Good Housekeeping's 'Stain Rescue'

SEERSUCKER: Fabric with puckered stripes woven in during the manufacturing process; usually cotton, but also nylon, polyester, and silk versions. See specific fiber for washing instructions. Drip or tumble dry. Iron on low heat, if needed.

SILK: Natural fiber from the silkworm; in fabrics of various weights and textures. If recommended, hand wash plain-weave crepe de chine and thin, lightweight, and medium-weight silks in lukewarm water with mild soap or detergent or in cold water with special coldwater detergent. Do not use chlorine bleach. Rinse several times in cold water until no trace of suds remains; towel-blot. Dry flat. Iron on wrong side at warm (silk) setting. If so labeled, some silks can be machine washed; follow label directions carefully. Dryclean heavier (suiting weight) silks, pleated silks, and those in dark colors, which may bleed.

SPANDEX: Generic name for stretch fibers often added to other fibers to give them elasticity. Machine wash in warm water on the delicate cycle (if exercise wear, wash after each wearing to remove body oils, which can cause deterioration). Do not use chlorine bleach. Tumble dry on low setting. Iron using low setting.

TERRY CLOTH: Toweling fabric with looped pile made of cotton or cotton/polyester. Machine wash in warm or hot water. Tumble dry or line dry.

VELOUR: Napped fabric, originally wool, now also cotton, silk, and synthetics. Dry-clean unless manufacturer's label indicates it can be washed.

VELVET: Soft-pile fabric, originally silk, now usually rayon or cotton. Dry-clean.

WOOL: Natural fiber made of sheep fleece. Hand wash sweaters and other knits in cold water with coldwater detergent. Rinse thoroughly. Squeeze; do not wring. Towel-blot and dry flat, blocking back to original size. Machine-washable wools are so labeled; follow instructions carefully. Dry-clean woven wools and heavy sweaters.

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