Friday, February 4, 2011

Washing Down, Fiber Fill and Synthetic Blends

We have received numerous requests on how to wash down - especially this time of year everyone is specifically asking about the proper care of down jackets.

Gwen decided to wash her down jacket and we’ll show you the step-by-step how to clean it properly – just in time for the next snowstorm!

First off, there are a few things you should know…

Proper care of down, fiber fill and synthetic blends is important and can be very simple. Some easy maintenance routines and tips throughout the year go a long way for our staples! Steamers and outdoor clothes lines in general are helpful for maintenance.

Steaming these items will remove mites and allergens which can be harmful and spraying with our Fabric Fresh frequently will help your items stay fresh along the way with its anti-bacterial properties. Spot treating in-between washing is also helpful to maintain stain-free items.

Down jackets can usually just be washed once a season and always before seasonal storage. Spot treating is also good along the way for stains. The synthetic outer and inner linings are often tricky to remove stains from, so pre-treating is usually necessary.

Back to Gwen's jacket...

Tools You’ll Need:
Wool & Cashmere Shampoo, Wool & Cashmere Spray, Stain Solution or Wash & Stain Bar

Optional:
Storage Bag, Stain Solution, Scented Vinegar

Spot-treating:
For spot-treating: wet The Laundress Wash & Stain Bar and stain, working the Bar directly into the stained area.
-If stain has faded, but isn’t completely gone, repeat the process until satisfied.

Pre-treat Stains:
The Laundress Stain Solution is formulated specifically to target and break down stubborn stains such as red wine, sauce, chocolate, grass, coffee/tea, grease, blood, yellowing and more.


-Apply Stain Solution to the stain.
-Work the Solution into the stained area with our Stain Brush and warm/tepid water.
*When treating stain from blood, always use cold water


Odor, Must and Mildew:
To remove strong odors, use The Laundress Scented Vinegar, as it is effective in removing stubborn, pesky odors on textiles caused by smoke, body oils, mildew and more.
-Add ¼ cup in a washing bucket or add to your washing cycle in the machine.
-Launder as normal.
* Vinegar is safe for down so this is a great method to use

 You can wash your items in the machine, which Gwen is doing, or to hand wash, see directions below...




Machine Washing:
-Pre-treat any stained areas before washing. Please note there are lotions and face products that can and will permanently stain these items.
-Front loading machines are often best for washing as they have larger drums and are safer without an agitator.
-Wash with warm/cold water on a delicate or woolens cycle with 1/8-1/4 cup of The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo.

Hand Washing:
-Fill a large basin or bath tub with tepid water and add 2 capfuls of The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo.
-Agitate the water and detergent with your hands.
-Soak for ½ hour.
-Rinse well & squeeze as much excess water out by pushing the item, never wring or twist.

Dry/Finishing: We recommend drying these items on a low heat and low tumble cycle. Adding clean tennis balls (Gwen covered hers with our Cleaning Cloths, but tube socks would work well too!) is very helpful to redistribute and fluff up the feathers and down/filling after washing. (Both a combination of machine drying and line drying is ideal, if possible. An alternative to machine drying is airing outside and line drying in the brightest sun – it’s the best and most effective for anti-bacterial purposes.
*Use caution when drying large down items in the dryer - these items can get overheated, clog the vents and cause a fire hazard.
 And you're done!  For more details, tips, etc...continue reading below...
Ironing: You’re off the hook; these items do not require ironing! However, we do recommend steaming for allergens and steaming feather-filled items is always good too. We also recommend using our Wool & Cashmere Spray with your steamer for its anti-bacterial and natural moth/bug repelling properties.
*Do not use starch on these items.


Tips & Tricks:
For larger items that require professional size machines, take your tools i.e. the Wool & Cashmere Shampoo to the laundry mat to do yourself or ask your Laundromat or Laundress to use your product. (This is what we did for years in New York City before we had our own machine).

Storing:
Fabrics should always be stored clean (washed) in a dry place. Attics and basements are the worst. Do not store in plastic. The Laundress All-Purpose Storage Bag, cotton bags or acid free paper is best to avoid bugs and deterioration. Also, never store cotton and linen with starch, as this causes yellowing and will attract bugs. Use The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Spray with its natural moth/bug repellant properties for storing and storage areas.

Dry Cleaning:
Dry cleaning chemicals are not good for you or your fabrics and especially feathers. We never recommend dry cleaning these items.

Bleach:
The Laundress NEVER recommends chlorine bleach! Chlorine bleach will weaken ANY fabric and reduce the lifespan of the fibers -- especially never use chlorine bleach on down or synthetic-filled bedding.

Other Items To Be Washed

Please note the laundering schedule and tips per item below. You will see some items are better to be laundered in an industrial-sized machine to avoid fire hazards and insure proper drying.

Pillows:
Always cover your pillows with a cotton liner. Washing the liner in a bi-weekly rotation with your sheets is recommended. Our heads have natural oils that keep our locks shiny so it is good to have an extra layer between our pillow cases and pillow inners. It is helpful and healthy to fluff and spray with our Wool & Cashmere Spray when making the bed and air outside on a line throughout the seasons. Steaming seasonally is also helpful for the item and your health.

Washing pillows isn’t that imperative as the fabric cover is mite proof so they cannot get into the pillows. We recommend laundering the pillows professionally, with a trusted laundering service or in an industrial machine. It can be very tricky to get them sufficiently dry so that they do not mildew from the inside out.

Duvets and Covers:
Like pillows, duvet inners are also protected by its covers. Duvet covers should be put on a washing rotation of 1-3 months depending on the fabric and your lifestyle (i.e. wash silk less, wash more if you have pets, etc.)

If used with a duvet cover, duvets should only need to be laundered every few years. Fluffing and spraying with Wool & Cashmere Spray when making the bed along the way is helpful too. Tossing in the dryer and “airing” in the sun is beneficial seasonally and will take care of dust mites on the outside of the fabric. Steaming seasonally is also helpful for the item and your health.

As with pillows, we recommend laundering duvets professionally because of their size and to ensure proper drying with a trusted laundering service or in an industrial machine. It can be very tricky to get them sufficiently dry so that they do not mildew from the inside out.

Blankets:
Down/synthetic fiber fill blankets without covers should be washed more often than items with covers. Spot treating is always good in between washings, as is airing on the line.

Feather Beds:
We love our feather beds here at The Laundress! Some doctors or back specialists may not…

We find it is more comfortable when you shake up and “ruffle the feathers” each time the bed is made. The feather bed should also be flipped and rotated to keep the feathers equally, well feathered. Airing out twice a year (again, outside on a line) is best. Feather Bed covers should be washed seasonally, at least 4 times a year. We recommend laundering featherbeds professionally because of their size and to ensure proper drying with a trusted laundering service or in an industrial machine. It can be very tricky to get them sufficiently dry so that they do not mildew from the inside out. Again, having a cover will prevent mites from getting into the bed itself so it’s very important to have a removable cover for your featherbed for this reason. We also recommend steam featherbeds seasonally or as often as you desire.

Sleeping Bags:
Due to the nature of sleeping bag use - being on the ground with moisture and dirt, we recommend washing after every use to keep clean and avoid unwelcome growths and odor. Pre-treating stains is recommended with The Laundress Stain Solution as stains found on synthetic linings and covers can be stubborn.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

My parents always wash my Hollister (girls) Winter Jacket and dry it on the "high heat" option for 4-6 hours. They wash it once a month and dry it everyday because I always get it soaking wet.

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