Important Facts About Your Clothes: Part 2

Metallics Make Fabrics Fragile

Metallic yarn fabrics are attractive but not very serviceable. Friction and mechanical action in wear may cause the fragile metallic yarn to snap. Stains and perspiration may cause the metallic yarn to tarnish. Some metallic yarns are only surface coated and will dissolve in normal dry cleaning.

Rayon Problems

Rayon was the first manmade fiber produced. It gives the look of silk at a fraction of the cost. Rayon is generated cellulose material. Fabrics made of rayon often require a sizing to give body as the fiber has little body of it’s own. When a sized rayon garment is stained by a water-based substance, spots occur which may be difficult to remove. This is caused by a sizing disturbance caused by the water. Garments made of rayon can be expected to give you more problems than garments made of other fibers.

Delicate Silks

The dyes used on some silk are subject to color loss and dye bleeding. This may occur in normal wear or during stain removal. Silk may fade from exposure to sunlight or even artificial light. Perspiration will degrade silk; and perfumes and deodorants will affect the fabric color. Chafing, splitting, and shredding occur in normal wear, especially in lightweight or tight fitting garments.

Many white garments are treated with fabric finishes which may be prone to color changes. Some of these finishes are optical brighteners which may break down during processing. Never launder whites with other color garments or in an overcrowded washing machine. Never launder or dry clean white garments that are part of a set unless all parts of the set are processed together. It could result in different shades in parts of the set.


Wool is an excellent fiber. It is warm in the winter and if it is summer weight, can even be cool in the warm weather. It looks good and feels good, but all wool is not the same. Wool can be reprocessed or virgin, long or short fibered, and of different quality depending on where it came from and the particular sheep from which it was cut. A cheap woolen garment may be subject to shrinkage, wrinkling, poor dye retention, and shortened life. A wool label alone is not necessarily a guarantee of quality.

Furniture Covers

Furniture covers are subject to severe shrinkage when washed. Since they are usually made to fit snugly, it may be difficult or impossible to replace them on the furniture. Replacing them while still damp may be helpful. Dry cleaning can be desirable to avoid shrinkage but if the fabric was not properly preshrunk, even dry cleaning will not help. Never wash or dry clean pillow covers that are the actual upholstery. They are zippered only to obtain a good fit and will probably fall apart if processed.


Sun and moisture can do terrible things to draperies. You know how sun burns your skin. It does the same thing to fabrics but fabric doesn’t grow back like skin. Water from rain, humidity, radiator steam, or animals leaves water stains on draperies that cannot be safely removed. When a manufacturer doesn’t preshrink the drapery fabric properly, your floor length draperies may become window length after cleaning.

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