Lace dresses

What Is Considered Delicate Clothing?

Defining what is classed as a “delicate” item can be a bit of grey area when it comes to separating your clothes for the wash.

There are many items that we should be cautious about putting on a normal washing cycle or using normal detergent on as some fabrics are far more delicate and can be destroyed by harsher products and the hot temperatures of our machines.


The most obvious of the items classed as delicate is lingerie. The lace, silk and other materials that these items are made from is especially sensitive to the normal settings of your machine and can be damaged from rubbing together with harder materials in the wash.

Even cotton bras are often classed as delicate and should be treated as such when being washed in a machine. You can place these items into a specially designed mesh bag or inside a pillow case when you put them into a washing machine and be sure to washing them on a lower temperature heat to keep them looking better for longer.

Other Delicate Items

Other items that you should take caution with when washing are wool and knitted items such as heavy jumpers. These should be washed on a special wool setting with wool detergent or hand washed if they are especially thick and heavy. Always read the label to see the best way to wash these fabrics.

Silk and cashmere items will often have washing instructions on the labels attached to them and sometimes need to be dry cleaned professionally.

To dry these items, it is best to let them air-dry either by hanging them or laying them flat if you think handing may misshape them. Avoid using a tumble dryer as the heat can damage the fabric and shrink certain items.

List of Delicate Clothing

To summarise, these are the main types of clothing that are considered to be delicates:

  • Lingerie (lace, silk etc.)
  • Wool and knitted items
  • Silk and cashmere