Wool. Cotton. Silk.
They are materials, yes. But what are they really? And how do you take care of them? Here are some facts about each of them and how to take care of the things that make up the majority of (maybe) your clothes!
Resulting from a range of animal coats their signature 'springy sponge' feel and the small curls within the fibers give wool that cozy feel you get from wearing anything that has it in them. For some it might give rise to thoughts of an 'itchy' material but they are quite soft as well as having little shine (some varieties of wool have quite a bit of sheen).
Despite its soft appearance it will return to its original shape after creasing and/or stretching and will resist dirt, wear, and tear. You might think that sweating in, say, a wool coat would make it humid but wool can take in 30% of its weight without the icky and sticky feeling you would expect.
1.a. Caring for Wool
- Washing wool frequently can wear down its life and ruin the quality
- If there are dirt and particulates in the wool don't let them settle within the wool by brushing it off.
- If it needs washing do it with the gentlest settings you can find.
- Drying wool attire can result in shrinking
Soft, comfortable, and common Cotton has come a long way from its origins and has gained beneficial traits such as it breathability, heat-resistant, and can stand the test of time for a long time.
But, for traits gained it also has its drawback that include it wrinkling, and those apparel that are 100% made of cotton will need to be ironed on a regular basis to retain it original look.
2.a. Caring for Cotton
- Not a high maintenance fabric Cotton can be washed with warm water and soap
- Can be hung to dry and put in a dryer on low heat. Caution when putting dark colored cotton clothes in the wash as this can make the color fade over time
- Can be ironed. But if you iron a stain onto the cotton it sets it permanently.
From the fibers of the Chinese silkworm comes the velvety fabric that has become material for many sleeping gowns and luxury clothing items. Its ability to absorb moisture lends it the ability to be dyed in a myriad of colors as well as being suitable for both warm and cool conditions.
An extravagant material it drapes and hugs the body of whomever wears it.
3.a Caring for Silk
- As there are different types of silk the kind of care varies (checking the label is a good start). A visit to the dry cleaner may be in order.
- Unless stated clearly that it can be washed by machine hand wash it. Use gold water and gently rub soap through the material. rinse out soap with cold water.
- To dry use 2 dry towels - one where the silk lays on and another put on top of it and then hang-dry it (using padded hangers). Don't leave it the sun as it fade the colors.
- If using an iron the get hard wrinkles out use a low setting.