FiNess Studios' Fabric Care Guide:
In a world swimming with synthetic fibres, many can feel daunted about caring properly for natural fabrics. Fear of inadvertently damaging an unfamilliar fibre can keep many from diving into the wonderful world of slow fashion and choosing fabrics that are better for their health and the environment. So, here are some handy guidelines from a professional textile artist to assist you in making your fabric care a breeze! Below is a low-fuss list of the fabrics Ness has utilised in her dyeing practice over the years with simple instructions to keep you out of trouble.
Contrary to popular belief, silk is anything but fragile. In fact, it is one of the strongest natural fibres in existence. With some simple care, you can ensure your silks will be with you for the long term. Hand washing is best, although sending it through a delicate, cold machine wash in a delicates bag is generally safe. If machine washing, use a pH neutral detergent. A protein fibre like human hair, you can also shampoo and condition it with a pH neutral shampoo and conditioner in cold water. Simply rinse and iron or hang to dry out of direct sunlight. If desired, a tablespoon of white vinegar can be added to the final rinse water to restore optimal pH, but this is not essential. Do not wring or twist, as this can warp the fibre. Roll or hang to store to prevent creasing. Store out of direct sunlight. Silk likes to breathe, so do not store in plastic. Doing so is not catastrophic, but may diminish garment longevity over time. Avoid using extreme heat and agitation in washing and ironing. Avoid fabric softeners, as these can coat the fibre and diminish longevity.
Also a protein fibre, wool can be treated much the same as silk. Avoid high agitation and sudden temperature changes, which can cause shrinkage and permanent fibre changes. Avoid fabric softeners.
A commonly used, durable and breathable fabric, cotton can be cold machine washed and hung or ironed dry. A very forgiving fabric, you can use any regular detergent with it. Fabric softener and vinegar are unnecessary.
Rayon, Bamboo & Other Cellulose Fabrics:
Made by bonding wood pulp or similar together into a breathable fibre, cellulose fabrics are a lightly processed material that is as breathable as cotton. It is slightly weaker when wet, however, so avoid agitation, wringing and sudden temperature changes. Hand wash or use a cool delicates cycle. Iron or drip dry. Avoid using vinegar or highly acidic chemicals, as these can damage the fibre over time. Fabric softener is unnecessary.
Often comprised of a rayon/cellulose backing with either a silk or synthetic pile, velvet is best dry cleaned to prevent warping of the pile. It can be carefully hand washed in cold water with a mild detergent and laid flat to dry, but dry cleaning is highly preferable. Quality results are not always guaranteed with hand washing. However, if you simply wish to 'freshen' the garment, a gentle steam clean with a fabric steamer is possible. Do not iron. Avoid using vinegar or acidic chemicals, which can damage the cellulose backing.