Not all fabrics are created equal. Construction of the garment plays a major role in how it’s cleaned, impacting its use in wear. Here are three examples of higher maintenance clothing items and how to make them last longer and look their best.
Silk & Rayon
These two fibers are used frequently in men’s and women’s apparel. In today’s markets, these fabrics can be seen in high-end designer wear, as well as casualwear. Both fibers may be dyed various colors, from the darkest black to brilliant reds, fuchsia, and yellow.
Follow the tips below to make sure your silk and rayon items retain their luster for the fullest extent of time possible.
For best results, follow the care label on your silks and rayons. Don’t dry clean your “washable” silk and rayons, unless the care label specifies that dry cleaning also is acceptable.
Have all parts of an outfit cleaned at the same time to maintain a uniform appearance.
NEVER use bleach. It will damage silk.
Allow perfume, deodorant, and hair spray to dry before dressing and remove spills from alcoholic beverages as quickly as possible. Alcohol can cause dye bleeding and discoloration.
Alkaline products such as facial soaps, shampoos, detergents, and even toothpastes can cause color loss or change on silk.
Store your garments in closets or away from light sources. Most colors used on silk and rayon fabrics can eventually fade from such exposure. Natural light and electric lights are equal color killers.
Silver and gold metallic fabrics are popular in women’s attire. Metallic fabric is made by spraying a metallic finish on the surface of a cloth fabric. Many of these surface finishes have limited resistance to care procedures and wear. The metallic finish may be removed or corroded and discolored around the neck and underarm area from the effects of perspiration and body contact. Since the fabrics are often very sheer, they are easily snagged or abraded by jewelry or rough edges of furniture.
It is important to have this type of garment cleaned immediately after wear so stains and soils can be removed before they start to react adversely with the surface finish. Over time the extended effects of fruit juice acids, soft drinks, and mixed drinks can cause a discoloring or bleaching effect on some of the metallic coatings. Although most of these items carry “dry clean only” labels, some cleaners have found that the surfaces of the silver and gold finishes may lose their color in dry cleaning.
Drycleaning these materials for only a few minutes is sometimes enough to considerably fade or dull the colors in some metallic items. If this occurs, return the item to the retailer.