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Dry Clean Only: The Ultimate Guide To Caring For Luxe And Delicate Fabrics

When it comes to the party season, the one thing that you can’t dismiss from your closet is a fantastic, festive frock. From velvet to velour, sequins to silk, the more lustrous your numbers are, the better they’d shine under the limelight.

However, due to the meticulous construction and composition of these fabrics, they are the hardest to care for. Here, we go into five common — yet different — types of materials, and show you the neat tricks that you can deploy to increase its durability.

#1: Velvet

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Did you know that ultra-luxe velvet is, traditionally, made out of intricately weaved silk pieces? Today, the commonly known materials used are cotton and rayon, which are inexpensive as compared to silk. That said, you shouldn’t neglect your “cheaper” velveteen numbers — a Zara dinner jacket requires extra care if you’d wish to prolong its longevity. Here are some things you should take note of.



#1: Read the care label for cleaning directions: Machine wash is possible for crushed velvet, since the structure of the material has been “destroyed” prior. For other types of velvet, like cisele (patterned pieces, usually in baroque motifs) and chiffon velvet (lightweight material made out of sheer silk or chiffon rayon), it is necessary for you to bring them to dry cleaning. Do not, by any means, try to get rid of stains by yourself. We recommend May Tailor and Laundry for dry cleaning services. Whenever in doubt, bring them to the professionals.

#2: Protect your numbers when you put them away: folding is an absolute no-no as it’ll cause unsightly fold marks and hence, destroying your precious clothes. Instead, hang them on a silk hanger. Wrap them in a sturdy dust bag before stowing them away. To avoid pressure, do remember to leave ample amount of space in between the number when storing them in your wardrobe.



#1: Iron at all cost: The heat and pressure will crush the velvet’s formation, thereby leaving unwanted marks on them. Instead, use a steamer to gently remove any creases present. Turn the garment inside out before steaming.

#2: Assert too much pressure on the fabric. This includes: packing your velvet numbers tightly in your closet or wringing them dry. If you’d spill juice or wine on it, don’t blot the liquids off with a dry paper. When too much force is placed on the fabric, it’ll flatten the pile and create indentations. Instead, you should shake the moisture off and let it air dry.

#3: Try to remove glue marks or ink stains by yourself: seek for professional help (i.e. dry cleaning) when you encounter these stubborn stains.

#2: Silk

Since silk is a natural protein fibre that comes from silkworms, it is one of the most expensive material used in fashion. Due to its triangular prism structure, this fabric often has a shiny appearance as they are able to refract light from many different angles. Hence, garments that are made out of silk often exudes luxury and sophistication. Here’s how you can avoid losing its sheen.



#1: Go for dry cleaning services for numbers that are pricey: normally, care tags would provide indication as to how you should treat your silks. You must adhere to those that read “Dry Clean Only”. However, if it shows “Dry Clean”, it shows that professional cleaning is the preferred method, but not obligatory. If you’d wish to save some bucks, hand wash your clothes in cold water. Only use delicate detergent when doing so, like The Laundress Delicate Wash. If the care label advises machine wash, do remember to use a cleaning net and set your washers to a gentle, cold-water cycle.

#2: Use a steamer to remove any unwanted crease: a steamer is safe and gentle on your delicate numbers. An iron is advisable, but not recommended for those where you do not have an array of heat settings. If the care label reads “iron safe”, set the device to low-heat. Press your garments while they are slightly damp will help to speed up the process.

#3: Test for colour fastness before washing: since silks that sport bright hues like sunshine yellow or vermilion red, chances are the colours might bleed. Coat a cotton swab in gentle detergent and water. Then, dab it gently on hidden hemlines or seams to check for the bleeding of dye. If they do so, bring it to the experts for washing.


#1: Spin dry any silk clothing as it will destroy the integrity of the fabric: the temperature will dull silk, causing it to lacklustre. Furthermore, you may risk shrinking the product as well. After washing your numbers, lay them out onto a clean, absorbent towel to remove the excess moisture. Repeat if necessary. Once done, lay the moist fabric flat on a dry towel, then on a drying rack.

#2: Air dry on wooden hangers: the lacquer on the hangers will transfer onto lighter-coloured fabrics, causing unwanted stains.

#3: Spot-treat: rubbing a specific region on silk will simply cost that area to lighten, hence creating unsightly marks. Wash the entire garment with a silk-friendly detergent. If the stains are dark, dry cleaning is highly recommended.

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