Dear Home-Ec 101,
I’m making my husband a velveteen cloak for Halloween, and it’s already got cat hair all over it just from measuring and cutting the fabric. Can I throw it in the washing machine, or does it have to be dry cleaned?
Hairy in Hailey
Velveteen, whether made from cotton or synthetic fibers is a very persnickety material. Due to the manufacturing process, it isn’t very colorfast (the dye will often bleed with normal use) AND the pile -the velvety side is very easily damaged.
To get rid of the cat hair get yourself a lint brush and brush only in the direction that the material feels smooth. This is referred to as “with the nap.”
If you have stains or dirt to remove from the velveteen, take it to a professional dry cleaner. In a pinch, you can spot clean a velveteen article with a solvent cleaner like what you would find in the Dryel or Woolite home dry cleaning kits, but be very careful. Spot test the solvent first and follow the manufacturer’s directions to the letter.
Hang your velveteen, do not throw it on the floor or fold it.
If your velveteen material becomes wrinkled, do not iron it.
You can steam it carefully to remove the wrinkles, but you have to use an exceptionally light hand to avoid crushing and permanently damaging the fabric. If you must press your husband’s cloak before this weekend, cover your ironing board with another piece of velveteen. (I’m assuming you do not have access to a needle board) Make sure that the fabric covering your ironing board is pile side up. Place the piece you would like to press pile side down.
You can only press velveteen from the wrong side, the other piece of fabric will help keep you from crushing the pile of the fabric. Use the lowest steam temperature possible and try not to actually touch the fabric.
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