Washing Tips

How to Clean a House Dress – Everything You Must Know Including Fabric Guide!

A house dress is a women’s at-home garment that is designed for comfort and style. They were one of the staple garments in the 19th century worn to provide maximum comfort while doing any of the house chores. By the early 20th century, every woman’s wardrobe was filled with house dresses because they were practical & durable.

In fact, house dresses now come in beautiful designs and modern styles that are easily worn as a summer or spring dress outside the home – they look well-dressed and comfortable.

We bet you have a house dress lying in your wardrobe right now and we are here to talk a little about how to clean a house dress. Understand that house dresses come in different fabrics so we will talk about how to wash dresses in a washing machine or by hand.  

Woman sorting colored laundry sitting by the washing machine in a laundry room.

How to Clean a House Dress - Cotton

House dresses are mainly made from cotton fabric because they are durable, and can be washed repeatedly without losing fiber integrity. They can be washed in a washing machine. Here’s how to wash a cotton dress in the washing machine:

  • Use warm water and set the cycle to quick
  • Use bleach for white cotton house dresses
  • Separate darker colors to avoid color shifting
  • Don’t go crazy over detergent – use a moderate amount
  • Use fabric softener to avoid stiffness and wrinkles
  • Tumble dry at the lowest setting

Pro Tip

Avoid getting wrinkles on clothes after a wash by removing your dress while it’s still damp, giving it a good shake, and hanging it to air dry. Read “A Lazy Person’s Guide to Getting Wrinkle-Free Clothes Without Using an Iron” for more tips.

How to Clean a House Dress - Linen

Another great fabric for a house dress is linen – it doesn’t wrinkle much as compared to a cotton house dress and it gets softer with every wash compared to dry cleaning. Here is how to wash a linen dress in the washing machine:

  • Use cold water and set the cycle to delicate
  • Cut down the quantity of your detergent
  • Set machine dryer on low
  • Remove the dress when slightly damp
  • Let it air dry completely to avoid stiffness and wrinkles.

How to Clean a House Dress - Polyester

Many house dresses are made with 100% polyester fabric or a mix of cotton and polyester. They are easily washed in washing machines as polyester fiber is durable and can withstand machine cycles. Here is how to wash a polyester dress in the washing machine:

  • Use warm water and set the cycle to normal
  • Use any detergent but don’t overdo it
  • Set the machine dryer on low settings
  • Give it a good shake after removing it from the dryer
  • Let air dry for a few minutes to remove heat

Pro Tip

Polyester fabrics usually get a static cling, especially after a wash. Use a generous amount of fabric softener while washing to avoid the static cling.

Hand washing a black garment submerged in detergent water.

How to Hand Wash a Dress - Cotton, Linen, or Polyester

If your house dress says “hand wash only,” don’t panic. It may sound like a lot of work but it’s actually pretty simple when you follow the 3 step washing of how to clean clothes without a washer – cotton, linen, or polyester:

Step 1: Work on the stains

If your dress has stubborn stains they won’t be removed by hand washing. Work on the stains first – use a good fabric stain remover and dampen the stained areas with it. Take a clean white cloth and dab on the stains until they are gone.

Step 2: Remove sweat patches

Sweat patches are common on house dresses in the underarms, collar, and neckline areas. These patches do not come off by washing alone. Before tossing your clothes in water, apply some liquid detergent on these areas and gently rub them. You can use a soft-bristled brush. When all the patches are light or completely gone away, your dress is ready for a bath.

Step 3: Go for the wash

Once your stains and sweat patches are removed, your dress is ready for the actual bath. Fill your tub with water – warm for cotton and polyester, cold water for linen. Add a small amount of liquid detergent. Soak your dress for a few mins and gently dab it. Discard detergent water & refill with clean water. Rinse once or twice.

Do not squeeze to remove water as this will cause wrinkles. Hang it in the bathroom until all the water drips off then put it in a ventilated room for air drying.

Pro Tip

Use a few drops of fabric softener in your last rinse for added softness and freshness.

And now you know everything about how to clean a house dress. Maybe it’s time to know How to Wash Velvet Clothes – Understanding the Cleaning, Washing, Drying, Folding & Storing of Velvet Dresses.

Frequenty Asked Questions

Q: Can you wash cotton house dresses in a washer?

A: Yes, cotton is pretty durable and can be washed in a washer.

Q: Can you dry-clean polyester clothes?

A: Yes, you can but washing is more recommendable for polyester fabrics. Dry cleaning will make the fabric stiff and washing will make the fabric softer. 

Q: How to hand wash a dress?

A: Fill your tub with water and add detergent. Dab your dress a few times. Discard detergent water and rinse it a few times with clean water. Add fabric softener to your last rinse. Hang your dress in the bathroom for a few minutes to drip out the water then hang it in a well-ventilated room for air drying.

Q: How to avoid wrinkles on a cotton dress after wash?

A: Remove the clothes from the dryer when they are slightly damp. Lay them flat on a surface. Press and pull the fabric to remove wrinkles. Hang for a few minutes to air dry.