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Your Quick Guide to Washing 7 Popular Fabrics

Laundry day typically isn’t something we look forward to. Let’s face it, it’s a chore we can’t get away from. So why not make it easier on yourself to understand how to wash specific fabrics to extend the life your clothes? Print this out and keep by your washing machine.


Most cottons can be laundered, but keep in mind the fabric is susceptible to shrinking. Because of that, you’ll want to wash them in cold water. Take them out of the dryer slightly damp and line dry or place on a clothes rack to air dry.

The bottom line: Wash in cold water, dry on low setting and remove while damp to air dry.


Polyester doesn’t usually shrink, so cold or warm water is fine to use. The benefit of this fabric is that it doesn’t wrinkle, but it can pill. You may want to invest in a fabric shaver/pill remover as it will keep your clothing looking pristine. Adding fabric softener alleviates static cling. Because polyester dries quickly, skip the dryer and hang to dry. Too much dryer heat can break down the fabric.

The bottom line: Wash in cold or warm water with fabric softener, then air dry.


As long as the label doesn’t say “Dry Clean Only,” wash your linens inside out to protect the fibers, in warm water, on the gentle cycle. Always wash linens separately from other fabrics. An important step, however, is pre-washing the garment in cold water when it’s new because this prevents future shrinking.

The bottom line: Turn garment inside out, wash in warm water on gentle cycle, then line dry.


Never wash spandex with a detergent that contains chlorine or fabric conditioners because they damage the structure of the fabric. Turn garment inside out and place in mesh bag, then wash on gentle cycle. Because heat can break down the fibers, stay away from the dryer and hang to dry.

The bottom line: Turn garment inside out and place in mesh bag, wash on gentle cycle then air dry.


Because wool easily shrinks, it’s best to hand wash in cold water whenever possible providing your clothing’s care label allows this option. If that’s not a possibility, place your garment in a mesh garment bag and wash in cold water on the gentle or wool cycle. Lay flat to dry.

The bottom line: Hand wash or place in mesh bag and wash on gentle cycle in cold water, then lay flat to dry.


Washing silk doesn’t have to be complicated when you follow the fabric care label. When it says “Dry Clean Only,” take it to a professional. Otherwise, the key to washing silks is to soak the fabric in cold water prior to washing. Then, using a gentle detergent, hand wash. Absorb excess water with a towel and hang or flat dry away from sunlight.

The bottom line: Hand wash in cold water, then hang or lay flat to dry.


Because denim is a thick fabric you don’t need to launder it as often as you would items such as T-shirts or underwear. It’s recommended you wash after 10 wears, or when jeans are stained or just need freshening up. In between washes you can give them a freshness boost with a spray of fabric freshener. This approach will preserve their color and shape and keep them looking new. When it’s time to wash, turn inside out and wash in cold water. Hang to dry, or tumble dry on delicate cycle on low heat setting.

The bottom line: Wash as seldom as possible. Turn denim inside out, wash on cold, hang to dry or tumble dry on low heat delicate cycle.

Always refer to your clothing item’s care label first. Once you’ve properly cleaned your clothes, how about putting them in a brand-new closet system? Victory Closets has a team of experts ready to help you create your dream closet!

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