This is a guide created to help you look after your garments so you can get the most out of them. Olearia recommends that you read the care label and follow those instructions as certain fabrications may require specific attention.
Silk is a natural fibre that is most commonly derived from the cocoon of the mulberry silk worm. Contrary to popular belief, silk can often be hand washed and is also sometimes machine washable (if your machine offers a delicate cycle). Always ensure that you use mild detergent suitable for delicate fabrications and wash in cool water. If machine washing is possible, wash using a gentle cycle, with the garment inside out, inside a garment bag. Do not tumble dry, wring or twist silk. Press inside a towel to remove excess water and lay flat or hang to dry away from sunlight. Steam or press underneath a cloth to remove wrinkles. Dry cleaning is recommended as it puts your garment in the hands of an expert. Dry cleaning also has the ability to dissolve grease and oils in ways which water cannot.
Benefits of Silk:
- Regulates body temperature.
- Has moisture wicking properties.
- May provide relief for skin irritations.
- Biodegrades when disposed of properly.
Wool is a natural fibre obtained from sheep and other animals, including cashmere and mohair from goats and angora from rabbits. At Olearia, we use both woven and knitted wool fabrics and as they require different laundering processes we have written a care guide for both.
Woven Wool: Often used for coats, jackets, trousers and suiting. These garments, more often than not, are dry clean only. Washing these fabrics can cause shrinkage and/or changes in texture and finishings. Hand wash or gentle machine wash only when a care label suggests. Always ensure that you use mild detergent suitable for delicate fabrications and wash in cool water. If machine washing is possible, wash using a gentle cycle, with the garment inside out, inside a garment bag. Do not tumble dry, wring or twist. Press inside a towel to remove excess water and lay flat or hang to dry away from sunlight. Steam or press underneath a cloth to remove wrinkles. Spot clean when necessary.
Knitted Wool: Hand wash in cool water with mild detergent suitable for delicate fabrications. If your machine offers a delicate/wool cycle, wash the garment inside out (to reduce pilling), inside a garment bag. Do not tumble dry, wring or twist knitwear as this can shrink and/or change the shape of the garment. Press inside a towel to remove excess water and lay flat dry away from sunlight. Do not hang as this can stretch the garment. Steam to remove wrinkles if necessary.
A characteristic of wool fabric is its potential to pill. Pilling often occurs with wear as fibres intertwine with movement. The softer the yarn, the more likely it is to pill. Pilling is easily maintained by using a wool comb or an electric depiller. Be gentle when using these accessories and always stoke the fabric in one direction. Pilling is temporary, it will stop once your piece has shed all its shorter fibres. After your garments have been washed in the machine a few times their fibres should strengthen, which will lessen pilling.
More so than any other fibre, moths and other fabric eating insects love wool. Always make sure that your garments are cleaned before storing them away. Not only does this eliminate insect eggs that could be on the garment, it also removes perspiration and food remnants, which attract moths and other insects. A lavender bag or lavender & cedarwood essential oils also help to repel wool-munching insects, however does not solve the problem completely.
Benefits of Wool:
- When a wool fibre is disposed of properly, it will naturally decompose in soil over a number of years, slowly releasing valuable nutrients back into the earth.
- It is a soft fibre with lots of air pockets, meaning it is highly insulating.
- Reacts to your body temperature.
Cotton fabrics are comprised of staple fibres derived from the cotton plant. Cotton is a durable fabric that is machine washable on a normal cycle. Cotton can withstand high temperatures, however, as it’s a natural fibre it is subject to some subtle changes like softening and slight fading, using cool water will assist in ensuring the longevity of your garment. In addition to this, although many fabrics are pre-shrunk prior to construction, we recommend always using cool water rather than hot water to reduce the risk of a garment shrinking. As with anything that is machine washable, always wash garments with similar colours as dyes may run. Tumble dry cotton on medium heat or hang to dry for a more environmentally friendly option. Cotton has a tendency to wrinkle, so a hot iron or steam can help the fabric to relax.
Benefits of Cotton:
- Durable and hardy fabric that responds well to wear.
- Hypoallergenic properties.
- Breathable and comfortable to wear.
Linen is a natural fibre made from the flax plant. Linen is a durable fabric that is machine washable on a normal cycle. Linen can withstand high temperatures, however, as it’s a natural fibre it is subject to some subtle changes like softening and slight fading, using cool water will assist in ensuring the longevity of your garment. Linen is extremely sensitive to wrinkles so hanging your garments out to dry is ideal. If you must tumble dry linen, do so on a low heat setting and always ensure that you remove the garment from the dryer soon after the cycle finishes as leaving it over a long period of time may result in permanent creases. Use a hot iron to press out creases.
Benefits of Linen:
- Incredibly Durable - 30% stronger than cotton.
- Hypoallergenic properties.
- Weave of linen fibres allows for airflow which keeps clothing away from the skin.
- Anti-cling and anti-static.
- Quickly absorbs and evaporates moisture.
- Keeps the wearer cool.
- Environmentally friendly fibre - uses less water and chemicals to be cultivated than cotton.
Viscose is made from a semi-synthetic fibre and is a soft, highly versatile material. Viscose loses its strength when wet so be extra careful when washing. Hand wash in cool water. If your machine offers a delicate/wool cycle, wash the garment inside out, inside a garment bag. Do not tumble dry, wring or twist viscose. Hang or lay flat to dry. Steam or press underneath a cloth to remove wrinkles.
Benefits of Viscose:
- Silk-like hand feel.
- Drapes beautifully.
- Blends well with other fibres, particularly woven ones.
Points to remember no matter the fibre:
- Wash/dry clean garments only when necessary (spot clean where possible).
- Attend to soiled fabrics as soon as possible to avoid a permanent stains.
- Many garments are dry clean only or recommended (especially with natural fibres) as this is the best possible option for removal of grease and stains. It also prevents shrinkage, loss of colour, and change of texture or finish and keeps garments looking brand new. We recommend using an eco-friendly dry cleaner if possible.
- Avoid tumble dryers. They can cause fabrications to wear more quickly and require lots of energy to run.