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Care of special garments

Some garments or materials require special care unlike cotton materials which are easy to care for.

A. Sponging/pressing
Most garments that require dry cleaning can be sponged to keep them fresh and give a brighter appearance. Cleaning agents for sponging should be selected to suit the colour and type of dirt.

Below are some cleaning agents suitable for sponging.

i. Use dark blue water for newly blue woollens.
ii. For black and dark coloured materials, use 15 ml of vinegar and 60 ml of warm water.
iii. Light coloured fabrics: 15ml water to1 teaspoonful of ammonia and 1 teaspoon of vinegar.
iv. Grease soiled fabrics: grease solvents or 125 ml water NHCL, dilute soap or solvent of teaspoonful soapless detergent to 125 ml of water.


i. Identify the types of fabric.
ii. Empty the pockets of the garment.
iii. Brush and shake out the garment in the open air to get rid of dust and fluff. A small portable vacuum cleaner could be used to suck out the fluff and dirt.
iv. Place the article on a clean flat surface.
v. Apply the solution evenly to the right side of the article, rubbing lightly with either a piece of material similar to that being sponged or with a muslin.
vi. Inspect closely for any stain and treat according to type.
vii. Hang out to dry.
viii. Finish by pressing on the wrong side, using an iron temperature suitable for the fabric being treated.

B. Dry cleaning
Dry cleaning is an effective method of cleaning articles such as blankets, quilts, belts, hats, handbags and other articles that cannot be subjected to ordinary washing. It is a method of cleaning fabrics in liquids that act as grease solvents and powder, which act as grease absorbents. When a material or its furnishings can be damaged by washing in water, dry cleaning agents are best and most appropriate to be used.

Some dry cleaning agents are

i. Absorbents, magnesium carbonate, fullers earth, commercial dry cleaning powder. They are useful for removing grease spot(s) from all types of fabric or even soiled ones.
ii. Grease solvents like carbon tetrachloride, benzene, etc. They are quite expensive and may only be suitable for oily spotting.

General method
When using inflammable solvents, for example, carbon tetrachloride:

i. Shake and brush the garment to remove loose dirt.
ii. Clean by squeezing in solvent or apply with sponge or soft brush.
iii. Squeeze out any excess solvent from the garment.
iv. Hang up to dry and air.
v. Press material as soon as dry.

Solvents may be inflammable and/or toxic, and must be used in well-ventilated places away from naked flames.

C. Home dyeing
Home dyeing is a method of renovating garments and household articles that have become faded through washing or wearing. There is a great attraction in home dyeing when simple rules are observed. Colours of garments of household finishing may have faded unevenly, or one may also be tired of the same shade in one’s garment and desire to change the colour.

The different methods of home dyeing are

i. Tying and dyeing.
ii. Sewing and dyeing.
iii. Batik method.