CLOTHES CARE Before putting away your sweaters, mufflers and tube socks, make sure they are washed the right way. It keeps them snug and makes them last longer, says Radha Prathi
Winter is almost drawing to a close. It is time to pack and stack up all those warm clothes and rugs until this time next year. Dry cleaning them is certainly an easy option. Even though it comes with a hefty bill, more often than not, it is not even cleaned well. Faded portions, partial stains and sometimes even damages are noticed only when you’re wearing the clothing item the next time around.
But, if you follow certain ground rules while taking care of your woollen clothes, you can be sure that they will last you for a lifetime. Never store your woolies without washing them. No matter how expensive or of what superior quality, knitwear can lose its shape and elongate in an ugly manner during the process of washing and drying if not handled properly. If your woollen wear and rugs are branded, you should follow the instructions on the label. If not, try sticking to these little notes on caring for your woollens:
First check the garments, quilts and rugs for snags or unraveled stitches and set them right.
Some woolies have a tendency for pilling and have tiny blobs of yarn emerging from the fabric. You could lay them out flat on a mat and pick them out gently with your fingers.
If there are way too many. you could brush them gently and quickly, lengthways. Do it with a stiff sponge initially and proceed to remove the woollen balls with your fingers.
Check for stains. Lay the garment flat on an acrylic mat, wet that specific area and apply a gentle detergent on the reverse side of the stain. Take care not to rub or squeeze that portion.
Usually dark colours have a tendency to run. Check whether the colours run, by soaking one edge of the garment in water and pressing an old white cloth on it. Such clothes should be washed separately.
Work a rich lather with a gentle detergent or a mild shampoo in lukewarm water and soak the reversed woollens for an hour or two.
Lay out the garment flatly on the washing stone and gently tease out the dirt by pressing the knitwear. Never rub or wring them.
If you happen to use the washing machine, place the garment in a loosely-tied cloth bag or pillow case to prevent the garment from getting out of shape. Wash it on a short fast cycle.
Rinse them thoroughly so that they are free of the detergent with several changes of water.
Cleaning & drying
Leave the rinsed wet woollens for fifteen minutes in the empty bucket or on the washing stone till the excess water drains away.
If you want to hasten the process of drying, spread a clean, dry and large towel on the garment and roll them together to soak up the moisture. You could repeat the process with another towel if necessary.
Choose a spot away from direct sunlight and spread the woollens on a plastic mat or a clean flat surface without wringing or squeezing the material.
When it is semi-dry, pat the garment back to its original shape and leave it alone till it dries up completely.
Once the major task of washing is over, it is time to store them safely. Never hang your knitwear in the wardrobe as their weight will cause them to stretch out of shape. Moreover, dust can damage woollens. Fold them minimally, roll them up and store them in a closed drawer, container or closet with a packet of flower dust or some camphor to keep them fragrant until you want to use them again.
Given that they keep you warm during those chilly mornings and nippy nights, the effort is well worth it