Special Laundry Situations

Special Items

Click to download Mrs. Stewart's Home Washing Guide

  • Stockings and Panty Hose should be hand washed in lukewarm water. They can be washed in the washing machine if first placed in a mesh bag or a zippered pillow case. If hand washing, squeeze water out gently without wringing or twisting. Line dry or dry in automatic dryer on the “delicate” cycle in mesh bag.
  • Diapers should be rinsed immediately and soaked in a solution of lukewarm water and a gentle detergent until washing. Run diapers through a spin cycle to release excess contaminated water before washing. Wash in hot water with an adequate amount of gentle detergent on a regular cycle (10+ minutes). As bleach can be harsh on a baby’s skin, we recommend using gentle Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing in the final rinse to keep diapers their whitest.
  • When washing and drying Draperies, Curtains, Quilts, Bedspreads, Rugs and other similar items, we recommend following the instructions on the Care Label, or consulting the manufacturer.

Special Problems

Color Loss

Causes of color loss include bad quality dyes, incorrect bleaching, and an over-hot dryer. Most color loss is permanent and non-reversible. For prevention of color loss, sort clothes properly, follow Care Label instructions on clothing, and Product Label instructions on products used. If you have a garment that you suspect is not “colorfast”, wash it separately. To the first washing, add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of vinegar to the wash load. This will help neutralize the dyes, eliminating some bleeding and fading.

Color Transfer

Also known as “Bleeding”, color transfer occurs when a non-colorfast fabric comes in contact with a lighter color fabric (for instance, red on white) and the dye transfers. This usually happens when both fabrics are wet. This is caused by bad quality dyes.

For prevention of color transfer, sort clothes properly, follow Care Label and Product Label instructions. If noticed before drying, rinse in cool water. If color remains, rub with detergent and re-wash. Use bleach if safe for fabric. Use color remover if safe for fabric.


Graying is caused by loss of whitener in fabric, color transfer, over-bleaching, age, insufficient amount of detergent, presoaking for too long, overloading of washing machine, hard water and/or a number of other factors.

For prevention of dingy looking clothing:

  • Use an adequate amount of detergent (but not too much) and proper water temperature.
  • Be sure clothing is sorted correctly.
  • Do not overload your washer.
  • Limit bleach use. While it is a good stain remover, continuous use will damage fabric fibers irreversibly.
  • To prevent graying caused by hard water, consider the purchase of a home water softener or look into packaged water conditioners.

To prevent and reverse graying caused by mild bleaching, age or insufficient cleaning, use Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing to restore whiteness to white laundry and to brighten colors in colored laundry.


Linting is the process by which small particles or balls of loose, unwanted fiber are formed. Lint gently attaches itself to the surface of clothing. Some lint will always be created by wear and laundering.

To prevent washing-related linting:

  • Unclog or clean out the washing machine lint filter. Follow the machine Manufacturer’s Instructions for care and maintenance of the machine.
  • Sort fabrics which tend to create lint into their own loads (towels, flannel material, blankets, etc.)
  • Before laundering these loads, shake and brush the fabric with a clothes or lint brush, or use the sticky side of masking tape to remove lint.

To prevent drying-related linting:

  • Unclog or clean out the dryer lint filter and follow Manufacturer’s Instructions for proper maintenance.
  • Sort fabrics which tend to create lint into their own loads, shake and brush them free of lint.
  • Incorporate the use of fabric softener sheets.
  • Set the dryer at a cooler temperature.
  • Turn clothes which create or collect lint inside out for drying.
  • Remove clothing when slightly damp.


Pilling occurs when groups of short or broken fibers on the surface of the fabric become tangled together in a tiny ball – a pill. Pilling results from rubbing or abrasion of the fabric during normal wear and use. Pilling is particularly prevalent with polyester and polyester blends.

To prevent pilling:

  • Before laundering, turn the garment inside out.
  • Use a slower agitation and a shorter wash cycle.
  • Use a liquid detergent or allow powdered detergent to dissolve completely before adding garments.
  • Remove from the dryer as soon as it is dry.

To remove pills:

Use a battery operated pill remover, which shaves the pills from the surface of the garment. Or, pull the fabric taut over a curved surface and carefully cut off the pill with scissors or shave the fabric surface with a safety razor.