“I have a problem Home Sorted! I keep buying clothes that specify that they are delicate and need to be hand washed. I have a delicate cycle on my washing machine, but a friend told me I could be ruining my clothes by using it. What is the best way to wash these fine items of clothing?”

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Care instructions of clothing are quite often undervalued. Who has the time to sit down and read tiny instructions for every item of clothing in their wardrobe?

With advances in technology, it can be incredibly easy to get swept up into thinking that anything can go into the washing machine. We’re all guilty of telling ourselves ‘just this once’ and then tossing fine clothes into the machine along with our basics.

However, for the sake of your clothing and to keep these fine items in tact for as long as possible, we’ve put together a list of stages that should take all confusion out of your laundry.

1. Read the label

This is the most important step and the easiest. Get into the habit of checking clothing labels when you purchase something new.

If you’re prone to throwing everything in the washing machine and would never consider hand washing a knit jumper, maybe opt for a more washing machine friendly item.

2. Decipher and follow the label

There are a few common phrases and symbols that appear on most clothing labels.

The ones to look out for include: hand wash only, dry clean only, or they show a symbol of a washing machine with a large X marked over it.

These items must be washed in the way specified, however if your item says hand wash (without the only) you can potentially wash it in your washing machine on a delicate cycle.

Make sure you use your own discretion and be sensible about it. There is no point trying to wash a beaded dress in your machine, or a jumper with loose threads. That is a recipe for disaster.

You can also consider using mesh laundry bags for your delicate items so they don’t tear on other clothing whilst in the machine.

3. Hand washing

For items that must be hand washed grab yourself a clean bucket or basin and fill with water.

Stir in some detergent and submerge your clothing into the water.

Swish them around, from side to side, for about five minutes to allow them to soak up the detergent.

Thoroughly rinse the items, and gently squeeze out the excess water, before laying your delicate items out flat to dry.

Best of all, hand washing takes a quarter of the time a full machine cycle does.

By following these stages you should be able to wash your clothing knowing that there is no chance you’re going to ruin them.

Home Sorted! owner and founder Nina Rosace has been nominated for the AusMumpreneur awards in the Service Business Award category! Show some support by heading over to the voting page and placing your vote for Home Sorted!