Care and Maintenance of Garments
Assistant professor, Dept. of Fashion Design
KCC Women’s College (Affiliated by Khulna University)
We all know that when we wear clothes they become dirty and need laundering. The dirt is due to stains, dust, grease and perspiration. When left on fabrics, these can lead to the following damages:
Stains and dirt on clothes become medium for the growth of bacteria, fungus or other harmful organisms which may lead to skin problems and poor personal hygiene. Dirty clothes lose their freshness and smell unpleasant. Left on clothes the dirt and stains reduce the strength of the fabric. No one feels good wearing stained and dirty clothes. So, care and maintenance is the essential parts for our clothes and our good health.
Care and maintenance includes three elements such as:
Cleaning is the primary stage of care and maintenance of garments. The main elements of Cleaning.
Shaking: ‘Shaking’ helps to removing loose dust from the fabric. Hold the dress with both hands and shake it vigorously.
Brushing: Brushing is for removing loose dirt from fabrics which have a pile on them suits and coats are also brushed (velvets, corduroy, chenille, blankets and carpets are thick and have a pile on their surface which holds dust easily. To remove it we need to gently brush the surface with a soft clothes- brush, in the direction of pile (fuzzy surface).)
Airing: ‘Airing’ helps in drying and removing bad odors from fabrics. It is done preferably outdoors in the sun or in a well-ventilated room.
Washing is one way of cleaning namely with water and often with some kind of soap/detergent. It is an essential part of good hygiene and health. Laundering of clothes does not mean only washing of clothes. Home laundering is an art. It requires patience and practice to learn the right technique.
It consists of the following three steps:
- Washing or dry-cleaning garments to remove dirt, perspiration and smell, e.g. your school uniform is washed and your woolen coats and jackets etc. are dry cleaned.
- Finishing the garments with stiffening agents like starch and gum, brightening or bleaching agents, drying them then ironing or pressing, folding and hanging garments, e.g. cotton dupattas and sarees are starched.
- Storing the garments for a short or long time, e.g. when the winter season arrives you put away summer clothes and take out woolen shawls, sweaters, coats etc.
Remember, washing and dry cleaning are two different processes used for cleaning different types of clothes.
Application of Pressure is Done in Different Ways:
Method of washing
- Application of Friction washing
- Application of light pressure
1. Application of Friction washing:
a. Hand Friction:
- Wring the article out of steeping water.
- Apply soap to the most soiled parts and rub one part against the other until the dirt is loosened. Rinse out of all soap with warm water.
Use: Suitable for much soiled small articles made of cotton or linen
b. Friction by use of a scrubbing brush
- wring the article out of steepting water.
- Spread on a flat surface and rub over with the cake of soap.
- It is scrubbed and work over the whole of the fabric in the way.
- Rinse out of all soap with warm water
Use: Suitable for very soiled articles of any coarse strong fabrics
2. Application of light pressure:
Washing by kneading and squeezing:
- Prepare one or two washing waters of the correct temperature (100-110ºF) with a permanent lather according to the number of articles to be washed.
- Knead and squeeze the soiled fabric in the warm soapy water. Very soiled parts should be placed on the palm of the left hand and have additional lather placed until the dirt is loosened.
- Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of soap.
Use: Suitable for delicate fabrics to which hand friction cannot be applied as in wool, sick, rayon and coloured fabric.
General Procedure for Hand Laundering:
Although most of today’s fabrics are either machine washable or dry cleanable, hand washing continues to be important not only for small items but also for certain materials like silk, sheer fabrics where fastness of colour is uncertain, must be washed by hand.
- Following are some guides for hand laundering;
- Launder fabrics before they become too soiled.
- Examine the fabrics thoroughly for spots, small tears or holes.
- Mend all tears or holes and mark spots with thread so that they may be specially treated before or during washing.
- Remove any accessories that are not washable.
- For delicate fabric use soap with no strong alkali.
Washing by Machine:
Most washing today is done by washing machines, the great majority of which are the automatic types. In selecting an automatic washing machine, the following are important consideration for the customer.
- Capacity of clothes depending on family size
- Space available for the machine
- At least two speed variations for different fabrics
- The water temperatures
- Pressure control rather than time control for filling
- More than one full level to handle a small load
- Moderate use of electricity
There are certain cautions to observe in using an automatic washer
- Turn off the water supply when the machine is not in use, to prevent the hose from recapturing
- Remove the articles from the clothing pockets before washing.
- Keep hands out of the washer when it is in operation.
- Don’t over load the machine. Distribute the loads evenly, if the machine vibrates or bang, turn it off at once.
The following are the general procedure:
- Before using a washing machine it is important to study the maker’s instruction.
- Fill the machine to the water level with warm water. Add soap solution or powder.
- See that heavily soiled garments have some soap rubbed in before being placed in the machines.
- Sort clothes into white, coloured and delicate fabrics.
- Load the machine with required quantity of garments
- Set the wash cycle, temperature, warm or hot water and timing, switch on for washing.
- Remove the garments once the washing is over.
- Dry the garments in the sunlight or in the shade.
The purpose of fabric softeners is to make washable fabrics softer, fluffier and less likely to wrinkle, and to make ironing easier. When used on man-made fabrics, softeners are said to cut down on static electricity (clinging of the fabric).
While many different fabric softeners are available, most of them are in liquid form. One type of softener is added to the final rinse water, where as another type is to be put in to the water along with the detergent. With the latter type, it is important to follow instructions carefully because the softener and detergent interact; causing an insoluble precipitate that is difficult to remove.
After complete washing and softening, you will need to ironing or pressing your clothes and maintain the steps of clothing storage in the wardrobes and almirah. Some costumes are need to hang up your hanger rod.