You have rocked that Ankara wear to that party. You turned heads and had people telling you how good you look. After the sweat, drink and food spills and the journey home, you then remember that you need to keep the Ankara clean for another day.
You see, don’t get it twisted. The plethora of colours and patterns of that Ankara fabric of yours makes it irresistible yet tricky to maintain. This is where you learn to treat a fabric with utmost care.
Test for bleaching:
The first thing to consider before washing your print fabric is to test whether it’s bleaching or not. Here’s how you do it. Pour mild washing soap on a little portion of your fabric (the hem). Add water, then wash. If it removes colour, then it’s bleaching and must be separated from other fabrics.
Separate prints from others:
Anyways, it’s best to always separate prints from other fabrics when washing. Mixing and washing your Ankara with other fabrics might destroy other light coloured clothes incase your Ankara sheds some colours.
Mind the temperature:
Hand wash in cold or lukewarm water only. Should you decide to use the washer, turn off spin cycle and wash on mild cycle.
No harsh detergent:
Use mild bar soaps and avoid bleaches or detergents.
Use salt as sealant:
Toss your Ankara fabric into the wash with a tablespoon of salt. The chloride content of the salt will help seal the colour in. This also works for any fabric that lose colour during a wash.
Clean parts only:
Sometimes it is advice able to treat just area that needs to be treated, you don’t necessarily have to wash the whole of the material.
Use stain removal:
Stains are sometimes unavoidable. Try using baking soda or an alternative that is not as harsh as bleach to get rid of stains on your Ankara fabric.
Brush Ankara wrapped items:
You can use a brush to clean the handbag, laptop bag or shoe instead of complete washing.
Never squeeze or tumble dry:
After washing, hang the garments or lay them down to dry. Wringing or twisting them to dry will only compromise the rich colours of the fabric and cause them to fade quickly. Tumble dry is a no no.
Iron on moderate heat:
Most ankara fabrics are made of cotton, so the setting for cotton on your iron is appropriate. Be on the lookout for attachments made of linen and other more delicate fabrics which may require a lower setting. Iron from the inside of the garment.
Mind the dry cleaning:
Before handing over your fabric to a professional for dry cleaning, make sure the establishment has experiences with African print fabrics.
Please note that these fabrics can sometimes be stiff when you first get them, but they will soften with wear and washings and that’s why extra care is needed.
Whichever method you choose, note that if you treat the legendary Ankara anyhow, it loses its shine and you lose your fabric. So, hand washing or dry cleaning, we hope these tips will help keep your Ankara garment vibrant.