Cleaning Cuffs and Collars - Care of Blouses, Shirts & Sweaters
The cuffs and collars are often the most noticeable part of a shirt, sweater or blouse. You might not always realize the importance of making these parts look great. But if they don't look great, I guarantee that the problems will be apparent.
What Can You Do To Help With Cuffs and Collars?
The cuffs and collars on any garment require extra care and attention. Collars become soiled from many different sources, including perspiration, body oil, hairspray, makeup and jewelery oxidation. Cuffs have the same problems but are mostly at risk from general soil.
On dark colored garments, soil problems may not become noticeable immediately. And often, people will delay washing these items or taking them to the dry cleaners for a week or two. But the longer the blouse, sweater or shirt remains soiled, the more difficult it is to remove the soil and safely return the garment to its original color and shade.
Perfume can cause its own problems with cuffs and collars. If left untreated, perfume will turn a blouse or sweater yellow over time from oxidation. When this happens, it is difficult to restore the blouse. You should dry clean a blouse very soon after wearing when exposed to perfume and other makeup. Make a habit of putting your makeup and perfume on before your shirt or blouse.
What are some of the other causes of soiled cuffs and collars? Eating can result in stains on a collar or cuffs, such as when you squeeze a lemon in your tea, take a bite of fruit, or (my favorite) dripping salsa on the way to your mouth.
Brushing your teeth also results in toothpaste splatter...so don't put that shirt or blouse on until after you have brushed your teeth.
Like makeup, applying harispray can also cause problems for your collars. Spray carefully and wrap a towell around your shoulders to protect the blouse.
Cleaning cuffs and collars on white cotton, polyester and linen fabrics is easier than on silk, rayon, wool and other specialty fabrics. Keep that in mind when selecting items to take to the dry cleaners. Get the special fabrics to the dry cleaner sooner rather than later. Or better yet. just them them all to the dry cleaner sooner rather than later.
Taking good care of cuffs and collars include the following suggestions:
- Inspect your collars and cuffs each night using bright lights. If stains and soil are apparent, put them in your priority stack to wash (if the item is machine washable) or to get to the dry cleaners.
- If you had a particularly bad day from perspiration, make these a priority, too.
- Point out to your dry cleaner any blouses, sweaters and shirts that you had on when using perfume even if there are no visible stains. In this way, the dry cleaner can spot it before cleaning and exposing the garment to heat from cleaning and finishing (pressing or steaming). Heat will often set a stain and make it impossible to remove.
- If you are inclined to hand wash your sweaters, blouses, shirts and shells, use a gentle soap like Woolite. Be sure to lay them flat or hang then to air dry. If soil lines are apparent, pre-spot them with soap and lightly scrub them with a SOFT brush. Never scrub silk and rayon.
- With silk items, keep in mind that oily stains like makeup and body oils may not be removed with just soap and water. In fact, they may need to be dry cleaned.
Cuff and collars need special attention to keep them looking their best. If you treat them right, then pre-spotting and washing or dry cleaning should be all that's needed.
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