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Product Care Guide

 

When selling clothing, it is always good to be able to advise the customer on how to care for the garment. This is for the following reasons:

  • It ensures a longer life for the product.
  • The product remains looking in pristine condition.
  • It minimises the potential of the product being returned.
  • Poorly maintained products don’t showcase the stock to other potential buyers.

This guide will provide you with the following information on washing, caring for and storing clothing:

 

Understanding Care Labels

Inside every garment there should be a care label detailing exact instructions on how to wash, dry and iron the item, and also the type of detergent (bleach or not) that is advised. These are the most commonly used symbols:

Temperature Guide

Different fabrics can tolerate different water temperatures, so it is essential that garments are washed in accordance with the temperature stated on the care label. Washing at a temperature higher than stated can cause fabrics to shrink, crease badly or even cause colours to fade or bleed. The following guide hi>ghlights the recommended temperatures for particular fabrics:

20° – Mainly suitable for freshening up clothes.

30° – Delicate fabrics such as wool and silk.

40° – Cotton, linen, viscose, acrylics, acetate, wool mixtures, wool/polyester blends.

50° – Polyester/cotton mixes, cotton, viscose and nylon. Although 40° will generally be an adequate temperature for these materials.

60° – Washing bedding, towels and underwear at 60° can kill most bacteria, viruses and germs when combined with a good quality detergent.

90° – This temperature is only suitable for some items, such as white cottons and linens. Washing at 90° will kill germs and bacteria that are resistant to a 60° wash.

Why is it Recommended to Wash at Lower Temperatures?

Reducing the temperature that you wash clothes can make a significant reduction to running costs, so much so that washing at 20° rather than 40° can reduce costs by as much as 66%, which aside from saving money, is also kinder on the environment. Washing on the coolest setting possible will also help prevent shrinkage and the potential of colours fading or transferring.

Despite this significant saving, in most cases 20° is too cool for day to day stain removal. 30°, however is adequate for general use, and will still reduce running costs by 46%. For heavily stained clothes, it is likely that you will still need to wash at 40°.

How to Hand Wash

Some delicate garments will specify that they can only be hand washed, however many washing machines operate a hand wash or delicate cycle which will achieve the same results as doing it manually without you having to get your hands wet!

If you prefer to wash delicate items by hand, or if your machine doesn’t have a hand wash cycle follow these simple steps:

1. Gather the following equipment:

  • A bowl, sink or bath to wash in
  • Detergent suitable for handwashing
  • Water
  • Flat surfaces for drying and a towel

2. Fill the bowl with water, check the temperature of the water is suitable for the temperature stated on the garment.

3. Thoroughly dissolve the detergent in the water.

4. Place clothes in the water one at a time. Leave stained items to soak in the water for up to 30 minutes to loosen the stain.

5. Gently rub the garment against itself, particularly over stained areas, swirl the fabric through the water to loosen any dirt.

6. Drain the water and refill with fresh water.

7. Rinse each item individually until the water runs clear of detergent.

8. Gently squeeze out excess water, being careful not to wring out delicate items.

9. Lay garments flat on a towel to prevent them becoming misshaped from hanging

Top Tips for Stain Removal

  • For grease stains wash at a low temperature, a hot wash will simply set the stain into the fabric.
  • Treat stains immediately, they are much harder to shift once they have set in to the fabric.
  • Get rid of deodorant stains on garments by rubbing gently with the protective foam found on wire hangers.
  • For DIY suede cleaning rub a stale bread crust (yes really!) over the stain to remove stains. A pencil eraser is also a great method for getting rid of scuffs.
  • Sunlight is a great way of naturally lifting stubborn stains. If you don’t have a clothes line outside, hang the garment in a sunny window (with the stained area facing towards the light).

Top Tips for Washing

  • To prevent jeans or dark clothing from fading, wash inside out on a cool wash.
  • Keep bathrobes fluffy by halving the amount of washing detergent that you use and rinsing through twice.
  • Remove clothes from the washing machine straight away to prevent them becoming creased or developing mildew.
  • Never wash garments with metal details with delicate items. Not only will you risk snagging or ripping the delicate item, the metal can get very hot and there is the possibility of scorching them.
  • Avoid colour run accidents by having separate laundry bins/bags for whites, darks, colours and dry clean/hand wash items.

Top Tips for Drying

  • If it is unsuitable for an item to be washed in a washing machine, it will certainly be unsuitable for it to be tumble dried.
  • A great hack for removing excess water from hand wash items is to put it in a salad spinner.
  • When drying clothes on a rack, position it in the sunniest and breeziest area of your home, making sure that clothes are well spaced to allow the air to circulate between them.
  • Shake out clothes when transferring them from the washer to the drier, this will help prevent creasing and will reduce drying time.
  • Rotate clothes drying on a rack to ensure that damp areas get exposed to the air, this will speed up drying time and prevent them from developing a musty odour.

Top Tips for Ironing

  • After ironing, leave a garment to settle for at least five minutes before wearing to prevent it re-creasing whilst still warm.
  • Never iron in a circular motion to remove creases, this may stretch the fabric. Use the steam function to remove stubborn creases.
  • When ironing delicate items, turn inside out and cover with a clean pillow case or napkin to prevent the garment becoming shiny.
  • Ironing garments when they are not completely dry will make the task much easier, especially cotton shirts.
  • When tackling a pile of ironing, sort garments according to what temperature they can tolerate. Start with garments requiring the coolest setting and work your way up to the hottest

How to Store Clothing and Accessories

If you take care over the washing and drying of garments it makes sense to then store them correctly to ensure that they are kept in shape and as wrinkle free as possible. Certain items, such as woollens can easily become misshapen when hung on hangers, whereas linens and cottons can become badly creased if folded. This chart will help determine the best way to store your clothing.

           
ItemFoldHang
Cotton clothing (all items)  
Woollen sweaters  
Linen (all items)  
Jeans/cords/chinos
Trousers  
Dresses  
Skirts  
Blazers  
Shirts  
Coats  
T-Shirts  
Knitwear  
Belts
Ties  

Top Tips for Storing Clothing

  • When storing clothes fasten buttons and zips so that the garment is stored as worn, that way it will hang in place and not snag on any other garment.
  • Invest in good quality, wide shouldered hangers that support your clothing.
  • Store out of season clothes to make sure that ‘in season’ clothes can hang uncluttered in the wardrobe.
  • Always clean all items before storing away for summer/winter, as moths are attracted to every day smells, including perfume, deodorant, food and smoke.
  • Stop angora or mohair from shedding fibres by storing in a zip log bag and popping into the freezer for a minimum of three hours.

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