Whether it may be an expensive cashmere jumper or embellished silk dress, there are a number of garments that require a little extra care to keep them in immaculate condition. Washing delicate clothing in high temperatures or using strong products will do nothing but cause damage, meaning that your most expensive, treasured of items will not last as long as you had hoped. Nevertheless, caring and washing your delicates needn’t be a tedious task and having specialised in laundry services in Milton Keynes for many years, we have encountered a wealth of helpful tips to preserve your favourite wardrobe pieces, which we have put together to create a super easy to follow guide.
A Guide To Caring For Delicate Clothing
Although the majority of your wardrobe is likely to be designed to endure all manner of conditions, there are certain staples that must be treated with more care. These are items which have been designed with materials which are more susceptible to damage, which also means that they often come at a higher price tag. While it may seem as if you have to slave over your delicate clothes to keep them in good condition, the secret is in fact simply being more mindful in how you store, wear and wash these items. To give you a helping hand, our guide will run through answers to the following questions:
Before delving into our tips, it is important to familiarise yourself with the definition of delicate clothing to ensure that you have placed your items into the correct category. Ultimately, delicate fabrics are those that are more fragile than their alternatives, meaning that if you were to put them on a regular wash cycle, for instance, they will either shrink, fade or become damaged. This means that the phrase can cover a broad range of material types, as well as garments which have been designed with embellishment, embroidery or ribbon which will begin to lift and unravel from the item if treated without care. Some of the most popular examples of delicate fabrics include the following:
If you are unsure of whether a garment is classed as a delicate item, then the best solution would be to take a look at the care label. Typically, those that require more care will instruct you to wash the fabric on a gentle cycle and is likely also to state that you cannot tumble dry or iron the item. All of these are recommended to avoid as they will put the garment under harsh conditions that it will not be able to withstand, causing often irreparable damage.
As delicate clothing can become damaged far quicker than alternative materials, this will mean that you will need to care for them more, not only when it comes to washing, but also when it comes to storage and packing. Begin with the following essential tips:
First and foremost, it is vital to consider how you plan to store your delicate items as this will differ based on the clothing type. For example, for items that must be hung up, whether this may be dresses, jackets or suits, it is highly recommended to invest in plenty of padded hangers. These will allow the items to stay in their original shape and also prevent them from compressed too close to one another. Hanging garments in a tight space without space between each item will cause them to crease and wrinkle, meaning that you will them have to put potentially damaging heat on them before wearing.
When it comes to items that must be folded, on the other hand, such as knitwear and t-shirts, these are best stored on a flat surface – heavy jumpers in particular as the weight will pull down on the hanger and cause the garment to lose its shape while also leaving masks. The correct folding sequence should always start with folding the sleeves towards the back, before folding in half and then once again.
Regardless of the fabric on hand, it is imperative to ensure that all delicate items are stored away from direct sunlight, whether this may be inside a wardrobe or drawers. Do not be tempted to leave garments in exposed storage area as the UV radiation from the sun can cause the colour to fade while also damaging the material.
Should you be travelling to a wedding, for example, or setting off on a business trip, the items that you bring along are likely to be delicate, which means that you should always pack smartly. Clothing that would usually be hung up to prevent them from losing their shape can be temporarily folded; however, we suggest folding around a piece of cardboard, just as they would have if you were to purchase new shirts from a shop. You would also benefit from placing tissue paper over any embellishment, in particular, as well as embroidery or ribbon to prevent any beads, sequins or threads from becoming loose during the journey. Always try to opt for tissue paper which is acid-free such as those available on Total Wardrobe Care as this will stop any colour transfer from your clothing.
Keep Away From Moths
There is nothing worse than picking your favourite item out of your wardrobe only to find that moths have nibbled holes in the fabric. Luckily, there are a number of super easy ways that you can prevent clothes moths from reaching your delicate items, and it all begins with keeping your storage areas clean. While hoovering your home, we recommend also giving the inside of your wardrobe and drawers a thorough clean, as well as hoovering underneath the furniture and around the edges of the carpet. This will help to minimise the risk of an infestation.
Although it may seem as if using chemical solutions is the only way that you can keep moths at bay, this most definitely isn’t the case. Not only are chemical solutions often unsuccessful, but they can also be harmful to you if used for a long period of time. Instead, there are a host of natural alternatives which will repel moths while keeping your clothes smelling fresh. Lavender, in particular, is fantastic for creating an aroma strong enough to repel moths and even better, it couldn’t be easier to make your own wardrobe fresheners using essential oils. Head over to Wellness Mama for a great guide on how to make DIY natural fresheners.
Invest In A Repair Kit
If your most delicate items are designed with buttons or embellishment, then you would most definitely benefit from investing in a repair kit, which can also be taken with you while you travel. Do not be worried to make any small repairs to your clothing and with extra care in the first place; this should only ever be tightening a button or popping a bead back into place. Fast Fashion Therapy has put together a handy article on how to build a repair kit and essentials that you would include.
We would, however, never recommend attempting to make any alterations to your delicates, unless you are experienced and feel confident. Instead, it would be advised to enlist a professional to ensure that you achieve the results that you wish without any problems along the way. As specialists in clothing alterations in Milton Keynes, our team are always more than happy to help, so please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Use A Clothing Brush
When it comes to delicate clothing, the key is to try to minimise how much you unnecessarily wash them, which means that between washes, a clothing brush will become your best friend. A velvet-faced lint brush is the best route as these will allow you to keep your items looking fresh without causing any damage to the fabric. Hair and dirt, for instance, can gently be removed by lifting the particles away from the material.
The most significant factor when it comes to caring for delicate clothes is how you wash them, and it is the question on everyone’s mind. You can meticulously follow all of the above tips, but if you wash garments on the wrong temperature or using harsh products, your hard work will become futile.
Depending on the fabric in question, you may have to take a trip to the dry cleaners. For instance, silk, leather and fur all require different methods of cleaning to prevent damage, which means that they should be left with the experts. Although less common, rayon is another material which is better suited to being professionally dry cleaned as it is known for stretching, shrinking and the colour often bleeds onto other items. As mentioned previously, any items that must be dry cleaned will feature instructions on their care label. If you are unsure of what the different symbols on the care label mean and which dry cleaning instructions to look out for, take a look at our previous article.
Washing At Home
If your delicate garments are safe to wash at home, then there are a number of tips that are recommended to minimise the risk of damage. Again, take a look at the care label before going ahead as this will determine whether they can be placed in the washing machine or require hand washing. Generally, hand washing would be recommended as you will have full control over how much tension is put on your items. If you have a washing machine that has a delicate setting, however, and are happy to trust this, then we would suggest putting each item in a mesh bag before putting in the machine as this will stop any loose thread or details catching on the drum. Regardless of whether you choose to hand wash or place in the machine, low-temperature water and a mild detergent will be imperative. This will provide your garments with the gentlest of washes meaning that there will be no damage, fading, shrinking or stretching.
Once clean, take your items out of the water immediately and place them to air dry – using a tumble dryer will be too harsh on the fabrics. For items such as dresses and shirts, put them on your padded hangers and hang to dry either outside or inside depending on the weather. Heavier items, on the other hand, including knitwear, are better suited to dry on a flat surface, whether this may be a table or even your ironing board.
Keeping Delicate Items In Immaculate Condition
Although caring for your delicate items will require extra work, it will most definitely work towards your advantage in ensuring that they remain in immaculate condition and free from damage. The above information should give you all of the tools you need to look after your delicates but do not hesitate to get in touch with our team if you require any professional services. Whether it may be dry cleaning, alterations or ironing services in Milton Keynes, our team can offer their expertise in many different areas.