The ultimate guide to cleaning every kind of fabric

The ultimate guide to cleaning every kind of fabric

Want to keep your beloved jumper looking amazing? Or keep that silk scarf fresh without the dry cleaning bill? We’ve got you covered!

Looking after your clothes properly is really important as a washing error can lead to shrinking, staining, and bobbling. The more we look after our clothes the less we throw away.

We’ve found cleaning tips for every kind of fabric to help you boss your laundry day.

How to care for delicate fabrics

How to care for linen 

Linen is a fantastic naturally derived material when it comes to keeping cool in hot weather but it’s notorious for wrinkling like crazy. 

Wash on a cool cycle, and don’t overcrowd it in the machine. We recommend hanging up your linens to dry, to ensure its shape is kept intact and to help reduce the amount of crinkles. 

Once washed and dried, turn inside out and iron with a hot iron on the steam setting to get out the creases.

How to care for cashmere 

Cashmere is a super delicate fabric. It’s a wool that’s made up from the undercoat of a specific goat, and it’s renowned for its softness. The rarity of the fibres (it takes 4 goats to make a sweater) means that cashmere is pricey, so it’s pretty understandable to be worried about how to wash cashmere. 

A careful wash is what’s needed here. We recommend hand washing your cashmere clothes by soaking in a specialist cleaner for 30minutes before rinsing it out. Alternatively, you can place your cashmere items on a delicate or wool cycle in your washing machine, place it inside a mesh lingerie bag to ensure it’s safe.

To dry, do not ring, but place flat and allow to dry slowly. Some people suggest giving your cashmere clothes a quick spin in a salad spinner to get rid of excess water before lying flat. 

It’s worth noting that jumpers made from wool or cashmere should be kept folded rather than on hangers as on hangers their shape can distort, and the hangers can snag the fabric.

How to care for wool

Standard wool is a bit less fussy than cashmere but needs to be washed in much the same way with a gentle detergent.

It’s worth noting that wool is naturally self-cleaning, so you don’t really need to worry about washing it that often - You can wipe off any marks with a damp cloth in between washes.  Airing wool clothing can be a great way of reviving them without having to put them in the wash. You could even give your woollen items a quick steam before putting them away. We love Clothes Doctor's steamer water. Infused with Blue Lily and Bergamot, it adds an extra boost of cleaning power and a wave of fresh fragrance to your clothes.

How to care for silk

Another luxurious fabric is silk, and like cashmere, it needs a lot of love and care. Most silk labels will advise you to only dry clean (a process that uses a lot of harmful chemicals) but you can actually clean some silk items safely at home. 

A simple way of checking if you can wash a silk item is by patting a small patch of the item with a damp white washcloth and seeing if the colour runs. If it doesn’t then a quick hand wash in a gentle detergent is safe. Once washed, roll the item in a dry towel before allowing it to air dry. 

Caring for everyday fabrics

How to care for cotton 

Whether it’s your sheets or your shirts, cotton is a popular naturally occurring fibre that isn’t too fussy when it comes to washing. 

The main rule here is to separate your whites from colours. White cottons can usually be washed at higher temperatures, while coloured cottons need cooler temperatures to prevent colours from running. 

The more we wash and dry our clothes, the quicker they’ll start to feel old and worn. Dryers, in particular, can damage fabric fibres, so try hanging cotton clothes out to dry naturally, or use a dryer egg to reduce drying time. 

How to care for bamboo 

We’re seeing more and more bamboo clothes on the market, and we love to see it! Bamboo is similar to cotton in that it is soft and versatile but bamboo is far less damaging to the environment. Bamboo produces a lesser carbon footprint, uses 10x less land, and thrives off sunlight and rainwater while cotton guzzles 8,000 litres of water per kg of cotton. 

To care for bamboo fabric, avoid fabric conditioners and keep washing, drying and ironing on a cool setting. 

Bamboo can fall victim to pests in our home, particularly moths, who love munching on natural fibres. To keep your clothes safe, invest in some anti-moth bags for your drawers and wardrobe.

Caring for sportswear 

Sportswear is most commonly made from Spandex, a synthetic material we’re used to seeing in leggings, sports bras, and swimsuits. 

As a fabric, it tends to hold onto odours, which means it often needs to be cleaned after every use. 

Before washing, separate lights and darks as colour can bleed and try using a specialist sportswear wash to leave your gym clothes fresh.

How to care for nylon and polyester 

Nylon and Polyester are synthetic plastic-based materials that are widely used in clothing. They’re fairly robust, but producing them is harmful to our planet, plus when they’re thrown away they’re pretty polluting. It’s therefore really vital that we keep these clothes for as long as possible, rather than buying more. 

Both can be washed in a machine on a fairly warm cycle and can be dried in a tumble drier on a low heat setting. 

Can’t get out tough stains? Try treating your clothes with a stain remover prior to putting them in the wash.

How to care for synthetic clothes 

Although we’ve covered some of the most popular synthetic fabrics, there are a lot more. Synthetic garments can hold onto odours and they can also release harmful micro-plastics into our water when they’re washed. 

For these, and the ones we’ve mentioned above, it’s worth finding ways to reduce the number of washes you do to extend their life and to reduce water pollution. One way to do this is to invest in a clothing spritz which will help freshen up synthetic clothes between washes. It’s that simple.

How to clean and care for Baby Clothes 

Ok, we admit, this isn’t a type of fabric but this absolutely is a pretty unique type of wash. First things first, baby clothes get stained (a lot!) And secondly, babies have really sensitive skin. Therefore it’s best to use something fit for purpose. 

Make sure you wash baby clothes in something that is irritant free and gentle on skin while also being an effective way of tackling stains. Clothes Doctor's Baby Wash is super soft, delicate, and perfect for the most sensitive skin. 

Ready to wash? 

We’ve covered how to clean everything from cotton to bamboo to wool and cashmere and synthetic materials like polyester. We’ve made sure that not only do you know how to care for your clothes properly so they last longer but also how to be eco-friendly while doing it by suggesting some fabulous laundry products. 

From stain removal to steaming, we’ve delivered the tips so laundry day will be nothing short of a success. 

Got some extra laundry tips? We’d love to hear them! Let us know in the comments below. 


Back to blog