We all want to look after our clothes and often dry-clean fragile fabrics. Yet the process of dry-cleaning is a highly toxic one using a chemical called perchloroethylene which can cause damage to the liver, kidney and even to the reproductive system of a person with prolonged exposure to it.
Many of us believe that if a label says “dry-clean only” then that is what you have to do.
In Nana’s day there were no dry-cleaners to take their silks and linens to so they hand washed, which is still a very safe way to treat fabrics.
To hand wash successfully, wash only one item at a time. Use a small basin such as your bathroom hand basin or a bucket. Fill with lukewarm to cold water (hot water can ruin delicate fabrics.)
Use a mild soap and gently squeeze and knead your garment then lay on a clean towel. Roll up the towel with the garment in it and then squeeze the towel. I do this by laying it on the floor and standing on it, moving my way up the roll.
Dry your garment out of direct sunlight and lay it rather than hang it to prevent it stretching. When thoroughly dry, iron using the heat recommended on the label.
Normal clothes detergents can be too harsh for delicate fabrics such as woollens, lace and silk. Instead use Wendyl’s Green Goddess Lavender Laundry Liquid, or try making some bran water to use when cleaning your special things, here’s a link to the recipe.
This article is from Wendyl Nissen’s book Recipes For A Cleaner Life.