What’s the Best Way to Wash Delicate Laundry?

Real Simple answers your questions.

Q. Do I have to wash my delicate clothes with a special detergent?
Dorothy Mills
Lake Forest, Illinois

A. If the care tag says “gentle cycle,” use a mild detergent. “Regular-formula liquid detergents have chemical additives that can harm delicate fibers,” says Linda Cobb, known as the Queen of Clean (queenofclean.com). Cobb likes Woolite ($6.50, at supermarkets), but if you’re already using an all-natural detergent for regular loads, she recommends Mountain Green detergent ($10, at Whole Foods). “Green detergents are safe for any type of clothing because they are all natural, meaning they don’t contain chemicals that will harm those gentler items.”

For colorfast delicates that are stained, Cobb suggests treating them the natural way, using 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, which is just as effective as nonchlorine bleach. Pour ½ cup into a full load and your garments will sparkle. ―Elinor Smith

Ask a Question
Got a practical dilemma? Submit your question.

Your submission to RealSimple.com, including contact information, gives us the right to modify, use, distribute, reproduce, publish and display the submission indefinitely in all media, means, and forms without any payment to you. You hereby represent that you haven't copied the content from a book, magazine, newspaper, or other commercial source. Your submission to RealSimple.com, and your use of the website are subject to Real Simple's Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

(For questions about your subscription, please visit the Customer Service Help Desk.)