Care: Sequins and Feathers
HOW TO CLEAN SEQUINS AND FEATHERS
For when you want to look like a disco ball without any funky body-odor smell.
Photo: The House of CO-KY
Nothing says “I’m going to a special event” like an outfit covered in fun textures. But an unfortunate byproduct of wearing things that make you feel extra glamorous is that those things are often the trickiest to clean. For example, if you bring a floor-length sequin-encrusted dress to Burning Man, you may feel super glamorous while dancing with other Burners on the playa. But that will be followed by a decidedly un-glamorous feeling if you try to rid said dress of desert dust by putting it in the washing machine upon your return to civilization, because washing machines turn sequins into tarnished, glitter-residue-trailing disks of sadness.
To help you avoid a situation like the above, which is definitely something that some of us can relate to, here are a few tips for cleaning some of your trickiest fancy clothes. (Note: When in doubt over a particularly prized piece of clothing, a professional cleaning job is never a bad investment. Clean your own clothes at your own risk.)
If you’re just looking to remove body-odor (such as armpit area odor) or sand dunes dust-type dirtiness, fill a tub or sink full of lukewarm water and stir in mild laundry soap or, preferably, a dye free one until it’s dissolved. Then add your sequined item of clothing and swirl it gently in the water before letting it soak for about five minutes. Remove from the tub and rinse in cold water until all the soap comes out. If you’re dealing with a stain on one part of the garment, you can spot-treat it with a gentle stain remover before putting it in the tub. Do so by dabbing (rather than rubbing) at the area with the stain to avoid breaking the threads that affix the sequins to fabric.
Once you’ve taken it out of the water, hold the garment above a sink or tub to let it drip for a few minutes — do not give in to the temptation to wring it out! — then lay it flat on a towel to dry. The towel may absorb quite a bit of liquid, so switching it out once it gets saturated can help speed up the drying process.
Don’t hang the garment up until it’s completely dry, unless you want to risk it becoming misshapen from the extra water weight. Patience is the name of the game.
If you’re mostly looking to banish an unwanted odor from a feather-covered garment (think our gorgeous looking Britney Feather Dress), try storing it in a garment bag or pillowcase with a few fresh dryer sheets for a day or two.
If your feathers absolutely need washing, remember that feather dye is not colorfast – yes, most colored feathers are dyed! - so you should only wash feathers of the same color together and in lukewarm water!
To do so, dissolve liquid dish soap (or dye free detergent) in water and swirl the garment in the mixture. Handling the feathers as gently as you can, remove the garment from the water and rinse the soap out. While some feathers respond well to being air-dried, long skinny ones (like the ostrich feathers often used on party dresses) may look somewhat shriveled unless you use a blow-dryer set on low and cool to dry them.
Feathers of all kinds tend to get dried out and sad-looking over time even if you’ve never gotten them wet, so using a steamer to add moisture, and fluffing them with your hands is a good way to give them a quick refresh. You can also use a blow-dryer in a low and cool setting, this will fluff the feathers and allow them to flutter & delight as it was intended.