When you walk through a boutique and see something you really like, your face instantly lights up and your eyes sparkle with pure delight. You go on and take a closer look at it and feel the fabric, when you like it, you swipe your credit card and walk out the store with a shopping bag in hand.
You wear it a couple of times throughout the year – (it’s your ultimate favourite!) and think to yourself how can I prolong the life of my clothes without destroying its appearance (faded colour or worn out fabric)? How do I maintain its softness or silkiness through time without loosening the thread? If you want to be able to preserve your garments (in the hopes of maybe one day passing it to your daughter or granddaughter) you will need to learn how to care for your clothes properly. If you have already destroyed the appearance of your clothes checkout a fashion blog to catch your eyes for some new garments.
Even if you pick out your clothes carefully or no matter how attractive they appear to be, without proper care, garments will eventually fade or look worn down. Well-groomed clothes don’t happen just as they are, they are actually treated and pampered by proper washing, drying and steaming depending on the type of fabric.
- Taking good care of your clothes is basically important because:
- It helps the wearer achieve pride and respect
- Garments last longer
- Garments are ready-to-use on emergency calls
- There’s greater demand for neat and polished appearance rather than a sloppy look
Don’t take your chances; people often ‘judge a book by its cover’. It’s always best to give a pleasant first impression.
Ways of Caring for Your Clothes
Tip: Proper care of garments will only require a few minutes, but for best result, require regular practice.
Airing – air drying help freshen up your garments by taking out body odours naturally. It also brings back the clothes’ original structure.
Hanging – children’s clothes are more delicate, provide small hangers that are padded to avoid ruining the fabric. Don’t hang knitted garments instead, fold them and store them on a shelf or drawer.
Brushing – wool and silk fabrics are better brushed immediately after wearing. When dust or dirt is left on the garment for long, it is usually harder to take off. Remember that when brushing, stand in front of an open window.
Shaking – this method is best done on cotton and linen fabrics when removing dirt visible on the surface.
Pressing – It’s important to press clothes when needed; there are some points to consider when pressing clothes:
- For woollen fabric, press on the wrong side through a damp cloth
- For silk fabric, press on the wrong side with medium heat using cheese cloth in between the fabric and iron to avoid getting burned.
- For cotton material, press on the right side and for linens, press on the wrong side.
Steaming – Velvet fabric should not be pressed directly. To remove wrinkles, hang the garment on a tub of boiling water or room filled with steam.
Mending – To avoid major repairs, attend to minor repairs immediately.
Types of Fabric and The Appropriate Care Needed
Cotton is a soft white fibrous substance covering seeds of certain plants. Cotton is ideally made into blouses, shirts, singlets, shorts, bermudas, jackets and pants.
Characteristics of Cotton
- Cotton wrinkles easily
- Absorbs liquid quickly
- Soft and comfortable
- Strong and durable
- Holds vibrant colour
- Ideal fabric for warm climates/tropics
How to care for your cotton garment
100% cotton fabrics, should be handled with great care by:
- Washing machine setting should be on low
- Use cold water for washing pure cotton
- To iron pure cotton, set your iron to Medium heat
- Never attempt to bleach the cloth
- Hang to dry
For 50% Cotton and 50% Polyester:
- To properly wash the fabric, turn it inside out and use warm water
- Wash with fabrics that have light colours
- Use non-chlorine to bleach
- Tumble dry on medium
- Iron using medium heat
Woollen fabric is made from the fleece of sheep. Wool is used to make sweaters, dresses, coats, suits, jackets, pants, lining of boots.
Characteristics of wool
- Hard wearing and absorbs moisture
- Lightweight and versatile
- Does not wrinkle easily
- Resistant to dirt, wear and tear
- Best worn in cool/cold climates
Caring for your woollen garment
It is advisable to hand wash your woollen product. Shampoo may be used for washing however; avoid shampoo containing “crème rinse” as softeners may add products to your wool.
Silkworms are responsible for producing a fine strong lustrous fibre known as silk. Silk is made in to blouses, dresses, scarves, pants and ties.
Characteristics of silk
- Absorbs moisture
- Versatile and very comfortable
- Cool to wear in the summer; warm to wear in the winter
- Retains its shape and relatively smooth
- Poor resistance to sunlight
- Strongest natural fibre and lustrous
How to care for your silk garment
In order to maintain the quality of your silk, it is best dry cleaned either by individual or bulk. To dry clean, you may send it to the dry cleaners and inform them that your garment is made out of silk.
If you choose to hand wash silk, follow these steps:
- Wash in cool water
- Use a small amount of soap
- Rinse with cold water after washing
- Hang or lay it flat in a shaded area
- To iron silk, use an all-cotton iron board cover, low or moderate heat, and press on the inner side of the fabric
- To keep white silk white, add peroxide and ammonia to the wash
- Do not use bleach
- To remove yellow spots or stains from white silk, add a few drops of white vinegar to the wash
Nylon, a strong, light-weight, synthetic fiber that is man-made. Nylon is popularly used to make hosiery, track pants, shorts, swimwear, active wear, and windbreaker. It can also be made into flak vests, combat uniforms and bridal veils.
Characteristics of nylon
- Easy to launder
- Strong and elastic
- It dries quickly
- It retains its shape
- It is resilient and responsive to heat setting
How to care for nylon
To properly care for your nylon garment, you will need to machine wash it in cold water and separate it from other fabrics. Remember to use only non-chlorine bleach to bleach your garment. Dry nylon by tumble drying in low setting then; remove nylon promptly from the dryer as extensive washing and drying in an automatic dryer can lead to piling. White nylon should be washed separately to avoid it from turning grey. To avoid yellowing of your white nylon, bleach it frequently.
Polyester is the general name for widely used synthetic products. Polyesters are strong, tough materials that are manufactured in a variety of colours, shapes, and sizes. Polyester fabric is used to make shirts, gym wear, windbreakers and lingerie.
Characteristics of polyester
- Resists wrinkling
- Easy to launder
- Quick to dry
- Resistant to stretching and shrinking
How to care for your polyester garment
To care for your polyester fabric, you need to machine wash it in cold water and use a gentle cycle while washing. Keep in mind to wash the fabric with light colours. To dry polyester, tumble dry with low setting. Press polyester garment with iron on cool setting.
In conclusion, different types of fabrics require different methods of proper care as well as they have their own distinctive properties. Taking the appropriate steps in caring for your clothes will ensure a longer and healthier lifespan for your garments.