If you have silk or other delicate items, you’ve probably wondered if you really need that bottle of super-expensive speciality detergent they tried to sell you. Here’s a cheaper alternative…
Speciality detergent: Yes or No?
The quick answer is yes, wool and silk do need special care in the laundry. If you want your item to last and stay robust, you can’t use a standard washing powder on it.
Why? It’s due to the composition of these two fabrics. They both contain a high degree of protein – that’s why they feel so great on the skin. Most modern washing powders, however, contain enzymes to boost the washing efficiency – and those same enzymes will also slowly damage the protein content of the threads.
The pH of standard washing powder is also very alkaline, whereas these two fabrics need a neutral to slightly acidic touch. This will also degrade the fabric over time. Bleach is an absolute no-no for the same reason!
I don’t want to buy an (expensive) special detergent
If you’re not keen on yet another chemical product, or if the budget is a little too tight, don’t despair yet! Soap nuts may seem like just another ‘green’ craze, but they’re actually great for these two fabric types.
Make a ‘tea’ using 4-6 nuts for a normal load. Allow the nuts to steep in hot water for about 1 hour, or until a light brown, slightly frothy ‘tea’ is made. It’s important to pre-soak the nuts, as they need warmer water to draw the cleansing saponins out.. Then simply use the tea as you would a liquid laundry detergent.
Skip the pricey special detergent and keep your delicate fabrics looking great too! It’s a win-win.