How to Keep Your Festive Items Looking Fresh This Holiday Season


The holidays may be the busiest social season of the year! Not only are there parties to go to, but also plenty of cozy dinners at home and family gatherings to enjoy. While you may have already thought about what you’ll be wearing, don’t sleep on the most important way to make yourself look great throughout the holiday season: washing your festive and fun garments so they stay looking clean, fresh and fantastic.


The holidays ring in not only cakes, cookies and champagne – but the stains that come with baking and other activities you may partake in as you prepare to host friends and family. We’ve got some tips for how to wash holiday items from your favorite ugly Christmas sweater, to holiday tablecloths, napkins and even tree skirts, stockings and Christmas pajamas.



Tips for washing holiday items:

A lot of holiday items cannot be machine washed due to their delicate fabrics like velvet, fleece or faux fur, or because of embellishments like pompoms, tinsel, and even lights on Christmas sweaters and hats. But that doesn’t mean that you have to live with stains. We’ve got tips below for how to spot clean, hand wash and identify how a holiday item can be washed.



use laundry symbols guide when washing holiday clothes

1. Read the laundry care labels

It sounds like a no-brainer but reading the care labels for washing and drying instructions is an oft-overlooked step. It’s also the reason your clothes don’t come out of the wash looking as good as they did before you washed them. If the tag says, “dry clean only” then your only option is to drop off the garment at your local cleaners. But otherwise, you might have some wiggle room. You can dry clean, handwash or possibly even wash your holiday item in a gentle cycle on your machine. Look for other instructions on the label such as “handwash only” or “air dry,” and do what the label recommends.



2. Use the right detergent

Whether you’re handwashing your garment (more on that later) or you can get away with a machine wash, use a detergent that performs well in cold water and that is gentle on the fabric! ARM & HAMMER™ liquid laundry detergents are formulated for all water temperatures and designed for today’s high-efficiency washing machines. ARM & HAMMER™ laundry detergents with OxiClean™ are also enzyme-based with power stain fighters to target food-based stains like chocolate, sauces and dips, and red wine.



use mesh laundry bag when washing delicate or small items

3. Use a mesh laundry bag for delicate or small items

If you’re machine-washing delicate fabrics, especially those with embellishments, a mesh bag is a must—even if you’re using the gentle cycle on your washer. The bag helps protect your clothes, preventing decorative adornments from getting snagged on other fabrics. It also maintains the shape of your clothing (no more stretched out straps or tangled ties). Before you place your clothing in the bag, turn your delicate clothing inside out and close zippers, hooks, and other closures.


Using a mesh bag is a must for washing holiday items such as Santa lingerie, decorative hosiery for your formal party, or holiday bras, panties or thongs. It’s also a great idea for small holiday items like Christmas socks, gloves, scarves, or ear warmers that can be washed in the machine.



4. Handwash festive clothes properly

Fabrics such as silk, wool, or highly embellished (such as sequined) items should be handwashed. You can use the same gentle detergent, like ARM & HAMMER™ Sensitive Skin Free & Clear that you use in your washing machine. To do it right:


  1. Fill a clean sink or basin with water at the recommended temperature specified on the clothing label. If in doubt, use cold water.
  2. Add a small amount of liquid laundry detergent and swish around a bit to help it dissolve and create some suds.
  3. Place the item in the water (you can handwash multiple items together, as long as they’re the same color).
  4. Use your hands to very gently agitate the fabric.
  5. Be careful not to oversoak (no more than 30 minutes). Too much soaking time can fade fabrics, cause colors to bleed, and ruin beading or sequins.
  6. Empty the soapy water and fill with cool water. Rinse until there are no signs of suds.


To wash a holiday sweater or a knit hat or stocking, follow our guidelines for how to wash a sweater .



air drying clothes on laundry rack

5. Air dry, not tumble dry, your festive finery

If your label says to air dry or line dry, you’ll want to skip the dryer. (Yes, even on the air-dry setting.) Heat and tumbling can ruin some delicate fabrics and melt embellishments. Instead, lay sweaters and items made of stretchy fabric flat to dry on a rack or a towel spread on a table to keep them from stretching out or becoming misshapen.




Try ARM & HAMMER™ Detergents to Remove Stains

ARM & HAMMER™ has a laundry detergent formula to remove tough stains this holiday season and all year round.



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