To be able to enjoy your favorite clothes for as long as possible, you have to take care of them. And this does not matter the material in which they were made.
This certainly applies to African print fabrics like those found in our dresses, blazers and other products.
That's why we want to share with you some maintenance tips to enjoy your favorite clothes for a lifetime.
African print fabric is made from cotton which is an all-weather fabric; it is both breathable and insulating, keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter. Cotton is gentle; its natural fibres do not irritate sensitive skin. Cotton is strong; it has a high tensile strength that makes it less likely to tear. Its tensile strength increases when wet which allows cotton clothes to hold their shape after many washes.
HOW TO WASH AFRICAN PRINT CLOTHES
To clean your Ankara clothing you can dry-clean, hand wash or machine wash.
The best care for any clothing is to gently hand wash it but using a washing machine works just as well.
For hand washing, we recommend that you:
- Turn clothing inside out
- Use lukewarm or cold water
- Use a mild detergent or bar soap
- (Optional) Add fabric softener and leave to soak. You will only need this if you want to soften clothing that is made entirely of Ankara - e.g. our Tema dress. However, our dresses are already quite a soft cotton!
- Rinse thoroughly after washing
Be gently with your clothes, to avoid damaging the cotton or dyes;
- Do not use really hot water
- Do not rub or wring out the material
- Do not use bleach or other harsh chemicals
- Don’t over-wash, if the whole material doesn’t need cleaning then only treat the areas that do
For machine washing, we recommend that you:
- Turn your clothing inside out
- Set the temperature to 30°C or lower
- Use a mild detergent
- (Optional) Add fabric softener. You will only need this if you want to soften clothing that is made entirely of Ankara
- (Optional) Run the spin cycle. This is not ideal for clothing made entirely of Ankara, but is fine for clothing that incorporates elements of Ankara fabric e.g. our dresses.
HOW TO DRY AFRICAN PRINT CLOTHES
You can air dry or tumble dry your Ankara. We are definitely team air-dry; it is much gentler for your clothes and will also save on your electricity bills. Talk about a win-win!
For fast air-drying, we recommend that you:
- Hang your clothing in a well-ventilated space, this can be done indoors or outdoors on a drying rack or clothes line
- Spread out each item, and leave space between different items, to allow proper air circulation
- Place clothes near a fan or a radiator to air-dry more quickly
- Use a coat hanger to maintain the shape of tops and dresses
Do not dry in direct sunlight or directly on a heat source such as a radiator, as this can cause the material to shrink or colours to fade.
Air drying isn’t always practical if you don’t have the space or time, using a tumble dryer is also possible. However, do not be tempted to throw your garments in on a hot and quick cycle no matter how much of a hurry you are in. The excessive heat and friction of the tumble dryer will damage the dye making your wax prints look old quickly.
If you tumble dry your clothes ensure that you;
- Set the heat to low (some machines have a Delicate or Gentle cycle)
- Do not over-dry to prevent ageing your clothing
HOW TO IRON AFRICAN PRINT CLOTHES
Before wearing Ankara you may want to smooth out wrinkles or sharpen pleats. You can iron Ankara damp or dry. Making use of steam is an easy way to make quick work of it.
For steam ironing, we recommend that you;
- Use a sturdy ironing board
- Use a clean iron (too many times have we instantly ruined clothes)
- Use the cotton setting
- Spray with water. This will help quicken the process when ironing dry Ankara
- Use steam to smooth
HOW TO STORE AFRICAN PRINT CLOTHES
To prevent folds and wrinkles in your Ankara fabric use clothes hangers when storing in a closet.
Like all clothes, Ankara is best kept in a cool, dry and dark place like a wardrobe or trunk.