Fashion News

Laundry basics & decoding labels

Back to basics

All garments sold in New Zealand have a country of origin, fabric content and care label attached. Remember to read them.

*on wash day, start by separating woollens, delicates – like lingerie – and machine washables. Wash fabrics that are likely to produce lint, such as towels, separately.

*Separate machine washables into whites, light colours and dark colours.

*Wash heavily soiled garments separately.

*If you find that your load is a mixture of garments, choose the lowest temperature and the gentlest cycle recommended for any of the garments in that wash.

*If there is a bar beneath the main symbol on the care label of a garment, you should reduce the machine’s action (gentler agitation) for delicate fabric.

*Close all zippers and other devices that are likely to snag on items of clothing.

*Check all pockets are empty.

Delicate matters

*Unless otherwise specified on the care label, handwash delicate items in warm water using laundry soap or a PH neutral detergent that doesn’t contain enzymes. Always use a gentle plunging action and avoid rubbing. In addition:

*Don’t wring delicates or put them in the tumble dryer, instead, dry by layering the garments flat, away from direct sunlight.

*Pantyhose and stockings often lose their colour when washed. To avoid dye transferring, always wash them separately.

*If you must wash your delicates in the machine, place them in a delicates bag, available from most lingerie retailers.

*When it comes to silk, give it to the experts to clean.

A good yarn

Normal laundry detergents aren’t appropriate for woollens as they make the washing solution alkaline. This can affect the dyes used in wool and can cause colours to run or fade.

*Always wash woollens in warm water that is comfortable to touch, never hot. Add wool wash to the water and ensure it is fully dissolved before the garment is immersed.

*Handwash by gently massaging the garment for a few minutes, then very gently squeezing out as much water as possible. Rinse well in warm water and gently squeeze out the excess water again.

*Wet wool should never be twisted or wrung as this leaves items out of shape.

*Never dry woollens in a dryer or near direct heat. Instead, roll the garment in a towel (of a similar colour) and gently squeeze out as much water as possible. Then, turn the item inside out and place on a flat surface to dry, easing it into its original shape. Make sure the garment is away from direct sunlight, to avoid discolouration.

*If you need to iron a woollen garment, steam is the key. Always use a moist heat. Never iron wet wool.

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