Saturday, 20 July 2013

Auntie Mims on washing lolita garments

This series was born when my good friend Caramea suggested that I would make a post about cleaning and stain removal tips for lolitas. However I decided to make it proper series about garment care, starting from this and moving on to ironing and storage and even little fixes.  I hope you will find this useful. Any questions on the topic and suggestions for post will be welcomed.

 First things first

The style of cleaning a piece of clothing depends on it's material. Most brand pieces are marked to be washed on a dry cleaning place but in most cases you can just forget the pesky tag and jug the thing to the washing machine. I only use dry cleaning for delicate pieces (More on that later) and prints that I know will run. In general most lolita clothes can be washed at home. It's matter of following certain principlas when it comes to fabrics and washing.

If your dress is cotton and the laces and the fabric are the same colour and there is no print there shouldn't be a problem with washing it at home. This also goes for polyester.

On prints always consult the list of what can and can't be washed on EGL before proceeding. (Link provided at the end of this post.)

Silks and wools should only be washed with products designed for them to keep them nice an perfect. I generally take my winter coats to dry cleaners and wash silks at home.

Always separate darks, ligths and colours. This way everything comes out from the washing machine the rigth colour. 

When in doubt (or scared that the washing machine mith ruin your clothes anyways) wash by hand. This way you see what is happening to your clothes. 

Ultimate guide to materials

Different materials call for different techniques. Some simply can't be washed at home while others will survive just about anything. And if that wasn't enough different materials need to be dried differently. So next up a handy dandy guide to fabrics.

Acetate: Dry clean or machine was on a cold tempature. Don't wring or put it through a spin cycle. Hang or dry flat. No tumble drying. Iron this while damp on a cool tempature.

Acrylic: Machine wash. Hang  or dry flat. Iron with a cool tempature.

Corduroy: Wash as the material dictates (usually cotton), turning the inside out. Tumble dry is okay but will dry hanging too. Leave inside out for ironing.

Cotton: Separate darks and lights and machine wash. Whites may be washed on hot tempatures, colours just warm. Hang dry and iron on a hot tempature while damp as the wrinkles will set quickly.

Denim: Wash as cotton but first time do this alone as the colour will bleed. Turn inside out to discourage fading. Hang to dry to avoid shrinkage.

Leather: Sent to a specialist dry cleaner. Spray with protective product once back.

Nylon: Wash by hand or in machine with a cool tempature with close colours. Nylon will revert back to it's natural greyish hue if mislaundered.

Rayon: If washing instructions are missing dry clean only.

Silk: Dry clean or wash by hand in a cool tempature with a gentle product. Do not rub as this may break the silk fibres resulting in chalku blooms. Hang or dry flat. Take care with spot removal as this may leave rings.
Steam or iron with a cool tempature on the reverse side.

Suede: Again trust the experts and spray with an appropriate protector once back.

Wool and cashemere: Dry clean or hand wash. Machine wash if your machine has a special wool program. Coats should always be dry cleaned but sweaters and knits can be washed home. Use a gentle soap for example baby shampoo and only
The reasons to take the garment to the dry cleaners:
- You don't know what fabric it is.
- The garment has two or more fabrics
- The Garment is beaded or has metallic thread
- The fabric is velvet or taffeta or othervise very dressy
- What the blaces is that stain?!
- If the garment is cotton or linen and you think it migth shrink. I must however tell that these fibers migth hold on to particles of the dry cleaning solution which isn't really healthy for your skin.

Although there are dry cleaners solution to use at home I would recommend taking it to the cleaners as they know what they are doing and have the appropriate equiptment.

Tackling stains

Stains are annoying. The dress is othervise perfectly fine but you managed to drip some whipped cream on it? Worry not. Stains can be removed.
For items that absolutely require dry cleaning, try to remove the stain with a white paper towel (no rubbing!)  and take it to the cleaners.
The basic techniques of stain removal are as follows:
1. Using a storebougth prewash product and then laundering.
2. Bigger stains: Just launder it.
3. Soaking. If the material is fragile (silk or wool) only do this for a few minutes.
Always test your stain remover on a none visible part of the garment to make sure that the fabric dye wont bleed. We all know how easily some brand prints do this.


Non greasy stains

Rinse as soon as possible under cool water. Put some soap to the stain and press suds through. Rubbing migth make the situation worse. Rinse again under cool water. Let it dry. If you are out of the house utilize the hand drier in the ladies room keeping the fabric away from the heat. Launderin as soon as possible is recommended if the stain is rather bad.

Greasy stains

Use talcum powder to soak up the stain and let it sit for twenty minutes. Gently brush of. Apply stain removing product (which you have ofcourse tested before hand).  Even after this grease stains should be laundered as soon as possible in the hottest tempature the fabric can take.

For combinations (chocolates, dairy products...)

Treat as a greasy stain but if it persists use an all purpose product.. Launder again as soon as possible in the hottest tempature the fabric take.

These above are good general ideas but next I will tell you some more spesific techniques that may come the way of your lovely frills.

Tea and coffee: Rinse in warm wather and then wash in warm soapy water. On wools and silks apply glyserine and let it stand and rinse with warm water.

Alcohol: Even colourless alcohol will turn into a nasty brown splotch if left untreated. Sponge several time with white vinegar diluted  1:1 with warm water.  Launder.

Blood: Soak as soon as possible in cool heavily salted water, then dap with liquid laundry soap. Launder as usual. 

Ink: Immediately flush the garment with cold water then treat the stain with hand soap which is most effective against ink stains. Rinse and reapeat if necessary.

Candle wax: Put the garment into a garment back and toss it into the freezer for an hour. The peel of the hardnened wax. Launder as usual.

Grass: Treat with liquid soap rubbed in to the stain and if the stain is persistent sponge with denatured alcohol (again test before hand).If all else fails, dry cleaners.

Mud: Let the mud dry completely first. Remove dry mud wit a brush or a cloth. Presoak and launder.

The nasty stuff that forms around the collar of your blouse: Rub with a damp cloth soaked in laundry soap gently. If the stain persist launder.

Useful Links

Nex time: Ironing.

Mademoiselle Parapluie

P.s. I really need to draw an Auntie Mims icon. Or maybe commission one. We'll see.