- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Q: Should I always follow the care instructions on my clothes?

A:Care labels are used by manufactures to recommend the best method of care for the garment. If damage occurs and the care label was followed, the manufacturer is responsible for the damage. However, some garments can be cleaned by alternate methods if done carefully.

Be aware that some dyes may bleed, fabrics may shrink and sizings may be removed if alternate methods are used. This can result in discolored, misshapen and/or limp fabric. So if you decide to wash a dry-cleanable garment, make sure you test it first.

Q: Last year, the color in my son’s sports uniform bled when I washed it. How do I keep this from happening again this year?

A: It’s time for spring sports, meaning it’s time to care for athletic uniforms. Sports uniforms usually are made from synthetic fibers, such as nylon, polyester, spandex or a blend of those fibers. The biggest problem athletic uniforms may experience is dye bleeding during the cleaning process. For this reason, it is important that you carefully follow the manufacturer’s care instructions.

Because some dyes are water-soluble, resulting in fading or dye transfer during washing, many uniforms have care labels that recommend a cold water wash. The color should be safe if washed in cold water, but often it will bleed if washed at a higher temperature. If you want to be safe, test for colorfastness before cleaning. This could help avoid color pickup on other articles as well.

If the color bleeds when washed at the recommended temperature, the manufacturer should be held responsible and the uniform returned to the retailer for an adjustment.

Q: What’s the best way to clean a baseball cap?

A: Whether you’re a big leaguer or in Little League, baseball caps also are bound to get dirty. The combination of sweat, dirt and grass will see to that.

The preferred method of care is simply to hand-wash the cap with a mild dish detergent, rinse it and let it air dry. Machine washing on a gentle cycle may be another option, but this tends to be rough on the brim of the hat. The brim usually contains cardboard and can bend, distort or even tear from the agitation of the machine.

The adjustable plastic hooks on the back of the hat also may pose a problem because they tend to melt at higher drying temperatures. Some designers have replaced these plastic hooks with a metal sliding hook that does not melt during washing.

A plastic cap form that fits in and around the cap to hold its shape may be available. The form allows you to wash the cap in a dishwasher while preventing the brim from getting bent or distorted during the wash cycle. Be sure to choose a dishwashing detergent that does not contain chlorine bleach.

Before attempting to clean any cap, test for colorfastness by applying a small amount of detergent and water to an inconspicuous area, then blot it with a white cloth. If any traces of dye appear on the cloth, it may not be safe to clean the cap.

Q: How do you remove crayon stains?

A: Has this ever happened to you? While taking your clothes out of the dryer, you notice they are covered with horrible colored stains. Upon closer inspection, you find leftover pieces of crayon in the dryer.

Crayon stains appear as built-up, shiny, stiff stains in a variety of colors. Normally, drying — not washing — will cause these types of stains. The heat from dryer melts the waxy crayon, resulting in stains on the garment.

These stains usually can be removed completely by using a solvent-based home stain-removal agent or running the garment through a dry-cleaning process. If any of the stains remain after cleaning, such as the color, they generally can be removed by your dry cleaner through traditional stain-removal procedures.

William E. Fisher is a board member of the FabriCare Foundation and is chief executive of the International Fabricare Institute in Laurel.

Chris Allsbrooks is an affiliate board member and spokeswoman for the FabriCare Foundation. She has 13 years’ experience as a textile analyst.

Send questions to: [email protected]

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide