Fabric Types and Basic Care Tips
Fabric Care Basics
Have you ever wondered why that blouse or shirt you bought a few months back looks like it's been in the trunk of your car for about 10 years? Well there is no reason for that visual if proper care is given to fabrics from the start. How about a little history about the materials and their proper care. First I'll begin with the basic Cotton.
Cotton is made from the fluffy fibers of the cotton plant. Most cotton fabrics are preshrunk so you really can't mess them up(watch out for the bleach)
To properly wash cotton use cold or warm water with an all-purpsose detergent. If you don't use or have a clothes dryer, dry cotton in the shade on a line dryer because it will yellow in the sun.
Wool is woven from the undercoats of goats,sheep and other hairy mammals. Wool is very durable but will shrink in warm water,so be cautious and read those labels. To wash wool, dry-clean or hand wash in cold water with a mild detergent. Air Dry. Also if possible use cedar hangers to repel moths.
Silk is an organic material that is made from protein fibers produced by the silkworm. This fabric is both luxurious and durable. One key point about silk is that it may have dyes that cause the fabric to bleed. Silk should be dry-cleaned or hand washed in cold water and also air-dried.
Rayon is a material created from wool pulp which has been treated with chemicals. What results is a material which is cool and comfortable and considered a semi-synthetic fabric. Rayon may bleed,shrink or lose its cripness when laundered. Dry cleaning or hand washing in cold water with a mild detergent and air drying is highly recommended. If laundered at home, iron slightly damp.
My least favorite material is the synthetics. Remember the heat sweltering polyester suits worn in the 70's?(if your old enough that is). to add to that list are nylon,spandex,acrylic, and acetate. Two good things about synthetics is that they will not shrink and will resist water based stains. Most do produce static, and may permanently wrinkle in a hot clothes dryer. Always dry on a low temperature.
You may not know this but linen is woven from fibers from the flax plant. It like silk is treated with sizing( a pasty substance used as a glaze or filler on plastics,paper or cloth) that makes it crisp. It wrinkles easily and requires ironing. Linen needs to be dry-cleaned or hand washed in cold water and should be air dried. Machine wash on gentle.