Sustainable Style: Hand Washing Delicates

Having a minimalist wardrobe makes it easier for you to care for your clothing; there is less to clean, mend, and put away. Here are my tips on hand washing to help get the longest life out of those delicate pieces you love.


Fabrics you should hand wash: wool, cashmere, silk, or clothing with lace or crochet pieces. Some linen is okay to machine wash just check your labels.

For soap I prefer Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds, a castile soap, though you can use any soap you like. I do a 1:10 ratio of soap to water, just use enough to suds up the water. I’d say about a teaspoon of traditional soap would do.


I just use the same soap! But it’s important to suds up the stain and really get the soap in there. I then let it dry overnight before washing it and I swear I have even gotten a turmeric stain out with this technique!


I wear my pieces as many times as I can before washing, though white is harder since it shows dirt faster. Another option is to just steam the garment if it is otherwise clean. For sweaters I wash them once or twice in the cold season and my delicate summer blouses just as needed.

I like to stick with similar colors when hand washing, lights with lights and darks with darks. I think our mom taught us this right? I fill my sink just enough to cover the clothing then massage the soap into each piece and let sit for an hour or so. Once soaked, let the sink drain and fill it up again to massage out all of the soap and you are ready to dry!



They need to be laid flat so the don’t loose their shape. I suggest after your sweater has been hand washed, lay it flat on top of a towel and fold the towel to cover the sweater. Next, roll it up to absorb as much water from the sweater by squeezing it into the towel. Then lay flat to dry; I usually just lay it flat over a cookie sheet or a lid to a large plastic bin (not pretty but it works!) They do make a sweater drying rack that is a mesh screen so it will dry faster but I don’t feel like keeping one around to be used a few times a year, ya know?


I do the same towel rolling technique and then just lay them on my drying rack. I rearrange every so often if it’s something stiffer like linen, or just steam when fully dry.


I do not have any polyester pieces but if you do I suggest investing in one of these  Guppy Friends ,they help catch the micro plastics so they don’t end up in the ocean.