How To Clean Different Materials

Written by Marc | 11/08/2016



How To

When it comes to washing your clothes, it’s not as simple as just throwing everything in the washing machine and hoping for the best. Different types of materials require different levels of care. Some are machine washable, and some can be dried, but there are some materials that need special attention.

Mainline Menswear has put together this handy ‘how to’ guide to help you out. Hopefully, this will stop you from ruining your favourite jumper, or letting all the dye leak out of your jeans.


Cashmere is one of the materials that needs extra consideration. It is made from animal hair, and therefore like you wash your hair, it needs to be properly maintained. Dry cleaning is pretty much the only option when it comes to cashmere. Although if you don’t want to have to pay for your cleaning, you can hand wash it. Just remember to let it dry naturally, or a great trick is to run it through a salad spinner.


Cotton is by far the easiest material to wash. You can throw it in the washing machine, tumble dry it and iron it as much as you like. The only rule with cotton is the temperature you wash it on. Whites can be washed in hot water, but colours are best washed at 30 degrees, to stop the colours from running.


There are some people that believe you should never wash your denim. Although this isn’t necessarily true, denim should really be washed as little as possible. Treat stains and marks individually, and try to scrub them off with cool water and detergent. A new pair of jeans shouldn’t be washed until roughly six months after purchase. This stops the colour from running and the shape from changing.

If you do want to wash your jeans in the washing machine, use a low temperature and turn them inside out. Jeans should never be tumble-dried, so hang them up and let the moisture drip out naturally.

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Leather and suede are other materials that should be kept out of the washing machine. Care for marks and stains individually with proper leather-cleaning detergent, and that’s pretty much all you can do. They are both fairly resilient materials, so shouldn’t need much upkeep. However, when you buy a new leather or suede product, it’s best to apply some protection to it early on. You can buy this in most supermarkets, and it allows the fabric to remain water-resistant and less susceptible to marks.


Both nylon and polyester are simple materials to clean, much like cotton. They’re both made from plastic, so can be washed in a machine – although 30 or 40 degrees is preferable. You can also tumble dry them, again at a low heat, and iron them to reduce creasing.


Silk is a very delicate fabric, and is regarded as a luxury item in clothing. You’re best off taking silk clothing to the dry cleaners or treating marks individually in cold water. Mild silk detergents are available to buy, but be careful which products you choose. Silk is expensive so you don’t want to ruin it! Never tumble dry your silk, just let it hang up and dry naturally.


Subject to popular belief, wool can be washed in a machine. Many modern washing machines may have a specific wool setting, but if not just run it on a delicates cycle. This will be a lower temperature and a slower spin, to stop the fabric from unravelling. Let wool clothing dry naturally as tumble drying will cause the fabric to shrink or lose its shape. Clean 5 Clean 4

With all materials, it’s always best to read the label on your clothing before you wash it. These rules will apply to the majority, but there’s always one awkward item that needs special care. For more information about washing machine settings for certain clothing, read this! And if you’re wondering can you put trainers in the washing machine, we’ve got a comprehensive guide!

Mainline Menswear stocks clothing, footwear and accessories from over 85 brands. Visit our website here to shop our extensive collection and find your new favourite piece of clothing for autumn and winter.

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