Here is my advice; have a closer look! What is the piece actually made off? To give you an example, I have a knitted jumper made of 100% cotton where the label says 'Dryclean Only'. I beg of you, cotton to the dry cleaners? OK, it is Marc Jacobs (found at Coggles.com, reduced to a ridiculous price, wasn't I lucky!) But still, taking such an item to the dry cleaners is taking a simple cotton jumper far too seriously!
I have found that all manner of mixes of silk, wool, cotton and linen can easily be washed in the machine on the handwash/wool/silk program on a low temperature with special detergent. Of course, I wouldn't gamble on fitted items like jackets or a weddingdress but most other items are absolutely fine in your own humble laundryroom. I use good old Woolite for wool & silk but I'm sure you could use the standard supermarket fine detergent as well. The machine does a far better job than you can do yourself with a bucket or in the sink in keeping the right temperature, length of rinsing etc. I wash these delicate clothes on 20 Degrees Celsius, that is actually quite cold water! 'Handwarm' which feels comfortable because it is close to our body temperature of 37 Degrees, is far far to warm.
An other reason why people stay clear of things they need to hand wash or bring to the dry cleaners is the difficulty of having just the one item that needs special treatment. I have never been deterred from delicate fabrics, not even when my boys were babies. The trick is to own loads of delicate 'handwash' or 'dryclean only' items. After wearing I store them in a special laundry bag. This is a safety measure as my dear husband often does the bulk-washes (towels, bedding, very soiled boys' trousers) and doesn't always sort things carefully. After a few traumatic incidents with my beautiful clothes I became wiser! You need a bit of stash of things to wash but you should only fill up half the drum so you do not really need that many fine clothes after all! (need is as flexible as chewing gum here)
Straight after washing I let the clothes dry on a hanger or flat on a airing rack. Here is my latest 'dry clean only' item: a silk and linen blend blouse by Isabel Marant (in the Outnet sale, hurray!). I'll iron it soon and show you in my next post!
Do you have special clothes maintenance tricks?
Please share in the comments! I would love to hear from you and I always try to respond...
See you next time,