The Ultimate Guide To Washing Your Clothes

If washing clothes sends you into a spin cycle, don’t worry. This is the dawn of a new laundry day. We put together The Ultimate Guide To Washing Your Clothes to help you sort through any of your questions—and your laundry—so you can tackle dirty clothes one load at a time.

Ultimate Washing Guide

Keep Your Dark Clothes Dark

Don’t be afraid of the darks. Preserve the color of your dark clothes by washing them separately using the shortest, cold-water cycle. Line-dry (out of direct sunlight) when possible to help maintain the original appearance of these garments. If you’re short on time, load the drier and set it to the lowest temperature, being mindful not to over-dry.

Keep Your Bright Clothes Bright 

The bright way to wash clothes? Separate clothes by color: bold brights and muted pastels. Choose the shortest cycle appropriate for the type of fabric and its soil-level. If something bleeds, don’t place the freshly-stained garment in the dryer—heat will only set the dye. Instead, launder it again individually.

Keep Your White Clothes White

Wash white, right. The best way to keep your whites immaculate is to launder all your white items together in the hottest water the fabric can withstand, pretreating any stains, spills, and sweat marks before placing in the washing machine.
Ultimate Washing Guide


Read the Label 

Tag, you’re it! When it comes to caring for clothing there is one cardinal rule: read the care instructions. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so decode the symbols sewed onto your clothes. PRO TIP: If there is an X over a circle, that’s your cue to use the washing machine instead of heading to your nearest dry cleaner.

Consider the Fabric

Not all fabrics are created equal. Most cotton, linen, cashmere, and synthetic fabrics can be washed at home. But velvet, rayon and silk hate water so you’ll have to learn to love the dry cleaner with those fabrics. Beware, you can over-dry clean. So take clothes to the cleaners sparingly—and only when stained.

Ultimate Washing Guide


We’ve got to hand it to you, diving into the world of delicates and ‘HAND WASH ONLY’ labels can be a daunting task. It does takes time but think of it in terms of protecting your investments—aka clothing you’ve spent your hard-earned money on.

Hand Wash Only: Prep 

Whether it’s your kitchen sink or your bathtub, make sure you pick something that’s big enough to fully submerge your garments. Start by filling it with warm water—cold for linen and wool fabrics—then add a tablespoon of detergent. PRO TIP: More detergent doesn’t equal cleaner clothes. There’s such a thing as over-doing it on laundry detergent.

Hand Wash Only: Soak

Let delicates soak in water. Once you’re ready: drain the vessel, clean it, and fill it up again with water or run your garments under the tap to rinse.

Hand Wash Only: Dry

When it’s time to dry DO NOT wring out clothes, it twists the life (and shape) out of your delicate items. Instead, use your hands to press down on fabric to push excess water out. Lay items on a flat surface on top of a clean, dry towel.

Ultimate Washing Guide

Don’t throw out those dirty shoes just yet, with these tips on cleaning your kicks you might be able to breathe a second-life into your favorite pair of shoes.

Cleaning Sneakers 

Before you dump your dirty sneakers into the washer remove and laces or inserts and prep shoes by brushing off as much dirt and debris as possible. Place everything into a wash bag, and then toss into the machine. Add liquid detergent and some vinegar to help remove odors. Then wash using the delicate cycle and cold water, making sure to air dry.

Cleaning Leather Shoes

The more you spend on shoes, the more time you are going to want to spend on keeping them perfect. Hand-wash leather shoes to avoid any potential damage. Use a mixture of warm water and liquid detergent, gently scrubbing with a soft brush. Soak up any excess water and detergent with a soft cloth. Let shoes air dry.

Download our Ultimate Washing Guide and tape it up in your laundry room! 

Ultimate Washing Guide

Are you needing to replace some items in your closet that may have been ruined in the wash? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. With this helpful guide, we’re confident you’ll be a pro at washing your clothes in no time. Take your style quiz and order your first Fix to replenish your closet. Five curated styles will come straight to your door for an effortless, at-home fashion show. Or, head on over to Stitch Fix Freestyle™ to instantly browse and buy the items that catch your eye. Shipping, returns and exchanges are always free. 

A New Way To Shop

Stitch Fix connects you with personal Stylists to send you looks you’ll love.

Get Your Fix

Need expert fashion advice?

Get a personal stylist

Want more tips, trends & insider news? Follow @stitchfix on Instagram