- From Cotton to Silk -
Ladies, we’ve got you cleaned!
I had a lovely chat with Meg McDonald, fabric maven at Mood Designer Fabrics, the world-famous fabric and notion shop in New York (and now in L.A.!) (You know, the one from Project Runway.)
The #1 Rule of Stains: Avoid heat of any kind.
It will “set the stain” and cause the spillage to fuse to your fabric – no hot water, no tumble-drying, and no ironing until the smudge site is clear. Moving on…
Cotton is probably the easiest material to manage. A cool wash and low heat dry usually does the trick. However, has errant deodorant in your cotton garment’s underarm region ever given you trouble? A used dryer sheet will save your day! Wrap it around your fingers and swipe at the white mark, letting the sheet touch the garment with several flicks of your wrist. You’ll break up the deodorant solids, essentially dusting them off without rubbing any in!
In general, with rayon and viscose use a cool wash + line dry to prevent pilling and shrinking. Also, Meg concurred that while, “rayon is basically a manmade fiber, it acts a lot like cotton”, as far as its ability to breathe and keep you cool, but beware when ironing. Too high of a temperature will, “just totally melt your viscose”.
Meg’s solution? A “press cloth”
First, flip your garment inside out, test a teeny portion near the bottom seam, and see how the iron heat impacts the fibers. If you don’t see any damage, place a lightweight, colorless cloth – like white silk organza – between your garment and the iron, then, iron as usual with the press cloth as a safety barrier. If you don’t have white silk organza lying around, try this option from Floriani Embroidery.
Now let’s talk silk. It is lovely, but if you spill even a bit of who-knows-what, cleaning can be a royal pain in the tush. Water / club soda can cause the spot to irreparably expand; and silk threads are so delicate that it’s really best to hand them off to a professional. Stop, change, and dry clean as soon as possible. Refrain from rubbing with a napkin; you’ll only help the “spot work itself into the fibers”. And no matter what, “don’t ever put silk in the dryer – even if it says it’s hand washable.”
In truth, of course, it’s smartest to follow garment care labels. However, countless times (for whatever inane reason) I, myself, have removed said tags – fast-forward to laundry day – I never remember the rule of thumb for rayon, whether or not it can tumble dry; I always end up tossing everything in the dryer and hoping for the best; and when my new jacquard trousers from Zara come out faded, pilled, and one size too small, the expletives spew out my mouth, and my pants still don’t fit. Meg strongly suggests, “if you want to air on the side of caution, just don’t put things in the dryer that don’t absolutely need to go in. It just beats the fibers [of your garments].” So in short:
Cotton: easy peasy. Wash (cold if you want to avoid shrinkage) + tumble dry.
Rayon / viscose: cool wash + line dry.
Silk: dry clean. Such is the price of luxury…
Snaps for Suzy Homemaker Savvy this week!
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