For Patric Richardson, “dry clean only” is a rule that was meant to be broken. Here are his tips for washing these delicate items at home.
Dress shirts: Pre-treat collars, cuffs and underarms with vinegar or diluted oxygen bleach before each wash (Richardson uses the Laundress’ Wash and Stain Bar and a horsehair brush).
Denim: For the first wash, soak in vinegar, water and salt to set the color. Turn inside out and wash with a gentle detergent.
Sweaters (including cashmere): Hand-wash in sudsy ammonia or toss them into a mesh laundry bag and into the machine with a gentle detergent or shampoo. Wash on the delicate cycle. This works for blanket throws, too.
Suits, sport coats, wool pants: Place in a mesh laundry bag and wash with Woolite on the delicate cycle (Richardson prefers the Laundress’ Wool and Cashmere Shampoo). Warning: It will be a big wrinkly blob when it comes out. Hang up until almost dry, then steam it (while hanging) and iron the lapels.
Winter coats and comforters: Treat stains, then wash with a gentle detergent. Hang until almost dry, then finish in the dryer with tennis balls.
UGG boots: Spray with vinegar to scrub off the salt, then wash in the machine with the Laundress’ Wool and Cashmere Shampoo. Let them air dry in front of a fan.
Silk ties: Put them in mesh laundry bag, and wash with a gentle detergent or shampoo on the delicate cycle. Hang to dry.
Rugs: Hang on a clothesline and beat the dust out. Scrub with soap and a brush, then rinse with a water hose. You’ll want the rug to dry quickly so pick a hot, windy day for this task.