Back

Basic Care Instructions #3: Accessories & Spring Cleaning

 

 

****

BASIC CARE INSTRUCTIONS  #3

****

 

This is #3 in a series of newsletters on common care instructions for domestic items and materials most often seen in antique and vintage textiles, including but not limited to housewares and clothing. I hope this care information is helpful to you.

You may well know a lot more about the care of domestic items than I can tell you here, but it's nice to have all this information in one place. So at the risk of boring you, this newsletter goes into some detail.

This newsletter covers accessories: belts, gloves, scarves, mufflers, ties, and SPOT REMOVAL. It's basic information relevant to all fiber. Future issues will cover cotton and silk knits, outerwear, sweaters, shoes, trousers, jackets, fine leather goods, and lingerie. 

See our issue BASIC CARE INSTRUCTIONS #1 for information on how to read care labels you may find on vintage fabrics (and you should follow them if you do find them!). All previous newsletters in the series can be found in our library and in the newsletter archives.  

****

Like cake frosting, the accessories you wear with clothing add individuality, spirit and what the intellectuals call 'panache' to your appearance. They can also be political statements.  Keeping accessories in ship-shape condition is not only important, it's a true labor of love.  Fortunately, it is also fairly easy. Here's how:

****

Belts 

If they're FABRIC, use a good spot cleaner and follow directions!

If they're LEATHER, clean with saddle soap, then polish with creme polish.

 

****

Buttons

Many modern buttons are sayings printed on paper, encased under a plastic cover and affixed to a metal pin back. The metal will rust over time if not cared for, and the plastic can yellow from oxidation and lift off or become brittle and crack.  I store buttons in the freezer, clipped inside paper file folders. The cold stalls the oxidation. If you really don't want the metal to rust, or the plastic to yellow as quickly as it otherwise might,  coat them with a thin coat of clear nail polish and let that dry. Applying a coat of clear nail polish lacquer forms a barrier between the metal or plastic and the oxygen in the surrounding air that's interacting with them, and causing them to oxidize i.e. rust, become brittle, or discolor ('oxidation').

 

****

Gloves

If they're LEATHER, clean with saddle soap. If you're tempted to use mink oil or other oil-based conditioners, be aware that they will darken the color slightly.
 

If they're WOOL (with leather), wash only when you really need to, and in cold water with very mild soap. Rinse, dry flat, away from heat. Saddle soap will restore the leather.

Tip: Wear the gloves while washing them, and take them off your hands carefully then lay them flat to dry away from heat. They may seem a little tight when you first put them back on, however remember that leather is skin, and it stretches just like yours. Suede is the underside of leather, so ditto.
 

 

 

****

Scarves and Mufflers

Preferably, dry clean them. Or, if you're going to wash them, wash them BY HAND in cold water, in mild detergent.Do not REPEAT NOT! wring or twist. Lay them flat to dry away from heat. 

Note: Dry cleaning tends to flatten the hand-rolled edge of a great handmade hand sewn scarf, so I suggest you avoid this method. 

 

****

Ties

Once upon a time, dry cleaners took ties apart, cleaned them and then restitched them. GAK. This is the only way to truly clean a tie. And if you find someone who still does this, please let us know.

Meanwhile, spot cleaning is your only option (other than going tie-less, of course!). Dry cleaning tends to flatten the hand-rolled edge of a great handmade tie, so I suggest you avoid this method. 

Always, REPEAT, ALWAYS store your tie UNTIED. Don't store it with a knot tied in it.  It may save you a few moments to slip your knotted tie over your head and hang it on a hook BUT it will permanently cause the 'dimple' of the knot to remain forever.

 

 

****

SPOT REMOVAL

****

****

SPOT REMOVAL: Men's Ties 

1.  Water Spots On Silk:
First let dry. Then douse the narrower tail of the tie in reputable spot remover and rub briskly over the spot in the direction of the weave. "They", whoever they are, say the edge of a clean all-silver coin works, too. You could try it.

2. Tough Spots:
Touch spots can be loosened with steam before applying the above method.

3. Knit Ties:
Knit ties may be hand washed in lukewarm water with a mild detergent.  Dry flat, never hang. The weight of the water could wind up stretching the tie, and giving you a tie six feet long.
Store knit ties ROLLED to avoid stretching them.

****

****

SPOT REMOVAL: Ladies' Scarves and Ties 

Ladies scarves and ties, when storing,  should be given the same gentle care as men's ties. When cleaning is needed, either:

1. Hand wash or spot clean as explained above, 
- OR -
2. Professionally dry clean.  Your accessories are less subject to the dry cleaning problems I noted for men's ties above.

 

****

One Last Note About LEATHER:

NEVER, and I mean NEVER, put a self-adhesive sticker (like a label or price sticker) directly onto leather, suede, or any type of skin. Skin is inherently layered porous material, it needs to breath, and will react chemically to any type of adhesive, even the supposedly innocuous and purportedly harmless gum arabic that is the base for the adhesive on most sales stickers used at yard sales. Anything 'stuck' to skin will stain it, and removing the sticker will lift off and remove any surface gold leaf, color, or other decoration. Don't store skin in plastic because it could rot; it needs clean, dry, ventilated storage, such as a fabric shoe bag, but even a paper bag will do in a pinch and is better than plastic. FYI.
 

****

In short, have fun with accessories and take care of them. After all, you're a "picture worth a thousand words"!

****

****

I sign these newsletters "See Into The Invisible". Thanks for reading.

Best Wishes, 
Debra Spencer

All Content is © Debra Spencer, Suit Yourself™ International. Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.
Top
All Content is ©2019 Debra Spencer, Appanage™at www.suityourself.international Suit Yourself ™ International, 120 Pendleton Point, Islesboro Island, Maine, 04848, USA 44n31 68w91 Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.

Read Our Magazine! A Fortune Cookie Once A Week.

Enter your e-mail address to receive our magazine.
Email
Country
Please enter a valid email address.
Email address already subscribed.
All Content is ©2019 Debra Spencer, Appanage™at www.suityourself.international Suit Yourself ™ International, 120 Pendleton Point, Islesboro Island, Maine, 04848, USA 44n31 68w91 Technical Library FAQ Index ISSN 2474-820X. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce in part or in whole without express written consent. Thank you.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. ~ Winston Churchill