Q. Do I have to wash my delicate clothes with a special detergent?
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
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