'I just love your African print clothes, but how do I wash them?’
So while we are all busy rocking our African Prints, you'd agree that we have challenges maintaining their radiance, not forgetting the complicated embroidery, lace, zips and buttons they are sometimes designed with.
Most of our RKM garments are made from African Wax Print fabrics and hand-dyed African batiks which are 100% cotton. Outfits made from such fabrics have a tendency to shrink depending on how they are cared for. We advise that you follow the recommended care instructions in order to get the best out of your RKM products.
TESTING YOUR FABRIC
Before washing any wax print garments you should first test them to determine their colour-fast properties. You can do so by wetting a piece of white fabric, placing it over your wax print garment and ironing over both pieces until they are fully dry. If you lift the dry white fabric and some of the colour from your wax print garment has run onto it, then you will know that you will need to separate this particular garment from your other garments.
WASHING THE GARMENTS YOURSELF
When your wax print garments need cleaning, the most efficient method is to place them in a washing machine with mild detergent and to select a non-spin cycle that does not exceed 30⁰C. Once washed, you should hang your wet wax print garments on a clothing line. Once fully dry, you can iron each garment with the patterned side facing down while you are doing so.
It is usually not a good idea to machine wash your African garments but if you need to, you must consider if it runs colour, the type of embellishment and the type of fabric used. You can use the method stated above to check if it runs colour first before washing it with other clothes.
Bear in mind that washing your African clothing in the washing machine could easily fade the fabric, hence reducing its longevity. It would probably be safe to use lukewarm temperatures when machine washing your outfit.
For when you need to wash, gently hand wash and as much as possible, avoid using harsh detergents.
If you are concerned about washing these precious garments yourself, then you can arrange to have them professionally cleaned. However, you should always check that the particular dry cleaners which you have chosen has previous experience washing African garments such as wax prints or hand-dyed African batiks. This is due to the fact that many regular dry cleaners do not possess the relevant expertise to care for your custom African garments in the dedicated manner which they require.
IRONING THE GARMENTS
Like every other outfit, it is important to know the type of fabric that is being ironed. Most African clothing fabrics are made of cotton. Others may be lace, voile, linen etc. If you are not sure which temperature to use, you can try the different temperatures by ironing a small unremarkable part of it first or sometimes inside out is best.
- Hang to dry
- Iron on the wrong side using the setting for Cotton, or use cooler settings.
- If machine washing, do it at no more than 30 degrees Celsius
- Hand wash in luke-warm water is also recommended
- Test your fabric first if you wish to mix it with other garments during washing
- Warm machine wash
- Do not bleach
- Do not soak
- Line dry on reverse away from direct sunlight
- Do not tumble dry or use spin cycle