AAt the end of November, my mother asked me to help her get the nursery out of the attic. It was unusually early for her to put it in place, but given the two years we’ve all been through, I understood her desire for the year to end and the holidays to come.
And now here we are, immersed in a strange holiday season, where party invitations depend on the production of a negative rapid antigen test.
Aside from the threat of contracting the Covid, parties can be dangerous places, especially for our clothes. From socially-distant dance floors to cigarette smoke and spilled drinks – this week we’re asking the experts how to take care of your outfit after the festivities are over.
Give them air
As tempting as it may be, Melbourne Fashion Festival Program Director Chloe Naughton says that “the worst thing you can do is take off what you’re wearing and leave it in a pile on the floor.”
Instead, she suggests hanging it up or laying it flat on a drying rack or table to air it out before putting it away. If you have a steamer and extraordinary willpower, she suggests giving each room light steaming first.
When Naughton comes home at the end of the night, the fabric and construction of the garment will determine whether she is hanging it up or putting it down, as some things like knits and heavy cottons can be stretched while hanging. A good rule of thumb is to hang clothes that you would normally hang, and lay clothes that you normally fold flat.
This is even more important if your clothes smell of cigarettes. She says to be sure to hang them on the outside of your wardrobe and not to put them near your clean clothes. âThen take it to the dry cleaners in the morning. In a pinch, she says, you can also use fabric deodorant spray.
Stop stains on the spot
Naughton says if someone spills wine, the best thing to do is immediately pour sparkling water over it to remove the stain. She says it helps “break it down and keep it from getting stuck in the wires.” But if it is a delicate fabric, like silk, it should be left alone and brought to the dry cleaners quickly the next morning.
If oil gets on your shirt or pants, she says it “needs to be washed from time to time, because if the oil gets in it it will stain.”
It might seem odd to walk around in a wet gown, but if you want him to survive the night, Naughton suggests that you “go to the bathroom immediately and use lukewarm water and hand soap” to remove the oil.
For stains that you might not notice until late at night, oil, red and brown gravy, or wine stains can be softened with a cool soak, then passed through a hot wash of at least 60 Â° C, says Steve Anderton, a laundry expert with consultancy group LTC Worldwide. It is best to do this while the stains are fresh; if the marks persist, try using a general stain remover. He says to use a premium detergent that contains a biological enzyme and an emulsifying agent.
Focus on the type of fabric
Anderton says that polyester or nylon clothing is very attracted to fats and oils, including sweat. So if they have been stained or worn enthusiastically on the dance floor, they will need to be treated with an emulsifying agent to break that bond. You may need to wash them more than once at 60 Â° C, but not higher. Polyester is thermoplastic and excessive heat can damage it.
Naughton says, “If it’s a really hot summer day and I know I’ll be at a party in the sun, I’ll choose to wear a breathable fabric like linen or cotton.” She says it’s because these tissues allow her body to breathe and make the experience more comfortable.
Go to the pros
Naughton recommends taking most clothes to the dry cleaners the day after a party, and preferably go with eco-friendly dry cleaners. Particularly favor delicate fabrics. She says that “silk must be processed by professionals”. It’s important to remember that silk can look beautiful the day after a party, but sweat and deodorant stains can damage the fabric over time and appear later.
If a New Year’s run to find an open dry cleaner seems a little ambitious to you, reconsider wearing a silk jacket or chiffon dress on a night that can get rowdy.