How to Wash Reformation Dresses Like a Pro: Top Tips for Sustainable Fashion Lovers

As a leading sustainable fashion brand, Reformation has become hugely popular for its effortlessly chic dresses made from eco-friendly and recycled materials. However, caring for these delicate garments requires some special care to keep them looking their best while reducing environmental impact. When it comes to washing Reformation dresses, it’s crucial to follow the care instructions provided to avoid damaging the fabric or shortening their lifespan.

The first step is always to check the care tag on your Reformation dress for specific washing, drying and ironing instructions. While some dresses may be dry clean only, many Reformation styles are machine washable if done so gently. For machine washable dresses, use an eco-friendly detergent and wash on the delicate cycle in cold water to prevent shrinkage, discoloration or lost shape. We recommend washing them inside-out and avoiding fabric softeners or bleach that could damage the fabric. It’s also best to line dry or lay flat to dry rather than putting them in the dryer.

If your Reformation dress is hand wash only, use a mild detergent and cold water, being very gentle when cleaning without wringing or twisting excessively. Shake out any excess water and lay flat on a towel to dry to avoid stretching the fabric. By carefully following the washing instructions, you can keep your Reformation dresses looking beautiful while also being kind to the environment through energy and water conservation. The right techniques will extend the lifespan of your favorite dresses.

Understanding Fabric Types

The first step in keeping your Reformation dresses looking fab is understanding the different fabric types they use and how to care for them. Here are some of the most common fabrics found in Reformation dresses and their washing needs:

Viscose and Rayon

Viscose, also known as rayon, is a delicate fabric made from natural sources like bamboo. Reformation uses viscose in dresses like the Rou Dress and Winslow Dress. As a very delicate material, viscose should always be washed by hand or on the gentlest cycle. Use cold water and a mild detergent, then lay flat to dry. Avoid twisting, wringing or using high heat.


Known for its breathability and durability, cotton is a popular choice used in Reformation dresses like the Ainsley Dress and Nico Dress. Cotton can usually be machine washed on a delicate or permanent press setting using cold water. Tumble dry low or hang dry.


Lightweight linen is prone to wrinkling and shrinking when washed incorrectly. Reformation uses linen in the Santorini Dress and Ciana Dress. Wash linen dresses by hand or on delicate and in cold water. Air dry and press with an iron while slightly damp to avoid wrinkles.


A synthetic fabric, polyester is fade-resistant and holds its shape well. It’s blended into dresses like the Gigi Dress. Machine wash cool with similar colors, use a gentle detergent and tumble dry low when needed. Avoid high heat.


Luxurious silk requires the most delicate care. Reformation uses silk in dresses like the Winslow Dress and Cowl Dress. Hand wash only in cold water with a specialty silk detergent. Do not wring and lay flat to dry away from direct sunlight.

Pre-Wash Preparation

Before washing your Reformation dresses, take a few easy preparation steps to ensure the garments are ready for cleaning.

Check Care Tag Instructions

It’s essential to always read the care tag sewn into Reformation dresses for washing, drying and ironing directions. Follow these instructions carefully.

Sort Clothes Properly

Sort dresses into loads by color and fabric type to prevent color bleeding or fabric damage. Wash whites, bright colors and delicates separately. Check for any bleeding on first wash.

Treat Stains

Inspect dresses for any stains and spot treat them with an eco-friendly stain remover before washing. This will allow the stain treatment to work effectively.

Use a Laundry Bag

Place the dress inside a mesh laundry bag to keep delicate fabrics protected and prevent snagging during the wash. Zip up the bag fully before washing.

Green Dry Cleaning vs. Washing

Reformation dresses labeled “Green Dry Clean Only” must be taken to a green dry cleaner that uses environmentally-friendly solvents and processes. This preserves the fabric and avoids shrinking or damage. Ask your local dry cleaner if they are green certified.

For dresses without dry clean only labels, home washing is typically acceptable if done carefully based on the fabric type. Always check the care tag first before choosing to wash at home.

Choosing the Right Detergent

It’s important to use the proper laundry detergent when washing Reformation dresses to lift dirt and stains gently without harming delicate fabrics. Here are the best options:

Mild Liquid Detergent

Look for a gentle, mild liquid detergent like Woolite or The Laundress Delicate Wash. Avoid powder detergents as they can leave residue.

Eco-Friendly Formula

Choose plant-based, biodegradable formulas like Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyer’s or Aspen Clean. Eco-friendly detergents are better for the environment.

Specialty Detergent

For silk dresses, use a specialty silk laundry detergent like The Laundress Silk Shampoo or Kookaburra Wash.

Minimal Detergent

Use only 1-2 tablespoons of mild detergent in a full load. Excessive detergent leads to residue and fiber damage.

Always skip the fabric softener and bleach to avoid irritation and premature wear. White vinegar makes a good natural fabric softener.

Hand Washing Techniques

For delicate fabrics like silk, rayon and linen, Reformation recommends gently hand washing dresses in cool water using the following tips:

  1. Fill a sink or basin with cool water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Swish the dress around to fully dissolve the detergent.
  2. Allow the dress to soak for 5-10 minutes so the detergent can penetrate the fibers.
  3. Rinse the dress thoroughly until the water runs clear. Do not wring or twist dresses to prevent stretching.
  4. Roll the dress in a towel to soak up excess moisture. Shape back into form rather than hanging while wet.
  5. Lay flat on a drying rack or towel away from direct sunlight.

Hand washing allows you to gently clean dresses fiber-by-fiber without damage from agitation or machines. Take your time and treat the fabric delicately.

Machine Washing Methods

Reformation dresses labeled machine washable can be washed at home using the following guidelines:


Divide dresses into piles by color and fabric type before loading the washing machine. Wash whites separately.

Cycle Selection

Choose the delicate or permanent press cycle, which provides gentle agitation for fragile fabrics. The wash temperature should always be cold to avoid shrinking.

Mesh Laundry Bag

Place the dress inside a zippered mesh bag before putting it in the washing machine drum to prevent snagging, pulling or twisting.

Proper Loading

Don’t overload the washing machine – dresses need adequate room to move around freely. Load evenly and allow space for dresses to float.

Mild Detergent

Use a mild, eco-friendly liquid detergent that won’t irritate delicate skin. Measure properly and never use more than needed.

Fabric Softener

Skip the liquid fabric softener, which can leave residue on fabrics that causes premature wear. Use white vinegar instead for softening.

Proper Drying

Never machine dry Reformation dresses! Always hang dry or lay dresses flat immediately after washing to avoid heat damage and shrinkage.

Comparison Table of Washing Reformation Dresses vs. Other Cleaning Alternatives

Cleaning MethodProsCons
Washing Reformation Dresses at Home– Better for environment than dry cleaning
– Can follow specific fabric care instructions
– Allows stain pre-treatment
– Lower cost than dry cleaning
– Risk of shrinking or bleeding if directions not followed properly
– Handwashing takes more time and effort
– Not possible for “dry clean only” dresses
Dry Cleaning– Works well for “dry clean only” dresses
– Professionals have specialized equipment and solvents
– No shrinkage risk
– Dry cleaning chemicals harmful for environment
– Risk of color bleed or damage from solvents
– More costly than home washing
Professional Wet Cleaning– Environmentally-friendly cleaning process
– Specialty detergents lift stains
– No chemical residues left behind
– Limited availability, not all cleaners offer it
– More expensive than home washing
– Risk of shrinkage if improperly dried
Hand Spot Cleaning– Great for small stains between wears
– Prevents set-in stains
– Uses eco-friendly ingredients
– Not suitable for cleaning entire garment
– Time consuming for large areas

Proper Drying Techniques

Drying your Reformation dress properly is just as important as washing it right. Follow these methods:

Hang Drying

Hang dresses on sturdy plastic or wooden hangers to air dry. Do not use wire hangers! Keep away from direct sun to avoid fading.

Flat Drying

Lay dress flat on a mesh drying rack or layer over clean towels, smoothing out the fabric. Rotate periodically.

Avoid Heat

Do not tumble dry or machine dry dresses. Heat causes irreversible damage like shrinkage and misshaping. Always air or line dry only.


For dresses prone to wrinkles, gently tug and reshape the fabric as it dries. Use your hands to smooth wrinkles and creases.

Full Drying

Allow the dress to dry fully before wearing or storing to prevent mildew growth. Thicker fabrics take longer to dry.

Proper drying is the final step to keeping dresses looking beautiful wash after wash. Take time and care when drying.

Ironing and Steaming

If ironing or steaming is needed on your Reformation dress, follow these guidelines:

Read Care Labels

Check if the care tag specifies “No Heat” or “Cool Iron Only.” Follow all labeling instructions. Some fabrics cannot be ironed.

Inside Out

Turn dresses inside out before ironing to avoid damaging outer fabric and any decorative elements.

Low Heat

Use the cool or low temperature setting based on fabric type. Avoid the highest heat which can damage fabrics.

Steam Setting

Use the steam function on your iron to smooth wrinkles more effectively, especially on linen and cotton. Avoid steam on silk.

Iron in Sections

Work in small sections across the dress instead of running the iron over large areas. Target wrinkled spots.

No Pressure

Do not push down firmly – use light pressure and the weight of the iron to avoid flattening details or damaging fibers.

Hang Immediately

After ironing, hang the dress or place back in the closet right away to set the shape.

Stain Removal Tips

Despite your best efforts, stains happen! Treat them promptly using these methods:

Spot Clean

Spot clean fresh stains immediately by gently dabbing the area with a mild detergent and warm water. Avoid vigorous rubbing.


For set-in stains, pre-treat with a stain stick, spray or paste before washing. Let the product sit and work before washing.

Baking Soda

Make a baking soda paste with warm water to gently lift stains from fabric. Rinse well after application.

White Vinegar

White vinegar can dissolve residues and brighten dingy fabrics. Spray onto stains and launder as usual.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Use a small amount of hydrogen peroxide on stained areas before washing. Do not over apply to avoid bleaching.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Steer clear of prewash sprays or bleach, which can damage delicate fabrics. Repeat stain treatments only if needed.

With some persistence, even tough stains can be conquered! Just remember to be gentle on fabrics.

Long-Term Storage

When it’s time to store Reformation dresses between seasons, protect them with these tips:

  • Hang dresses on thick velvet hangers rather than wire hangers that can poke through fabric.
  • Use breathable garment bags to protect from dust and light while allowing air circulation.
  • Store off-season dresses in cool, dark spaces away from direct sunlight, heat and humidity.
  • Clean dresses thoroughly before storage to prevent yellowing, mildew growth or insect damage.
  • Layer acid-free tissue paper between dresses to prevent snagging or colors from bleeding.
  • Give silk dresses extra protection by storing fully loose, not on hangers.
  • Refold and reshape garments every 3-6 months while in storage to maintain the shape of the fabric.

With proper storage methods, your Reformation dresses will stay pristine and ready to wear for future seasons!

FAQs about Washing Reformation Dresses

How often should I wash my Reformation dress?

Unless visibly dirty or smelly, Reformation dresses can go 5-6 light wears between washes. Spot clean when needed between full washes. Frequent washing causes premature wear.

Can I use liquid fabric softener when washing my dress?

No, skip the fabric softener! Softeners and dryer sheets leave chemical residues that damage fabrics over time. For softness, use white vinegar in the rinse cycle instead.

My dress care tag says “Dry Clean Only.” Can I wash it at home?

No, you should take it to a professional dry cleaner if the tag specifies dry clean only. The solvents and methods used in dry cleaning could not be safely replicated at home.

How do I wash printed or embellished Reformation dresses?

Turn printed dresses inside out before washing to protect the design. For embellished dresses, use a lingerie bag to keep decorative elements from snagging or loosening.

Can I use OxiClean or bleach to remove tough stains?

Avoid using harsh chemicals like OxiClean, bleach or prewash sprays on your Reformation dresses as they can damage or discolor the fabrics.

How do I wash silk Reformation dresses?

Hand wash only in cold water using a specialty silk detergent. Roll in a towel to extract water and lay flat immediately after washing – do not hang silk dresses to dry.

My dress shrunk after washing. How can I fix it?

Unfortunately, shrinkage in fabrics like cotton is irreversible. In the future, take extra care to wash in cold water only and never put Reformation dresses in the dryer.


Reformation’s sustainable and fashionable dresses deserve special care and attention while washing and storing. By following the fabric-specific guidelines provided above, you can keep your Reformation pieces looking fabulous for many years to come while also being mindful of your environmental impact.

The keys are using proper detergent, washing gently by hand or machine, reshaping garments during drying, spot cleaning stains promptly, and storing dresses in optimal conditions. With some patience and care, your Reformation dress collection will withstand the test of time.

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