How to Care for Your Clothing - Tips From Hurleigh Lane in Colorado

Have you ever purchased a piece of clothing, only to discover it no longer fits after running it through the wash and the dryer? As you know, our baby clothing is made from all kinds of different fabrics. Some can withstand to be tossed in the wash while other fabrics are more delicate.

Knowing how to care for your fabrics properly will help you keep them in their best shape for as long as possible. 

In this article, I'm sharing tips on how to clean and care for various types of fabric. However, remember that you should always refer back to the care label in each piece of clothing or other fabric to get specific care instructions.

Often, a piece of clothing is not made with just one of these materials but can include several different types of fabric. I'll also be including a graphic to help you determine what the laundry symbols on your care label mean.

Cotton
Cotton tends to be a more durable fabric and is most often machine washable and can be washed with most detergents.

The way you care for your cotton clothing items will depend on whether they are already preshrunk or processed. If not, they're likely to shrink if you use hot or warm water and if you dry on a heat setting. Check the label for best care instructions. If the label recommends you use only cold water, that's a good indication that your clothing piece may shrink if you use heat.

In many cases, cotton whites can be washed in hot water even with bleach while it's better to use cold temperatures to clean your colored cotton fabrics. Generally, it's best to dry cotton on a tumble-dry setting.

If your cotton clothing needs ironing, you can usually iron them on a higher heat level.

Acetate
This material is often made into fabrics like taffeta, brocade, and satin. This type of fabric most often is best dry-cleaned. However, some acetate pieces can be hand-washed in cool to lukewarm water or machine washed on a delicate setting. Do not spin, wring, or twist this fabric.

If your acetate fabric needs ironing, iron the inside of the fabric while still slightly damp on a low temp setting. If you need to press the outside, use a pressing cloth over it to avoid ruining your fabric.

Polyester
Polyester is a very durable fabric and cleaning it is fairly easy. Of course, double check your label to make sure, but in most cases, polyester pieces can be washed in the washing machine with cool to warm water and then dried on a low-heat setting. Some may require air-drying without heat.

If your polyester fabric needs ironing, use a cool or low-heat iron, never hot.

Cashmere
Cashmere is made from animal hair. Usually, dry cleaning is the best way to clean your cashmere. Some cashmere pieces can be hand-washed with mild detergent in cool to warm water. Avoid wringing out cashmere fabrics.

Do not iron or dry these pieces. To get out excess water, put down a towel and place your cashmere flat on the towel. Then place another towel on top and press to squeeze out water. Then lay it out flat to dry.

Avoid hanging up articles made with cashmere. Hanging them can cause them to lose their shape.

Denim
While denim seems to be one of the most durable fabrics, you need to care for it more carefully than you may think. Denim should be washed on cold (especially if it's not preshrunk). Turn denim pieces inside out and wash them separately to avoid staining other clothes. They're best hung dry outside (not in direct sunshine, however, which will ultimately make them lose their color). If you do dry them in the dryer (which tends to wear them out more quickly), use a low heat setting.

Denim can be ironed while still slightly damp using a high-heat setting with steam.

A great way to freshen up your jeans or denim jackets without fully washing them is to hang them in a steamy shower.

Linen
This fabric comes from the flax plant and can be washed in the washing machine. Wash linens with cool to warm water, dry on your clothes line, or dry on medium heat in the dryer.

Rayon
This fabric is not as durable as some, and washing with heat can make it lose its color and shrink. Rayon in most cases should be dry cleaned or washed in cold water with a detergent made for delicates and then air dried. Do not wring.

Nylon
Nylon is a synthetic fabric, meaning that it's plastic-based. This fabric is pretty durable and machine washable. You can use cold or warm water. It's recommended to use cold water for white fabrics.

When drying, dry on a low-heat setting.

If needed, you can use a warm iron.

Silk
Many silks may require dry cleaning only. However, some can be hand-washed with a mild detergent and in cool to lukewarm water. Cleaning them in the washer can make parts of the weave tighten and pucker. Silk should be hung to dry or laid flat on a non-colored towel that can soak up any excess water.

Don't stick your silks in the dryer. If needed, you can use a warm iron to remove wrinkles.

Spandex
This man-made stretchy fabric often used in swimwear and workout clothing can be hand or machine washed in cool to lukewarm water and then dried on a low-heat setting. It may be best to drip-dry your spandex fabrics.

Just because spandex is stretchy does not mean it can handle heat well, This fabric should not be dry cleaned. When using an iron, the heat should be kept very low, and the iron should never rest in one place for long. Move the iron quickly over the fabric.

Wool
Some wool fabrics cannot be machine-washed but should be dry cleaned only. Refresh these fabrics by hanging them in a steamy bathroom on a padded hanger. When ironing, don't iron completely dry but make sure to use steam.

Some wool pieces can be hand-washed or delicately washed in the washer in cool to warm water. Avoid wringing or twisting them, but allow them to dry flat. You can remove excess water by placing wool pieces flat between two towels and then gently pressing out the water.