I have been very lucky in my life in that I have worked in the fashion industry for a number of years as a PR and marketing specialist. One of the perks of my job is that I will sometimes be gifted incredible designer dresses and designer clothes. I know, I know. Poor me. It sounds horrible, right? When I first started working in this industry I didn’t know a lot about fashion and there was a particularly memorable incident where I was gifted this completely stunning Camilla and Marc dress which was made of silk and linen. One night out and a glass of wine spill later, and the white fabric was totally ruined after I tried to wash it with water and found a big water stain on the dress the next day. I have never repeated this mistake since and want to share what I know with you in the hopes that you never have to endure the same face-palm type moment of this day.
When you’re washing linen you need to follow a couple of simple steps to ensure your garments are in top condition for their life.
- Make sure that you use a pure soap or a gentle detergent that is going to be soft on your linen items when you’re laundering them.
- Soap is going to work the best in soft water – because hard water makes the fabrics dingy and stiff.
- If you have a stain on an item, make sure you get to it straight away to avoid having a stain that is impossible to remove.
- Whether you’re hand or machine washing things, make sure that you rinse the item completely to remove the soap, detergent and/or residue. This will avoid the formation of ‘age spots’ which are things that are caused by the oxidation of cellulose – the primary component of linen.
Silk is a protein structure that is quite similar to human hair and in contrast to the belief that you can only dry clean silk, you can actually wash it without damaging it. Let’s take a look at how.
- Use a very mild soap or a shampoo that is specially formulated for silk products.
- Soak the silk in some lukewarm water for around three minutes. If the silk you have is dark or printed, you shouldn’t let it soak – simply wash it in cold water.
- Make sure that are gently moving the silk around while it’s soaking, and when you get it out of the soaking tub, make sure to be extra gentle with it – wet silk is even more delicate.
- Rinse your silk items after a maximum of five minutes and be sure to rinse with a teaspoon of vinegar which will help to remove the soap.
- Wrap the silk in a dry towel and remove the remaining liquid, and then iron it while still slightly moist with a very gentle iron.
Leather items make up a surprising number of our products; shoes, belts, skirts, tops – it’s important to take care of them properly to ensure they stay soft and supple. Let’s take a look at how you can care for them.
- If your leather gets wet, you need to just let it dry slowly. The act of speed drying leather is going to change its chemical structure and make it stiff. A room temperature situation is going to be a lot better for your leather.
- If your leather dries out, rub some moisture into it. Leather dressings or creams are great as they add back the moisture it needs.
- If your leather products get dirty, you can simply use a damp cloth to clean it up.
- Leather is going to stretch out, but it won’t return to its supple prior form. Ensure you don’t over-stuff wallets and handbags, and make sure you take care of leather skirts and tops
I do hope that you have found this a useful article about caring for your leather, silk and linen goods and that your designer frocks and accessories stay in excellent condition for years to come!