and toss your delicates in the washer! Your wardrobe is an investment, so make sure you treat it well. Taking care of your clothes properly will help them continue to fit well and last longer. But sometimes accidents can’t be avoided, so we went to the experts and asked Lindsey and Gwen of the Laundress to share how to deal with common wardrobe fails.

Dry Clean Only

SB: It seems like every item I own is dry-clean only. Is it possible to freshen them up between cleanings? Is it necessary to take every item to the dry cleaners?

L: No, in fact almost all items can be laundered at home with the right products and procedures.  For those items that absolutely must be dry cleaned, you can freshen between cleanings with our fabric fresh sprays.

How To Hand Wash Delicates

SB: What’s the proper way to hand-wash a garment?

L: This depends on the fabric but typically it is in cold or tepid water, soaking for 30 minutes, then lay flat to dry.

Hand Washing Recipe

  • To wash – submerge item(s) in a cool water bath with 2 capfuls of The Laundress Delicate Wash.
  • Use your hands to agitate the water and detergent.
  • Soak for ½ hour (do not soak silk for longer).
  • DO NOT PANIC if you see color in the water. This is normal and it is simply the yarn dye releasing color. You will not notice any loss of color at the end.
  • Rinse well, running room temperature water until soapy water is gone.
  • Do not wring; press the water out of the item instead.

How to Air Dry

SB: How can I air-dry my clothes without stretching them out? Do I need a drying rack or a clothesline?

L: This depends on the fabric – all woolens/knits should always lay flat in a natural shape to dry.  Silks/delicates can hang to dry.  Here in the city, we typically use a drying rack, however outdoor clotheslines are great for that “fresh air” experience.

Dye Transfer

SB: I wore my white silk button-down with my dark skinny jeans and was dismayed to see that some of the denim dye transferred onto the bottom of the blouse. How can I remove the stain without ruining it?

L: We recommend our stain solution for dye transfer. We see this a lot in our washing service.


Stain Removal Recipe

The Laundress Stain Solution is formulated specifically to target and break down stubborn stains such as red wine, sauce, chocolate, grass, coffee/tea, grease, blood, pit stains and more.

  1. Apply Stain Solution to the stain.
  2. Work the Solution into the stained area with our Stain Brush.
  3. Pour hot water from a height to be more effective and soak.*
  4. If stain has faded, but isn’t completely gone, repeat the process until satisfied.
  5. Launder as normal.
  • We recommended this process on durable fibers such as cotton, linen and some synthetic materials.
  • For stain removal on delicate fabrics such as silk and cashmere, use tepid water. Do not soak silk longer than 30 minutes at a time.
  • When treating stain from blood, always use cold water.

Keep Whites Bright

SB: I own a zillion white shirts – from gauzy silk to paper thin cotton. How do I prevent them from getting dingy?

L: This depends on the fabric.  White cotton/linen should be soaked in a hot water bath with our All Purpose Bleach Alternative, soak well.  Silk items can be pre-treated with stain solution and soak in a cool water bath with delicate wash for 30 minutes.

How To Pack

SB: After unpacking at my hotel on my last business trip, I discovered many of my blouses were horribly wrinkled. What’s the best way to eliminate wrinkles in delicate clothes? Can I prevent this from happening in the future?

L: We recommend our crease release to remove wrinkles after unpacking.  To reduce creasing in delicate fabrics we always recommend steaming vs. ironing.  To prevent wrinkles while traveling, always fold delicate items neatly and wrap with tissue paper, this will help to reduce movement and creasing.

Eliminate the Smell of Smoke

SB: I wore my favorite silk crepe cocktail dress to a party and someone there was smoking. How can I get the smoke smell out?

L: For odor removal we recommend soaking for 30 minutes in a cool water bath with 1 cup of Scented Vinegar.

Prevent Shrinking & Fading

SB: I’ve heard that washing your clothes in cold water will help them stay bright and prevent them from shrinking. Is that true?

L: Yes, when washing delicate fabrics always launder in cold water to prevent shrinking and keep colors bright.  However, fabrics such as cotton and linen can and should be laundered in hot water to clean effectively.  Most fading and shrinking occurs in the dryer – to avoid this, we recommend line drying.

The Essentials

SB: What are the basics everyone needs in their laundry room?

L: A good drying rack, The Laundress mesh washing bag, The Laundress Stain Solution, Delicate Wash for delicates, The Laundress Signature Detergent and Bleach Alternative.

More from The Laundress

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