Most of the materials that make your formal attire and dresses so lovely need a little extra love when it comes to caring for them, and you don’t want to ruin your gowns before you have a chance to show them off! Whether you’re dealing with luxe silk, elegant lace, or stunning embroidery, here are a few quick tips for keeping your dresses in tip-top condition!
Because of its delicate and luxurious nature, you might think silk always needs to be dry cleaned. Not true! As long as you have colorfast fabric, you can gently clean your silk garments at home, just like you can with wool and cashmere as opposed to using dry cleaning services.
Top tip: Test for colorfastness on an inconspicuous inside seam. If the color “bleeds” out of the fabric after being rubbed with a damp cloth, you should probably leave the cleaning to the professionals. If it stays put, you can hand wash it with gentle detergent and cold water!
How to handwash silk: Add your garment to a clean sink filled with cold water and mild detergent. The fabric should release any dirt or spots quickly, so don’t rough up the fibers by scrubbing! Swirl your garment around the water, taking care to be extra gentle! After its nice and clean, drain the sink and rinse the item with cold water.
To dry, lay your garment down on a clean, white cotton towel and gently blot the water out, making sure not to rub fibers roughly. After it’s been blotted, let it drip-dry on a hanger, away from direct sunlight.
Top tip: If you’re dealing with stains, wash the whole garment with a homemade stain remover containing two cups of cold water with two tablespoons of white vinegar or lemon juice!
The last thing you want to do is rip a beautiful piece of lace. Just like silk, part of what makes lace so elegant is how delicate it can be. You should always wash lace items with cold water and mild detergent, making sure not to scrub the fabric. If you need to remove a stain, you can use a gentle stain remover, still taking care not to scrub your garment. Just lightly apply the stain remover and rub it in carefully before handwashing the garment.
To dry, carefully squeeze out extra water (don’t wring it out!) before hanging lightweight items or laying heavy pieces flat. When drying, be careful not to stretch the item, as this might tear your lace! You might need to re-shape your item while it’s drying, which is fine, just do so with care!
Top tip: If your lace needs to be ironed, use a clean, white cotton towel as a barrier to avoid any snags or tears!
Depending on what your garment’s care tag says, some embroidered items can be machine washed on the gentle cycle with mild detergent. If your item states it’s hand wash only, the same rules as above still apply!
As a general rule, wash, dry and iron embroidered items inside out to prevent the intricate threads from snagging or pulling. You don’t want to mess up the pretty design!
Always check your garment tag for proper washing instructions, but even if it says the item is dry clean only, you can sometimes skip dry cleaning and do it yourself at home (did I hear somebody say DIY?). Also, take great care in treating your delicate or formal items to ensure you’ll be rocking them for years to come.