Whether it was bestowed upon you as a gift or if you handpicked your own preferred design pattern, West African wax prints are beautiful fabrics cherished by their owners. For many years, the vibrant patterns that have been imbued within wax print fabrics have reflected the personalities of their wearers, have been designed to commemorate special occasions and, in recent years, have even begun to incorporate contemporary motifs. As such, it is only natural that you will want to maintain your wax print fabric patterns in the beautiful condition in which you first received them. To help you do so, our Empire Textiles team have created the following guide on how to carefully wash your wax print fabrics:
Testing your fabrics
Before washing any wax print fabrics 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 fabric 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 fabric has run onto it, then you will know that you will need to separate this particular fabric from your other contrasting wax print fabric patterns when they need to be washed.
Washing them yourself
When your wax print fabrics 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 never exceeds 30⁰C. Moreover, when you are cleaning your wax print fabrics you should separate them from your other clothing in order to prevent any unfortunate colour running incidents from occurring. Once washed, you should hang your wet wax print fabrics on a clothing line and secure them in place with plastic pegs or fasteners that will not leave marks. Once fully dry, you should iron each piece of wax print fabric; with the patterned side facing down while you are doing so.
Having them professionally cleaned
If you have a large quantity of wax print fabrics, or 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 cleaning company which you have chosen has previous experience washing West African fabrics such as wax prints. This is due to the fact that many regular dry cleaners do not possess the relevant expertise to care for your custom fabrics in the dedicated manner which they require.