How to care for your fabrics

PUBLISHED: 1:34 GMT, 22 August 2015

How to care for your fabrics

You’ve bought lots of fabulous clothes this season and created a summer capsule wardrobe that’s the envy of your friends. But how can you ensure your clothes last longer than a season?

Hanging them up when you take them off, washing them at the right temperature and removing stains when they happen will ensure your clothes have a long and happy life.


Wool can be both warm and cool depending on how it’s constructed and from which animal it comes from. Cashmere is one of the softest yarns while mohair fibres have a rougher feel. Wool absorbs moisture well, retaining 30% of its weight before feeling damp.
Wool will shrink at high temperature – check the label before you put it in the machine. Cashmere and similar delicate knits should be hand washed in a gentle detergent such as Woolite. Wool garments will lose their shape if hung on a line to dry so they are better aired flat, and away from artificial heat.
Keep moths away by storing your woollen garments with cedar blocks. Knits should be stored folded not hung on hangers. When possible iron woollens on the reverse side.

Cotton is the principal clothing fibre in the world and it’s cool and comfortable qualities means it can be worn by anyone. Cotton allows the skin to breath making it the perfect summer fabric. Cotton can be made into durable fabrics such as denim and canvas which resists wear and tear making at suitable for workwear.
Cotton will shrink at high temperatures but irons well. Polyester/cotton mixes help to give the fibre resistance to wrinkles and creasing. Judicious use of chlorine bleach will help to restore white cotton.

The strongest of the vegetable fibres, linen has 2-3 times the strength of cotton. Popular for centuries as tablewear, linen suits and shirts have become the staple of many summer wardrobes.
Linen can be easily dyed and the colour does not fade when washed. Linen should always be washed by hand at cool temperatures or dry cleaned – although machine washable linen is becoming more readily available – and although it wrinkles easily it irons well.

Silk is one of the oldest textile fibres known to man and has been used by the Chinese since the 27th century BC. Silk is considered a luxurious fabric associated with wealth and status although it appears on the high street as much as the catwalk these days.
Silk fabrics can be hand washed if is a pre-washed silk – check the label – but this should be done in lukewarm water with a gentle detergent such as Stergene. Do not wring but instead roll the garment in a towel to absorb excess moisture. Silk will dry quickly but let it do so naturally. Steam iron carefully using a cloth.
If your silk garment clings to your body when worn try putting a drop of a good quality hair conditioner in your final rinse water.

Hand washing
When handwashing, always use cold water and do not soak garments. Let the liquid or powder detergent dissolve completely before adding your clothes to the water. Agitate the clothes in the water squeezing rather than scrubbing the fabric. Rinse thoroughly, squeeze the water out and allow to drip dry.

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