When you compare two people, you will find neither of them alike; the same is true for fabrics as well. Every fabric has its soul warped and weft into it. All fabrics are unique; some are woven; while, some are knitted, or they are braided, felted, tufted, well you get the picture. Therefore, how these fabrics should be washed and cared for to increase the longevity of the fabrics is also different.
Here is a comprehensive guide for the upkeep of all your fabrics:
Natural fabrics are produced from natural fibres which are generally extracted from plants, animals, and other natural sources. Proof of usage of natural fabrics can be found in ancient times. These fabrics are highly lauded for their properties.
The Basic Cotton:
Pro Tip: Always wash dyed clothes in cold water using a gentle machine wash feature, set them to air-dry away from the sun to preserve the colors.
Cotton is a very extensively worn fabric, from Muslins to Ikats, prints, and embroideries; it is a versatile fabric that resists wear and tear. One of the oldest fabrics known to man, it is used in garments, upholstery, etc. We are at every moment, surrounded by it. You can wash cotton in the washer using both hot and cold water, tumble dry, iron cotton on high heat with steam. You can clean almost every type of cotton fabric using these instructions; do be careful with a more delicate variation of the fabric like voile, for example.
Linen is a textile made from fibers of the flax plant. This fabric is made from the cellulose fibers that grow inside of the stalks of the flax plant, linen is one of the oldest cultivated plants in human history. It is thicker than cotton and linen fibers are very long. This contributes to strength, which helps to longevity. It is mostly used for formal clothing and bedding. It is easy to maintain, better to hand or machine wash it in lukewarm water and left to air dry, iron using high heat and steam while the article is inside-out.
The Warm and Cosy Wool:
Wool is a natural fiber turned fabric, taken from the fur coats of animals like sheep, goats (cashmere and mohair), rabbits (angora), and other types of wool from camel, alpaca, etc. Woolens are best to hand wash in lukewarm water in a mild detergent, do not overly agitate them; it will lead to piling and felting. Cashmere and Pashmina should be strictly dry cleaned, store them wrapped in muslin for protection.
Pro Tip: For the longevity of natural fabrics, air-dry them away from direct sunlight while inside-out.
The Luxurious Silk:
Silk is a protein fiber woven into textiles that comes from individual insect larvae to form cocoons. The best-known silk is obtained from the cocoons of the mulberry silkworm. There are different types of weaves, thread works, etc. which produce various fabrics famous for their lustre, softness, vibrancy, etc. Patola (Queen of Silk), Banarasi, Kanjiwaram, Brocades, etc. or any silk really which has zari work should be dry cleaned only for the best results. Iron silks on low heat without steam, for safety, iron silk through a cotton towel in the middle. Store silks wrapped in muslin, and inside a cool, dry place, far from reach.
Pro Tip: Delicate clothes should be washed inside a mesh bag to keep the shape of the garments.
The Magnificent Velvet:
Velvet is a type of woven, tufted fabric in which the cut threads are evenly distributed, with a short, dense pile, giving it a distinctive soft feel. Velvet is woven on a special loom that weaves two thicknesses of the material at the same time. The two pieces are then cut apart to create the pile effect, and the two lengths of fabric are wound on separate take-up rolls. This complicated process meant that velvet was expensive to make before industrial power looms became available, and well-made velvet remains a fairly costly fabric. Velvet pile is created by warp or vertical yarns, and velveteen piles are created by weft or fill yarns. Worn by nobility throughout history, velvet originates in Kashmir, its deep colour and sheen set you apart from the others. Velvet is delicate, and; therefore, should be dry cleaned only; to remove wrinkles, steam the garment. If it is badly wrinkled, use another piece of velvet with the piled sides facing each other and then iron lightly to protect the pile.
Pro Tip: Embroidered clothes should be washed inside-out using a gentle machine wash feature, let air-dry. Clothing with Zari embroidery is dry clean only.
The Industrial Jute:
Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. Making carry bags, rope, and matting are among its uses. Jute is in high demand due to its cheapness, softness, length, lustre, and uniformity of its fiber. It is also called the 'golden fiber' due to its versatile nature and color. In the case of jute apparel, jute yarn is chemically treated to soften it to make products more comfortable, other fibers may be blended with jute to create softer fabrics to make garments and accessories for people to wear. Jute is better hand-washed and left to air-dry if ironing is needed, keep the heat low and press inside-out while the article is still damp.
Semi Manmade Fabrics
These fabrics usually have their raw material obtained from nature, wood, pulp, etc. To be made into fabrics, these raw materials undergo various processes.
The many types and grades of rayon can imitate the feel and texture of natural fibers such as silk, wool, cotton, and linen. Most readymade low-priced kurties are made from rayon. To preserve the shape of the articles, wash them in cold water, tumble dry on a low setting, iron on a low setting without steam.
Viscose is a type of rayon that is made from regenerated cellulose fibers obtained from agricultural waste. Viscose is used in the making of art silk, synthetic velvet, etc. Liva is a brand name that is almost synonymous with viscose in India. It is better suited for a cold, gentle machine wash cycle and tumble-dried on a low setting, it should be ironed on low without steam and a towel in between for protection.
Modal is a semi-synthetic cellulose fiber made by spinning cellulose obtained from tree barks. Modal is used alone or with other fibers (often cotton or spandex) in clothing and household items like pajamas, underwear, bathrobes, towels, and bedsheets. Modal is durable and more stable when it is wet, yet has a soft feel, similar to cotton. The fabric has been known to pill less than cotton due to fiber properties and lower surface friction. Wash modal in cold water using a gentle feature on the washer, iron while damp on medium heat.
Acetate is another type of rayon; the thermoplastic nature of acetate made it an excellent fiber for moiré because the pattern was permanent and did not wash away. The same characteristic also made permanent pleating a possibility. Today, acetate is blended with silk, cotton, wool, nylon, etc. to give fabrics excellent wrinkle recovery, draping quality, quick-drying, proper dimensional stability, cross-dye pattern potential, at a very competitive price. Acetate is mostly used as a lining and some lingerie or draperies, it is best to hand-washed and let air dry unless specified otherwise, ironing not necessary, keep it away from perfumes, nail polishing products, and heat as it may disintegrate.
Man-made or synthetic fabrics are usually produced via chemical composition, structure and properties are significantly modified during the manufacturing process.
Nylon was invented during the Second World War to make parachutes due to the shortage of natural fabrics. Nylon was created by DuPont, it is an entirely synthetically produced fabric. Although useless in pure form, it blends well with other fabrics. Stockings, yoga pants, etc., are generally made from nylon or a blend consisting of nylon. It is best washed in cold water; hot water may deform or melt the fabric, let air dry and iron on low if needed.
Factory-made, polyester is a generalized term for any fabric or textile, which is made using yarns or fibers made from polymers of esters. It is a shortened name for a synthetic, man-made polymer, which, as a specific material, is most commonly referred to as a type called polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Basically, polyester is a kind of plastic. Formal work attire is made of polyester due to its stiffness. The articles must be washed in a gentle setting on the washer, and tumble dry warm. Polyester is a petroleum-based product so keep it away from excessive heat, iron on medium-low setting without steam.
This fabric is produced by blending Polyester, Cotton, and Polyurethane; it is a super-stretchy stiff material. Lycra is a brand name that provides spandex. It is used to make clothes stretchable so, it can be found in underwear, socks, bras, sports bras, bike shorts, yoga pants, hiking apparel, motion capture suits. While in the washer, put spandex material in a mesh bag to stop the content from stretching out of shape, do not iron.
Suede or rather the ultra-micro fiber is an inexpensive leather replacement. Ultrasuede is used in fashion, including shoes; interior designing, etc. Suedes should be hand-washed and left to dry in the shade, they don't need ironing.
Net or netting is a type of yarns are fused, looped or knotted at their intersections, resulting in a fabric with open spaces between the threads. Netting is used in clothing to add texture to it, mostly. Net apparel can be washed with regular clothes while they are inside a mesh bag for protection against wear and tear, ironing them is not necessary.
These fabrics are usually made by mixing of two or more fibers, natural or synthetic. Fibers are blended to create a fabric that has the desirable properties of the original ones without (or minimizing) their negative features.
Made famous by the Mahatma it is the fabric of the Swadeshi movement, it is more than just a fabric, it is the symbol of the independence revolution from the British Raj. Khadi is a blend of Cotton, Silk, and Wool. Khadi is known to be cool in summers and warm in winters, hence being recognized as an all-season fabric. Clothing made from this fabric should be machine washed on cold setting and left to air-dry in the shade, ironing is better-done on medium.
Originated from Chanderi, Madhya Pradesh, India, Chanderi is the fabric of queens, it is known for its pastel-colored sheer look, and motifs made of gold and silver a fancy fabric made with blends of Cotton and Silk. If there are no zari works on the apparel, it can be machine washed on cold setting using a mild detergent, let it air dry in the shade inside-out, do not fold while ironing.
Originated in the 17th century by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, Kota Doria is woven on a traditional pit loom in such a fashion that it produces square checks pattern on the fabric. The delicately woven checks are locally known as khats. They smear onion juice and rice paste with a lot of care into the yarn, making the yarn so durable that no additional finishing is needed. This fabric is made of either Cotton or Silk with Zari, best suited for gentle hand wash and left to air dry in the shade, iron this fabric on a low setting without steam.
Lepcha is made in Sikkim from Cotton and Wool, with vegetable dyes and synthetic colors like white, red, black, yellow and green. It is used in the making of rugs, bags, etc. Lepcha may be hand washed and let air-dry.
The Mangalagiri fabric is produced in Mangalagiri, Andhra Pradesh by weaving with the help of pit looms from combed yarn by warp and woof interlacing. The fabric then undergoes the process of dying. The Nizam design is another characteristic of the fabric. Mangalagiri is a blend of Cotton and Silk but can be made from either without the other. These saris should be dry cleaned only, iron them on low heat without steam.
The fabric originated around the 18th century but rose to popularity in the 1970s. It is known for its texture of tufted cords and channels in between. Corduroy is made from Cotton, Rayon and Polyester blend; gentle machine wash work best for this fabric, tumble dry on a warm setting, iron it inside-out.
The satin weave is characterized by four or more fill or weft yarns floating over a warp yarn, four warp yarns floating over a single weft yarn. Floats are missed interfacings, where the warp yarn lies on top of the weft in a warp-faced satin and gives it a high luster and even sheen. Satin is usually a warp-faced weaving technique in which warp yarns are "floated" over weft yarns, although there are also weft-faced satins. Satin is a shiny material made with blends of Silk, Polyester, and Nylon. Satin is a very delicate fabric and should be dry cleaned, iron on low heat without steam.
Crêpe, also spelled crepe or crape has a distinctively crisp, crimped appearance. This fabric uses Silk, Wool and Nylon blends. It is meant for gentle hand-wash only; iron it on low heat without steam.
Georgette is a form of crêpe which is sheer, lightweight and has a dull-finish. Named after the early 20th-century French dressmaker Georgette de la Plante, Georgette is made with highly twisted yarns. It is made in solid colors and prints and is used for blouses, dresses, gowns, saris, etc. It is springier and less lustrous than the closely related chiffon. Georgette is a blend of silk and synthetic fibers. It is a delicate fabric; therefore, it should be hand washed in cold water to preserve colors, do not wring the fabric, it may twist out of shape, iron it on low heat without steam.
Chiffons are a lightweight, balanced plain-woven sheer fabric, or gauze, like gossamer, woven of alternate S- and Z-twist crepe (high-twist) yarns. The twist in the crepe yarns puckers the fabric slightly in both directions after weaving, giving it some stretch and a slightly rough feel. It can be a blend of either Cotton or Silk with various synthetic fibers. If it is silk chiffon, it must be dry cleaned, the other one can be machine washed on a gentle setting, do not wring the fabric, let it air-dry, iron it on a low setting without heat.
And there you have it, folks. A full guide on how to take care of all the fabrics you can buy off of our website. Fabrics may be marketed as strong and durable, or as invincible even. Still, without proper washing and care, they can become fragile, loose shape, color, and integrity with time, which is why we decided to combine all this trivia and knowledge here for you.
If you didn't find any particular type of fabrics you were looking for, let us know in the comments. Have a great day!