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Basic Care Instructions #6: Outerwear

 

 

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BASIC CARE INSTRUCTIONS  #6

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This is #6 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 outerwear: coats, jackets, and vests. Sport coats and suit jackets are covered (pun intended) separately in next week's newsletter. The information here is 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.  

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The instructions I'm giving you here for the care of outerwear may seem complicated, however with patience and attention to detail, I believe you'll be rewarded by preserving the quality, comfort and fit of your favorite garments.

To begin with, four considerations dictate care:
1. The outer fabric
2. The lining (the inner fabric)
3. The insulation (the padding behind the inner fabric)
4. The finish (the outside fabric coating)

Many garments today also have special fasteners, and these can be of a variety of materials including but not limited to metal, velcro, snaps, and plastics. The care instructions here are conservative and will most likely also be suitable for whatever fasteners the manufacturer chose to use. Remember, if there is a care label, read it and follow the instructions on it. 

To help you determine care for your particular coat or garment, I've provided you with instructions by specific garment type and by garment component. The listings below are alphabetized so you can find specifics easier.  Please note that leather and suede care is dealt with separately; they have their own care section.
 

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Down Filled Coats, Jackets, and Vests


Down Filled Coats, Jackets, and Vests:

Professionally dry clean
- OR -
Hand wash.

If you get caught in the rain wearing a down-filled garment, the natural oils in the plumes tend to repel water, so your coat, jacket, or vest will look a lot wetter on the outside than it is on the inside.  Getting wet does not hurt down, as long as it is properly dried within a reasonable period of time. If this is not done, down can rot. Be warned: DON'T PROCRASTINATE. 

For more information on caring for down garments, see 170226 Suit Yourself™ International Newsletter Basic Care Instructions #2 Blankets, Sheets, Towels, Down Comforters.

Down filled items can either be washed or dry cleaned. Whatever method you use, you must be sure that the down coat, jacket, or vest is very clean when the process is over. Otherwise, the down filling will not reloft properly and the down will lose its' insulating ability. If it does NOT reloft properly, have it recleaned AT ONCE.

Note: If your down coat, jacket, or vest is too bulky for your home washers and dryer, we recommend you deal with them using the oversized machines found at most laundromats.

Down filled clothing should NOT be washed or dry cleaned too frequently.  Keep them fresh by airing them out in summer, preferably after a thunderstorm when the air is full of ozone (how's that for an unusual tip!). You see, ozone restores the lanolin around the down, which in return restores the down (one good turn deserves another!).

To spot clean a down coat, jacket or vest, soak the area in a very mild detergent until as much of the spot can be removed as possible. Resist like the plague the temptation to rub that spot! Let it dry in a medium to warm temperature.

When washing down filled clothing,  use mild detergent and water not hotter than 95 degrees Fahrenheit. When transferring the down coat, jacket, or vest from the washer to the dryer, LIFT IT;  do not pull it! Wet down is very heavy.

Helpful Tip: Dry thoroughly at low heat, and put a pair of canvas sneakers or tennis balls into the dryer at the same time, to reloft the down during the drying process. Before storing the down coat, jacket, or vest, be sure it is completely dry!  Otherwise the down can rot.

Never ever store down filled items in plastic bags. Down needs a 'breathable' fabric container and storage in a dry place.
 

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Fleece

Fleece that is predominately POLYESTER as  Fleece-LINED Coats, Jackets, and Vests:
Machine wash separately in cool or warm water using the delicate cycle. Use only non-chlorine bleach when needed. Tumble dry at low heat setting but remove promptly from the dryer.
- OR -
Dry clean.

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Fleece that is predominately COTTON as Fleece-Lined Coats, Jackets, and Vests:
Machine wash separately in cool water using the delicate cycle. Do not bleach. Air dry or tumble dry at low heat setting but remove promptly from the dryer.
- OR -
Dry clean.

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Fleece that is predominately Polartec Or Similar "Fleece" Polyester, as the outer fabric:
Machine wash in cold water using the delicate cycle. Wash separately. Use only non-chlorine bleach when needed.Tumble dry at low heat setting. Remove promptly from the dryer.
- OR -
Dry clean.

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Gore-tex 

Gore-tex Down:
DO NOT DRY CLEAN. Machine wash warm, NOT hot. Use a mild POWDERED soap. Use only non-chlorine bleach when needed. Tumble dry warm. DO NOT DRIP DRY. If ironing is desired, use a warm iron setting.

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Gore-tex Polypropylene:
Machine wash in cold water with a POWDERED detergent. Rinse THOROUGHLY. Any remaining trace of detergent left on the fabric will affect its' rain resistance. Hang to dry. Do not tumble dry. If ironing is desired, use a warm iron setting.

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Gore-tex Shell Only:
Machine wash in cold water with a POWDERED detergent. Rinse THOROUGHLY. Any remaining trace of detergent left on the fabric will affect its' rain resistance. Tumble dry on a low heat setting. Use only non-chlorine bleach when needed.
- OR -
Dry clean.

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Nylon

Nylon:
Machine wash in cool water using the delicate cycle. Use only non-chlorine bleach when needed. Wash separately. Tumble dry at low heat setting. If ironing is desired, use only cool to warm iron settings.

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Nylon Anoraks, Coats, Jackets, and Vests:
Machine wash separately in cool or warm water using the delicate cycle. Use only non-chlorine bleach when needed. Tumble dry at low heat setting but remove promptly from the dryer.  If ironing is desired, use a warm or cool iron setting.
- OR -
Dry clean.


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Nylon Mountain Parkas:
Machine wash in warm water on a gentle cycle. Use only non-chlorine bleach when needed. Tumble dry on low; do not wring or twist. If ironing is desired, use a warm iron setting.

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Poplin, Polypropylene, Polartec and similar "Fleece" Polyester
 

Poplin:
Machine wash in warm water. Use only non-chlorine bleach when needed. Tumble dry at low heat setting. Do not twist or wring.
- OR -
Dry clean.

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Polypropylene Alone:
Machine wash in cold water. Line dry. Do not tumble dry.

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Polartec And Similar "Fleece" Polyester:
Machine wash in cold water using the delicate cycle. Wash separately. Use only non-chlorine bleach when needed. Tumble dry at low heat setting. Remove promptly from the dryer.
- OR -
Dry clean.


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Ramar, Thinsulate, and Ultrex

Ramar:
Machine wash separately on the delicate cycle in cool or warm water. Use only non-chlorine bleach when needed. Tumble dry at low heat setting. Remove promptly from the dryer.
- OR -
Dry clean.

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Thinsulate:
Machine wash in warm water using the delicate cycle. Tumble dry low. Do not steam press.
- OR -
Dry clean.

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Ultrex:
Machine wash in cold water using the gentle cycle. Use only non-chlorine bleach when needed. Tumble dry on low; do not wring or twist. If ironing is desired, use a warm iron setting.

 


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Wool and Woven Fabric with natural fiber fabric components

Wool: 
Professionally dry clean and don't even consider anything else!


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Woven Fabric with natural fiber fabric components, styles such as Matterhorn, Pea Coats, 3/4 Coats,  Jackets, and Vests:
Dry clean only.

 

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

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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.
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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.

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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.
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