Not all fabrics are created equal. Garment construction plays a major role
in its cleanability, impacting its use in wear. Here are three extreme
examples of higher maintenance clothing items and how to make them last
longer and look their best.
Special Care for Silk & Rayon
Silk and rayon are two widely used fibers 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 permanently damages 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.
Use caution with household products. Alkaline products such as facial soaps, shampoos, detergents, and even toothpastes can cause color loss or change on silk. If contact occurs, talk to your dry cleaner promptly about the possibility of restoration.
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.
Caring for Metallic Fabrics
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
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.