Your work shirts, blouses and suits, or the textured and delicate clothing saved for special occasions can last for years, with a little extra care. These items will likely have ‘dry clean only’ and other symbols on their care labels, and if you’ve ever had the misfortune of one of these items being ruined in the washing machine, you’ll know how careful you have to be when cleaning them.
Delicate fabrics, such as suede and leather, taffeta, rayon, fur, velvet, and even some more durable fabrics like wool and silk are often difficult to clean alone and should be left to a professional.
Professional wet cleaning
All items that you’d normally take to the dry cleaner for special attention can be safely wet cleaned. Wet cleaning is an alternative to dry cleaning and uses water and a safe biodegradable detergent to clean the clothes instead of toxic chemicals. A professional wet cleaner can treat stains effectively and provide finishing services to ensure that clothing is left soft, fresher and looking crisp.
However, if you want to wear items in between professional cleans and need to remove a stain or freshen them up, you can follow these tips depending on the fabric you’re washing:
Suits are best left to professional cleaners and can last for around four to five wears before you need to take them in. You can wash your dress shirts at home if you need to, however, with these simple steps:
- Prepare the shirt by unbuttoning all buttons including the cuff and collar ones. Also remove the collar stays. You can pre-treat any stains by working a small amount of detergent into it. Use a detergent suited to the colour of the shirt.
- For lightweight dress shirts, you’ll need to use the delicate cycle. If it’s a shirt made from a heavier-duty fabric though, a normal cycle will be fine.
- Use a hot cycle for whites and lights, and cold water for darks so that the colour doesn’t fade. Avoid chlorine based cleaning products as well because they may also cause discolouration.
- After the wash use a spin cycle to wring out most of the water. Then you’ll need to quickly remove the shirt so that the wrinkles produced from the spin cycle don’t set in. You can do this by hanging the shirt up to air dry and then ironing them when they are almost dry.
If you have a stain on a sequined garment or it’s lost its freshness, you’ll want to clean it carefully without aggravating the sequins and stitching:
- Fill a sink or bath with lukewarm water and mix in a mild detergent until fully dissolved.
- Gently submerge the piece into the water until it’s fully covered and let it soak for 5 minutes.
- Remove and rinse with cold water to remove any detergent and then leave it to dry. Instead of hanging it up lay it on a towel to dry so that the weight of the water doesn’t cause it to sag.
- Feathers can be cleaned in the same way.
- Silk items can generally be washed on a delicate cycle in the washing machine. Just turn any silk garments inside out and put them in a mesh bag, washing them with cold water and a mild detergent.
- You can test for colour-fastness by dampening a section of the fabric inside a seam and waiting a few minutes. If you’ve dabbed it with a white cloth and colour has come off, it will be better to have it professionally cleaned.
- Stains can be removed by dabbing the area with equal parts water and vinegar, or alcohol, using a clean white cloth.
- To keep fur feeling fresh, you can leave the garment for a day in a vinyl garment bag with an open can of fresh coffee grounds. It sounds strange but the beans will draw out the odour. If the item has acquired a coffee smell, just leave it out to air.
For any more advice, or for more information on our professional wet cleaning services, you can call us on 0118 3271930 or pop into our Tadley store.