Different materials and fabrics are used to make different kinds of clothes. Certain fabrics are tough and sturdy, able to withstand the test of time and the rigorous punishment it receives from careless washing and drying, though many of these materials don’t make the most beautiful clothes. But there are also fabrics that are soft and beautiful, but also delicate and easily damaged.
Washing clothes can be a nightmare if you think about risking its quality. Either by hand or by using a washing machine, it brings about an amount of damage to the fabric. However, there are ways to make sure that the fabric is taken care of and significant damage doesn’t happen.
Not only known as being a widely used fabric, cotton can withstand a number of washings and at various degrees of temperatures. Cotton also reacts quite well with bleach and detergents. Because cotton absorbs water very easily compared to other fabrics, you can wash those tough stains away easily.
For a quick treatment of small stains, you can just apply water and wash it by hand. For dirtier stains, you can soak it in detergent and wash it again. Hot water and excessive heat is avoided to prevent cotton from wrinkling too much or even shrinking. When you store clothes made out of cotton fabric, make sure not to overexpose them to sunlight as it may cause weakening of the fabrics or causing a yellowish discoloration. For finer cotton fabrics, you need to wash them gently with a milder detergent to prevent damage. Be sure to use color-safe bleach to remove stains. However, in caring for decorative cotton fibers that contain 100% cotton, you may opt not to wash it as it may shrink the fabric, discolor the decorative dyes on the fabric, or it may change the overall look of the fabric.
Linen is an old type of fabric that is versatile in nature. Made from flax fiber, it is surprisingly strong and quite resistant to deterioration caused by sunlight and scratches. It adds great texture and it has great durability compared to other fabrics. But linen has the tendency to wrinkle easily – a sign that the fabric is made of real linen. As linen ages, it becomes softer and softer.
Some linen fabrics are designed not to be washed while some are designed to be dry-cleaned only. Household linens, handkerchiefs, and the like can be washed easily and gradually become softer with use. For decorative linens and drapery, it is recommended that they should be dry-cleaned exclusively. Frequent pressing may be needed for certain linen fabrics. White linens, on the other hand, need to be dried in the sunlight to keep their white color.
Rayon comes in a variety of types – lyocell, viscose, cuprammonium and high wet-modulus. It is often mixed with other fibers, both coming in as natural or synthetic materials. Before you wash rayon, always check first the stitched label. Most rayon fabrics are delicate and need to be either washed by hand or dry-cleaned.\
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To wash rayon clothes, use lukewarm water with soap, then squeezing it gently. Don’t twist the fabric too much as it will damage the rayon. If you plan on using a washing machine, set it to gentle cycle and avoid using chlorine-based bleach to prevent damage. In ironing rayon, set it only to low to medium iron heat, ironing it on the reverse side to prevent shine.
Being one of the most favorite fabrics during winter, wool provides incredible warmth and comfort. In storing wool garments, be sure to fold and lay it flat to prevent its shape from distorting too much. You can also hang wool clothes using a hanger as wool would often shed away wrinkles and return to its original shape. Always be sure to empty pockets, zipping and unbuttoning closures before you hang or store it. In washing wool fabrics, use plenty of water at low temperatures, using only a pH-neutral detergent to prevent from damaging it. When washing wool, make sure not to rub, to twist, to wring, or to soak it way too much. Also, be sure to wash and remove stains and spots quickly, as most would often stay if left alone for awhile.
Silk is a delicate fabric and only pre-washed silk is washable. Often times, there are labels that indicate if the silk fabric is pre-washed or not. Dry cleaning silk is usually the choice since detergents, bleach, and other cleansing agents can cause irreparable damage to silk fabrics. For washable silk apparels, make sure you wash them gently by hand, using lukewarm water and mild soap to prevent stretching and damaging the silk. Never use chlorine bleach on silk as it will cause permanent damage on the fabric. In storing silk clothes, protect it against insects, light and air.
Printed acrylic fabrics are usually resistant to stain and soiling. They have prints that can either have 100% acrylic material or 100% polyester that’s spun. With the use of only a mild soap and water solution, you can wash away and remove stains on acrylic fabrics. Do not wash printed acrylic with bleach solutions as it will cause the printed patterns to fade away, lightening in color mildly at first but eventually becoming a permanent fade that is close to white. You should remove acrylic fabric cushions from direct sunlight when not in use to extend its lifespan significantly. But for 100% dyed acrylic fabrics and 100% polyester woven acrylic fabrics, they can be cleaned with a mild soap and water solution without the fear of discoloration as these are usually resistant to fading.
Leather is a well-known, strong and durable material compared to other fabrics. It only needs little maintenance to keep its life. To clean leather-based clothes, fabrics, and apparels, only occasional dusting is needed to maintain it as dust and most stains often don’t stick to leather. But no matter how strong they are compared to other fabrics, you need to take careful measures in caring and handling leather products. Using a good conditioner to clean it can prevent moisture from causing damage and it also promotes breathability. Leather cleaners that are available in stores can be used, along with a damp cloth, to clean small and mild stains. When wiping leather fabrics, be sure to only brush lightly and carefully as physical scratches and damage can become permanent. To remove tough stains, be sure to consult a dry cleaner who knows how to clean leather apparels. Don’t go at it alone or it may cause permanent damage to this usually expensive material.
Drying clothes can be hectic and difficult but it is quite easy once you get the hang of it. Either by spin-dry or by outside drying, you should dry your clothes to keep the fabric fresh and prevent damage.
It is quite preferable to dry clothes outside by hanging them. When you install a clothesline outside, you clothes, linens and other fabrics will smell clean and fresh, drying them out with sunlight since it’s a natural antibacterial sanitizer and bleach. The sun can be useful to dry fabrics but not everything should be dried out in the sun. For example, exposing cotton in too much sunlight can cause discoloration that won’t look too good, especially the white ones.
With air drying your clothes, you can save up a lot of money compared to electric dryers. Drying your clothes with an electric dryer can save the cost on electricity, as it charges with every use. Most electric dryers can also damage delicate fabrics, stretching them out of proportion and even shrinking them. Drying clothes frequently via electric dryers isn’t advisable as it causes damage to the fabrics. It stretches out the fabrics and often discolors printed designs on certain clothes, most commonly on T-shirts. The only downside to drying clothes outside is that it is quite dependent on weather. But whenever it rains, you can always choose to hang your clothes indoors. Hanging clothes also evens them out and reduces wrinkling causing the need to iron clothes to be reduced. If poorly maintained, electric dryers are often the cause of electric shortage in the home and can cause injury or even start a fire.
Careful handling and washing of the fabrics is essential if you want to keep your wardrobe filled with a wide variety of selections to choose from. Taking care of clothes is almost like valuing a precious treasure. If you put effort and value in taking care of your fabrics, it can help you dress confidently and successfully.