"London’s biggest fashion and style extravaganza, the first 2013 London Fashion Week is over. It was a chance for the world’s best designers and up-and-coming stylists to showcase their work, what you don’t see are the people backstage frantically caring for the clothes, ironing and making last minute alterations.
As the Official Garment Care Supplier to London Fashion Week, LG is provided expert fabric care support to designers and exhibitors backstage at Somerset House. Looking after clothes correctly helps them to look fresher, retain their colour and shape and last longer – saving money in the process. So let’s have a look at how you can replicate this yourself and ensure top notch clothing care for your own garments at home.
The most essential stage of clothing care is properly checking the washing labels and understanding the clothing care symbols.
As a general rule, the bowl and water shape refers to washing instructions, a triangle refers to bleaching, a square refers to dying, a circle refers to dry cleaning and ironing instructions helpfully look like a basic iron drawing. Dots signify temperature: one means cold; two means warm and three means hot. More detailed explanations can be found here.
You should ideally wash white items in hot water to keep them looking bright. Light-coloured clothes should be washed in warm water, while dark clothes should generally be washed in a colder temperature to stop them from losing their colour.
Don’t overload the machine as the clothes won’t be able to move around freely when the machine spins. It’s also worth finding out if you live in a hard or soft water area as often you can use more detergent in hard water areas.
Lots of people avoid “dry clean only” clothes like the plague, or just take that instruction to mean “don’t bother cleaning”, but now you can dry clean garments at home with state-of-the-art steam washing machines. It even helps to get rid of wrinkles to avoid the dreaded ironing!
If you’re not lucky enough to own a magic washing machine, I’m afraid you’ll have to tackle the ironing yourself. Don’t use circular movements when ironing as these can stretch fabrics. Instead, use straight, back and forth strokes. Iron dark fabrics inside out so you don’t end up with shiny marks on them, and iron over t-shirt prints with a tea towel between the print and the iron so you avoid melting the print. Use the iron’s mist feature to spray water over tough wrinkles to help loosen them. Hang clothes as soon as you’ve ironed them: if you fold them, you run the risk of creating new wrinkles.
If there are disasters you need to deal with, don’t panic. Many stains can now be managed if you deal with them quickly – often the sooner you tackle them, the better. There are lots of good stain removers available to buy, but not all fabrics will withstand them, so check the label. Some of the toughest stains include coffee, wine and blood – if you blot them with clean paper towel (don’t rub) and then follow the instructions on a shop-bought stain remover (or baking soda if you’d prefer a natural option), you shouldn’t have too much trouble if confronted immediately. Ink and dried paint are notoriously difficult to remove, and I’m afraid if you get these on your clothes, you need to learn to love the look."
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