Cotton is a durable, soft fiber, and most clothes today are made of it. Unfortunately, it does have one serious fault: It tends to shrink when washed and dried. Contraction is in the nature of the cotton fibers, and there isn’t much you can do to stop them from shrinking after a wash. However, there are a few steps that can moderate the shrinkage.
1. Hand-wash your cotton items.
Wash in cold water. Whether it be in a machine or by hand, always wash cotton in cold water.
2. Give your cotton item a stretch when the come out of the wash. This will counter any shrinkage while the cotton items are still pliable.
3. Line dry your cotton items. The heat and rapid drying of an electric or gas clothes drier might be convenient, but it also shrinks cotton items as quickly as it dries them out.
Silk is a delicate fabric and should be handled with care. However, it is fairly easy to clean. It has a naturally tendency to release dirt quickly and does not always require dry cleaning to keep its quality.
1. Gently handwash silk items using very cold water.
Apply a very mild detergent.
2. Rinse the item in cold water until all soap residue has been removed.
Add a few drops of citric acid to the rinse water to keep the silk soft.
3. Press the water out of the fabric by rolling it in a towel. Do not twist or wring, as this will damage the fabric.
4. Hang the wet garment and allow it to air dry completely.
Do not hang silk garments in the sun to dry.
5. Iron only when absolutely necessary. Use a cool iron with a press cloth between the iron and the fabric.
It used to be that rayon, needed dry cleaning. That’s no longer always true. Now, you can clean many rayon garments at home with little fuss.
If you wash rayon at your home, please wash your own risk.
1. Launder all washable rayon by hand. It is vulnerable to damage when it’s wet, so a washing machine’s agitation could ruin it.
2. Wash your rayon garment in cool or tepid water with a detergent made for hand washing. Gently squeeze the soapsuds into the fabric. Rinse thoroughly in cool water.
3. Handle with care. Never wring, twist or bunch up rayon. Shake it out gently and smooth out the wrinkles with your hands.
4. Hang your garment on a plastic or padded hanger to dry. Wire hangers will leave rust spots on it. If it could lose its shape, dry it flat. It will dry best on a drying rack if you have one.
5. Iron rayon material inside out to keep it from shining. Use low heat and press it while it is slightly damp to ease the wrinkling. If you must touch up the right side of the garment, cover it with a cloth first.