# clothing care # Laundress

How I Take Care of My Clothes

This week we are talking about clothing care: specifically delicates. I'm such a strong advocate for men and women dressing up on a daily basis. Many times people don't dress up because a.) they don't want to "ruin" their nice clothes and b.) they don't want to spend lots of money at the dry cleaner. Well, I'm here to help. Yes it is possible to wear nice clothes on a daily basis, prevent them from getting ruined and launder them at home. I know because that's what I do! All of those silk blouses and dresses in my ten-item wardrobe? I wash them at home and this week I'll share my secrets with you.

Of course, I would like you to use discretion and common sense when deciding on how to care for a garment. Don't go sticking your prom dress in the washing machine! I don't wash all of my clothes... some of the more formal dresses I have always go to the dry cleaner. I'm talking about those everyday clothes, flowy tops, summer dresses, etc.

Mesh laundry bags

Mesh laundry bags are wonderful and I think everyone with a washing machine should own them. They prevent your clothes from getting stretched and ruined by getting caught on the column during the spin cycle. They are also the only way to wash your undergarments when using a machine.


It's important to pick the right detergent for the type of clothes you're washing. Delicate wash for delicates and wool and cashmere shampoo for sweaters. But no need to get carried away. You'll be surprised to know that I wash many of my clothes (even silks) with good old fashioned Tide.

Drying racks

When washing delicate clothes it's important to avoid the tumble dryer at all costs. It will shrink your nice clothing, so I always hang my wet laundry on drying racks and iron them once dry. When you iron your clothes, make sure your iron is set to the proper setting (silks will be a different setting than linen, for example).

Stain remover

Keep a good stain remover on hand. They even make travel sized stain removers for your purse (although I haven't quite got it together yet to purchase one of those). Take care of stains as soon as possible so they don't set in.

For a more comprehensive discussion, check out this week's video. If you are unable to see the video above, click here, look in the sidebar of the blog or visit my channel www.youtube.com/TheDailyConnoisseur

Madame Chic Inspiring Thought

Of course the best way to deal with stains is to prevent them entirely and I like to do that by wearing aprons whenever I am doing housework that could compromise my clothes. I love aprons and think they are a chic addition to any outfit when at home. This pretty Cath Kidston apron was a gift from my mother-in-law, Jane. Thank you!

This week I would love to know... how do you take care of your clothes? Do you have any tips and tricks for us? What do you think of these methods? Are you more likely to wear your nice clothes around the house now?

See you soon! xx

MUSIC: Mozart's Marriage of Figaro (I couldn't get enough so I used it in this video too!) :)
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rosary said...

Dearest Jennifer, Love your posts! You are always so charming, but you may want to consider not saying "um" so much.

And I can't wait to read your upcoming book. I've pre-ordered.

From a very, very old woman

Unknown said...

Hey, I do those things too! I sort of feel validated. :-) I use the laundress for my wool and cashmere, and the laundress silk for my silk garments (although they smell and the same are probably the same thing). I hand wash my silks out of habit. I machine wash my linen tops and delicates and hang dry. I DO use mesh bags, which was a good preventer of mistakes we've found. I needed some signal to my husband NOT to machine dry certain items. We share the laundering task, so sometimes one or the other of us takes clothes from the washer into the dryer. Once he dried a favorite pair of pants that shrunk up too short, and I was crushed. He felt bad. So the signal I came up with, was that ANY TIME something is in a mesh bag, it doesn't go in the dryer - but gets hung up to air dry, and IT HAS WORKED EVER SINCE. I try to wear an apron when cooking or hand washing dishes. I've found if I get a grease splatter on my silk tops, I instantly put a dab of cornstarch on them, and it absorbs the oil. When I wash it like usual, it comes right out.

Thanks for sharing your tips. It is good to hear how you care for your garments since they are a higher quality and precious.

LadyFin said...

I love your tip about aprons and am looking for some cute ones to wear.

My hobbies of knitting and sewing have taught me a lot about clothing care and I'm happy to share with you and your readers some tips that I have learned. Clothing care is a frequent topic of conversation among my friends with the same hobbies because when you put so much time and care into hand making a garment you want to take care of it!

I wash all my wool and cashmere in Eucalan. It comes in great scents, I prefer lavender, and the smell is very subtle. The great thing about this is that you do not need to rinse it out of your clothing which eliminates the extra step saving time and also wear on your sweater.

Soak in sink for 20 mins. Either spin in machine or wring careful not to rub together to avoid pilling and felting. Lay flat to dry. Done!! Washing in a mesh bag may increase pilling because the fibers are rubbing together.

I also have started making my own laundry detergent. I know it sounds crazy but it has been the best! David Suzuki has a great recipe on his website along with other great household cleaning recipes. This saves money and our environment, but it has also really improved how my clothes look. I am busy with my 2 year old and don't have a lot of time, but this only requires a couple of hours twice a year. We make 6 months at a time because that is what we have room to store in our loft.

Love your advice about the mesh bags and drying rack. Thanks for such a great post!


Unknown said...

Hi Jennifer, I always enjoy your videos and I love to do laundry so I was very excited to see the title of this post! I've not heard of the 'sweater stone' you mention in the video but it sounds less aggressive on your clothes than the battery-powered 'lint shavers' that are available here in New Zealand. I would love to be enlightened as to what the sweater stone is and where to get one....
Many thanks, Stephanie
Ps Can't wait for the new book!!!

Catelijne said...

Hi Jennifer,
Nice video :) I use the same methods, with similar detergent available here.
Wanted you to tell: my orchid is flowering for the second time! And my orchid costed only 6 euro's at my local market. Really understand why you love orchids now.

Looking forward to your articles, videos and book!

Unknown said...

I use Eucalan for protein based wools and silks too. It gets that lovely sheen back!
Very helpful video. Thank you!

Sarah Extance Garcia said...

I have a cute apron that my mother in law gave me too. I saw it at Anthropologie one time and my dear m-i-l remembered and gave it to me for my birthday. I love it!

Unknown said...

Thank you for the video!

What is your normal "routine" for washing? Do you wash and item after each wear, or do you re-wear some things before laundering? I've been rather curious how your laundry routine works with such a small wardrobe.

Lori said...

Loved your post and video!

A department store clerk told me that washing jeans and dark colors inside out with a detergent specifically created for dark colors (I use Woolite Dark) helps them retain their color. She claimed that detergent contains a small amount of bleach which over time fades your dark clothing.

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Love this post! I'm always looking for life "hacks" to save time/money. And just think of all the chemicals in dry-cleaning fluids..No thanks.
I do have one more tip: women's undershirts. The best (because they never show through.. no one can tell) are here: www.annienymotee.com/shop. I love mine. make sure you use the sizing chart, though.
Your posts are the best, and I love your way of paring things down to the best of the best!!

Anonymous said...

ok, i don't know why my name shows up like that above.

Unknown said...

Hi Jennifer,

I'm a bit old-fashioned and wash all woollen and silk items by hand. My mother taught me how to do this, and I really do believe it extends the life of your clothes. Garments are rolled gently in a towel to remove excess water, and then laid flat on a drying rack in the shade. I use the beautiful Sonnet wool and silk wash (Sonnet is a German organic company).

I've only ever used mesh bags for underwear, not realising you could get really large ones - I'm excited to try them.


PS the blouse you are wearing is a wonderful colour on you :)

Christina said...

Jennifer, thank you for this insightful post. I have been slowly upgrading my wardrobe to more high quality pieces, and it's refreshing to know I can care for them at home.

You are inspiring as always.

All the best,

efstathia kositzidou said...

I really adore your blog.Could you please post a typical weekly menu[i would really like to know the way you eat].And something else.Iliked very mvch those posts about your favorite films.I would really like to find out about your recent favorites.Thank you.Efi from Greece.

Abbe Powers said...


You are so very inspiring to me, thank you for your ever-thoughtful posts.

I just had to stop and comment because I was in London last week and stopped at Cath Kidston (it's my favorite little splurge when I'm across the pond!) and bought that very same apron! I like to say that aprons are my favorite accessory.

P.s. I am also looking forward to your new book!

Anonymous said...

A tip I learned from Aunt Daisy: pine sap/resin can be removed from fabrics with a dab of methylated spirits on a cloth (but as always, try an inconspicuous area first).

I can see I've saved myself a lot of trouble by not using a dryer, although it probably helps that outdoor clotheslines are considered de rigeur here in New Zealand.

Rita said...

Excellent post! A woman who always wears beautiful clothing commented to me once that part of the fun of having nice things is caring for them. Thanks especially for the hints from Ann G.R. and LadyFin. And, Jennifer, you've inspired me to get some aprons!

Uxille said...

Have you try the residue removal method with baking soda? I did it and I saw dirts coming out of already washed cloths. It's going to sound dramatic, but it's life changing.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Thank you everyone for weighing in and for offering your own advice on how to care for your clothes. This is such an interesting topic! I think once men and women realize that they can take care of their nice clothes at home, they will feel empowered to wear their nice clothes on a regular basis.

Amanda, to answer your question- I usually wear a garment twice before washing it unless it was stained or worn on a really hot day.

Thank you for all of your wonderfully supportive comments. I love having this weekly discussion with you!

Jennifer xx

Unknown said...


Vicki Zimmerman said...

This was great and I use Tide, too, but it's Tide Free & Gentle, in the white container. Mesh bags are wonderful and really do help to preserve our clothing and undergarments. I'm off to check out where to buy Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo. One question: Do your sweaters lay flat on the drying rack or on a solid surface on a towel? Thank you.

Vicki Zimmerman said...

P. S. For Steph Fink: Here's a great youtube video on the four ways to remove fuzzy sweater pillings. It shows four different types: scissors, combs, stones and shavers. I have a Dritz sweater comb and Iike it very much and don't find it to be too harsh on my cashmere sweaters. Hope this helps you decide:

4 Quick Ways to Remove Fuzzy Sweater Pillings!

Joy said...

I have a front loader HE washer (that I actually don't like very much, but anyway), so I don't use mesh bags. But I wash almost all my clothes on delicate, cold water, and then I hang them to dry. I wash a couple things by hand. There were some great tips here, including the readers' comments! I'm going to have to try that cornstarch method in oil splatters because that drives me crazy. I use essential oils a lot, and have spilled a couple drops on t-shirts, so I'm wondering if I cornstarch works on those? I have started wearing aprons too, thanks to you!

I use Method detergent, but I'm thinking of trying some of the others mentioned here.I'm going to go research! :-)

Aenne Carver said...

I especially liked your advice about washing silk. I love my silk tops but hate to pay to have them dry cleaned. I laughed about the one time you don't put an apron on grease splatters. That just happened to me!Thank you for drying rack idea too. I use a clothes line but in hot sun I think my silks might fade

Katrina Veenstra said...

Love this post! Thanks for this... as a young wife and mom I am still learning a lot about house keeping and need all the advice I can get!

Also, unrelated, I was wondering how do I tell what clothing is good quality? What fabrics do I look for, blends and what are some to avoid? I would really like to be able to tell quality without looking at a brand name. Any advice?

Polly said...

I am catching up here! Your Cath Kidston apron is so sweet. I also do something a little unorthodox; I've started to wear cotton 'housedresses' at home. I make them myself and avoid anything even remotely muu-muu-ish. Think 1930s, not 1970s. They are much higher quality in fabric and construction than anything I could buy in the stores, they look good enough so that I appear 'dressed' if anyone drops by my house, and I don't have to worry too hard about them if I want to go out to do my gardening or take a walk in the fields (we live on a farm, although we don't do the farming--we just enjoy the country life :)). I'm also devoted to my aprons!

I'm also a dedicated line-dryer! I like to hand-sew some of my own garments as well, and in order to preserve them I keep them away from the dryer! I keep my dryer setting on the coolest heat, and dry everything (even towels) that way--it works surprisingly well! I have found that high heat is not as necessary as I thought. If I am attempting to sanitize something, I will use high heat, but for most of our needs, the heat is unnecessary!