Nothing gets me more irritated than a beautiful piece of costly fabric that fades within a short period of time.Sometimes we blame the manufacturers of the fabric, not realizing that we are the cause (though not entirely).
If you are into the sewing business or very observant, you would realize that some clothes fade, while others run (otherwise called washing). Most times, as a fashion designer, I test fabrics before I go ahead to use them to mass produce. To check if a fabric is washing; cut a piece of the fabric, add a little detergent and water, put it inside a white cloth and squeeze. If the white cloth comes out white, then it is a quality fabric, and will last; it won’t run or wash. Otherwise, I suggest you don’t go ahead using it.
Most times people think that the reason for the fading of Ankara fabrics is as a result of the quality of the fabric. Well, you may be right, but not entirely right. The durability of a fabric or apparel is not solely dependent on its quality but on its use.
Fading of clothes reduce the quality, attraction, colour and beauty of fashion.
This is not only limited to Ankara clothes, you can try it out on any cloth and see the stunning result.
Ensure that you apply cautiously.
1. Avoid Washing with Hot Water
Whether it’s a plain Ankara fabric or a floral one, try as much as possible to avoid washing with hot water. Why? The reason is that hot water has a high temperature and very high tendency of destroying the dyes in the Ankara fabric. Most Ankara fabrics are made from cotton. The cotton is usually dyed to give it a unique concept and colour. This dye is not to be subjected to high temperatures.
We may feel that washing with hot water ensures that all the germs in the clothing would be killed, and that cold water won’t do any magic. Well, hot water not only kills the germs, it also kills the dye and finally causes your clothing to fade quickly.
Disabuse the use of hot water in the washing of your clothes. Use more of cold water.
2. Always turn inside out if using a washing machine
This is a very crucial step to take if you are using a washing machine for your clothes. Always ensure that you turn the inside of the clothes out before washing with the machine. This is because the spinning action of the machine subjects the cloth under high pressure. It will be better and more precise if the pressure only affects the inside of the fabric (which is normally covered with linen). This will prevent the colour from fading quickly and ensure that the dye is not affected by the spinning-action of the machine.
Next time you decide to use a machine to wash your clothes, remember “Turn the inside Out”. It won’t take more than 3 seconds you know.
3. Sort your clothes
It would be quite absurd to wash your outing clothes together with your apron. Even if you are tired and just feel like dumping the whole clothes in the machine, or into the water; think again and try sorting them out. Ensure that you separate light clothes from dark ones before washing. If you are washing only white clothes, try as much as possible not to include any other coloured fabrics, to avoid stories that touch. After sorting your clothes avoid using the “heavy wash” button on the machine, if your cloth is not that dirty.
4. Avoid Washing Frequently
You shouldn’t dump your Ankara cloth in the laundry every time, after wearing it. Avoid frequent washing of your Ankara fabrics. The reason is that too much exposure of the dyes in the Ankara clothes to the detergent will cause it to wear off quickly. You can spread your clothing on a line to air-dry it if it is not very dirty. This is an effective way to avoid washing it. Nevertheless, if you have perspired on the Ankara fabric earlier, I’d advise that you wash it to prevent unwanted odour and ensure you look spick and span.
5. Vinegar can do a little magic; Avoid Bleaching
Most often we get a little stain here or there on our Ankara fabrics, and the next thing you think of is “Hypo”. Well, after applying hypo (bleach) to your favourite Ankara dress, you might end up learning from experience. In order to prevent that do not bleach coloured fabrics. Apply bleaching agents to only white fabrics, if necessary. Nonetheless, the application of vinegar to your water before washing can do a little trick. Whether white or coloured please ensure that you dilute it very well, to avoid smelling like a salad.
Also ensure you disinfect your washing machine, at least once a month by adding vinegar and baking soda to the empty wash cycle.
6. Use mild detergents
As much as you can, avoid using harsh detergents to wash your Ankara clothes. The harsh chemicals in these detergents react with the dye in the clothes, causing it to peel and wear off. This makes your Ankara apparels fade quickly. If you want to wash your Ankara fabric, ensure that you use mild detergents or a bar soap.
7. Don’t leave Your Ankara Fabrics in the sun for too long
Exposure of any cotton to extreme temperatures reduces its quality and durability. In other to get maximum satisfaction and use from your Ankara clothes, ensure that you don’t leave it in the sun for too long. If possible, spread it under a shade. I personally prefer air-drying to sun-drying. Also, ensure that you avoid over-drying your Ankara clothes in a dryer.
8. Add salt
Yes! Add salt. Those tiny white crystals are not only used for cooking, or for killing centipedes. You can apply them to your water before washing. This gives a significant improvement to your clothes. It ensures that they stay constantly coloured. This is because the chlorine contained in the salt absorbs the dye; and when it is applied to the water, it is absorbed by your cloth, thereby ensuring that the dyes and prints stay in place.
9. Avoid Buying Cheap Ankara Fabrics; Buy Quality Ones.
This is the most important of all the steps listed above. Try as much as possible to avoid buying cheap Ankara fabrics. The motive of many individuals is just to make money. In order to accomplish this, they take out a white piece of fabric, mix it with homemade dyes, and distribute it to the market, at cheap prices. They don’t care about quality. Try as much as possible to invest your money into Good quality fabrics, despite their price.
It may surprise you to note that if you are faulty in performing at least 5 of the steps above, your Ankara apparels may not last as long as you expected.
One more tip: Avoid buying paper-like Ankara fabrics. Once you touch them, and they feel like paper, I’ll advise that you don’t go ahead purchasing it. Ankara fabrics are meant to feel like cotton and not paper. Most of these paper-like Ankara fabrics often run (wash) and fade.
Credit: FEZU Couture – Best Fashion Training Institute, Port Harcourt
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