Back when I designed events, some clients left my linens ruined. I know I am not alone on this one. I’m sure you had the mold stains, spaghetti stains, and footprints that made you want to tear your hair out! I used to have so much trouble with stains that I would just throw the whole thing away!
That is until I discovered some amazing techniques and products that work wonders, especially on my delicate linens such as sheer and sequin. So, here are my tips for washing your fabric and I hope that they help you avoid chucking that nice crushed velvet in the trash!
I primarily use this technique to treat small stains and spills. One of my favorite products to use is ZEP MOLD and MILDEW to treat tough stains. It works wonders on mildew. Another reason I prefer this technique is because I can control the amount of pressure applied to my fabric while washing your fabric. You have no clue or way how much of a beating the washing machine will do to your delicate fabrics. So, sometimes they might be better off with this method!
This is my primary way to get out simple stains because I don’t have to wash my entire panel. It is a great way to handle your delicate fabrics such as sequin, chiffon or any other lightweight or specialty fabric. Hand washing your fabric panels and linen works best when you have minimal cleaning to do. It is not something that I recommend for large stains because you’ll end up defeating the purpose of this quick and easy method.
I tend to use this method for big stains and really soiled fabric. Always machine wash with like colors only in cold water using a gentle or delicate cycle. Why? Because, hot temperature settings can shrink or damage fabric (so can harsher wash cycles). One time, I washed some of my poly stretch panels on the hot thinking it would melt the stains away and ended up with panels that were about a foot shorter than when I added them in the washer…so please if you take no other advice from this post take that one tidbit! For detergents, consider something mild such as Woolite or Dreft. You also want to add the detergent before you add your fabric so it doesn’t alter the color of your linens or add stains.
I tend to use this method when I have some really tough stains that I don’t want to chance. Plus, I like the idea of having it professionally done by someone else and having that added protection of a guarantee. When dry cleaning, be sure to take pictures of your fabric beforehand, so that (on the off chance) that damage happens after dry cleaning you can prove it and get compensated. I have never had this happen to me, but it never hurts to be prepared! Also, when dry cleaning, request the use of fluorocarbon solvents under easy-care conditions. Not only are these solvents colorless, but they are also really good on stains! The only thing about using a dry cleaner is that you want to give them as much information as possible.
When it all comes down to it, as someone who works in pipe and drape, your fabric is one of your biggest assets. As with any inventory, you have to learn to take care of it properly otherwise you’ll waste a lot of money buying new fabric! If you liked these tips and you want to learn more, be sure to check out my youtube channel where I post tips on draping, business and so much more!