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How to Wash Delicates

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How to wash silk and other delicate textiles

When caring for and cleaning your delicate fabrics, one of the most important things to remember is that it’s best to wash delicates separately from other laundry, such as cotton t-shirts, denim jeans, and so on. Materials such as silk, wool, rayon and linen are a lot more fragile in structure and therefore are easily damaged by heavier fabrics and even from zippers and buttons from other items of clothing.

Wash delicates properly by sorting and choosing the right method

After sorting the delicates into different materials and light or dark colors, it comes to time to find out how to wash the items. Check the care symbols and wash your silk item according to instructions, as some delicate textiles can be washed on a gentle cycle in the washing machine, while others must be hand washed. It also might be that the clothing item needs to be washed in cold water only.

Machine washing silk

Washing silk in a machine is totally fine as long as you separate your laundry and set your machine to a gentle cycle, such the hand wash cycle. Here are some more quick tips on how to wash silk in the machine:

  • Check the care label to see what the manufacturer recommends
  • Avoid washing silk with heavier pieces of clothing
  • Put the silk items into a mesh bag before washing, as this helps protect them against the washing machine drum
  • Wash on a delicates or gentle cycle. Unless recommended otherwise by the care label, wash on a cold setting
  • One great tip on how to care for silk after washing is to place the items into a fresh towel to soak up any excess water

Don’t dry the items in direct sunlight; either hang them on the line or lay them flat depending on the garment type. Avoid the tumble dryer at all costs and consult our tips on how to dry your clothes.

Washing silk by hand

If you prefer to be on the safe side and wash silk by hand, then here’s what you should know:

  • Fill a basin with cold water
  • Add just a few drops of Persil® Original detergent and stir into the water
  • Soak the garments in the water and agitate lightly for around three to five minutes
  • Rinse the items again in cold water from the tap and gently squeeze out excess water, but avoid wringing or twisting the fabric
  • Use a fresh towel to soak up all the water
  • Line dry or lay the items flat, but don’t place in direct sunlight

How to wash wool

Understanding exactly how to wash a wool sweater isn’t so different from silk, but it still requires a fair bit of know-how before you wash it. If your machine doesn’t have a dedicated wool cycle, it’s okay to use a cold water setting or the general delicates setting. Use Persil® Original and, ideally, place the item into a mesh laundry bag. Hand washing wool is similar to silk, although if you need to wash merino wool, it’s best to soak and gently agitate the item for around 10 minutes. Always lay the sweater flat instead of hanging to dry.

Reminders for how to wash delicates


  • Don’t use chlorine bleach because it can damage the natural fibers
  • Drying in direct sunlight can cause color fade
  • Tumble dryers can shrink or damage delicates
  • Always consult the garment care label: it will tell you the best way to wash the item
  • Always separate delicates from your regular laundry, like jeans and t-shirts.