Prior to trying any of the below, we recommend you refer to our washing instructions that are sewn into the side seam or back neck seam of all garments.
We highly recommend to never dry your garment in the clothes dryer as static is created and it will cause your garments to pill or get covered in lint from other items in the dryer. We recommend hanging them over an air dryer.
Black Garments:Did your black garment get covered in lint or fluff from another item of clothing? Just add white vinegar to the rinse cycle in your washing machine (instead of fabric softener). It removes all lint and makes clothes smell nice and feel great.
Dresses (Day):It is best to do the zips up prior to washing. If the dress has a blind hem (similar to hand-stitching), hand wash would be preferable to machine wash.
Dresses (Evening):Many evening dresses are manufactured in polyester, chiffon or georgette, which handwash well. Check first to ensure that the lining is also polyester. If the lining is acetate, there is a risk of shrinkage in the lining. Beaded areas on evening dresses should be treated very carefully. When the dress is gently handwashed, it should be placed on a towel (do not wring water out), then rolled up and set around the inside of the washing machine bowl on its own (inside the towel). Allow the machine to spin for a couple of minutes. Gently remove the dress from the towel and lay over a clothes horse to dry.
Final Tip:Use a well washed towel that will not transfer towel fibres to the dress.
No-Nos when Washing a Garment
No-No #1: Sprinkling the washing powder on your clothes like sugar on cornflakes.
Many powders contain bleaches and brighteners, and if the top garment in your machine captures a bubble of air, the powder could bleach spots or streak marks in the garment. Always make sure the powder is dissolved.
No-No #2Washing or dry-cleaning fabric covered belts.
Fabric covered belts should be sponged clean with as little water as possible.
No-No #3Putting a garment in the tumble dryer.;
Never tumble dry a garment unless the label says it’s okay. Tumble dryers are the most efficient destroyer of garments that are not designed to be tumble-dried. The tumble dryer will cause your knit fabrics to pill.
No-No #4 Leaving garments on the line all day in blazing sunlight.
The only consolation here is that they will fade on one side only, not both. Silk should always be dried in the shade.
No-No #5 Using only cold water for washing.
Cold water is best as it washes well and is great for your clothes. Hot water can cause shrinkage when you least expect it!
A few smart tips
- Baby wipes: very efficient at removing make-up and lipstick stains.
- Spray and Wipe: an efficient stain remover for clothing….just “spray and wipe!”
- Methylated Spirits: excellent for removing grease or oil stains. Make sure you pat dry with a rag or you will leave a “cleaning ring” on the garment.
A-Z of Common Stains
Adhesive labels: For garments that wash, soak the label area and then wash as usual. For garments that do not wash, Methylated spirits or eucalyptus oil will often dissolve the adhesive. The eucalyptus oil may need to be gently sponged out with water.
Ballpoint pen: Dab the area continually with methylated spirits using a clean tea towel or paper towel. After treatment, rinse or wash garment as usual. Sometimes ballpoint stain can be removed from polyester with hairspray.
Beer: Rinse garment under cold tap and wash as per washing instructions. If you cannot wash, rinse garment and take out excess water with a towel or similar.
Beetroot: Rinse stain immediately and work a little bit of detergent into the stain. Then rinse and wash or clean as normal.
Blood: Do not allow blood to dry out as it will be extremely difficult to remove. When blood is on a garment, swab immediately with cold water. A little bit of salt will also help. Swab and rinse until the stain cannot be seen. Then clean as normal.
Butter: Remove as much as you can with a scraper. Then put paper towelling over the remaining stain and use a warm iron to draw the butter into the towel. A warm wash of the garment will usually now clean the remaining traces of butter away.
Candle-Wax: Use ice-cubes or place garment in the freezer to harden wax, which can then usually be peeled off. Remaining wax should have paper towelling placed over the top and use a warm iron to draw the remaining wax into the towel. Methylated spirits will also dissolve some of the wax.
Chewing gum: Chill the gum with ice-cubes or place garment in the freezer to harden the gum which can then be broken or peeled off. Methylated spirits is useful for removing any remains.
Chocolate: Same as for Chewing gum.
Coffee: Soak garment immediately in water and detergent. Let stand for half an hour, then wash. If fabric will withstand boiling water, pouring this water through the stain will also help.
Cola: Wash immediately.
Cosmetics: Sponge stain with Methylated spirits until colour is removed. Then wash in normal manner. Baby wipes are also useful in removing make-up and lipstick.
Cream: Remove excess cream. Use Methylated spirit to remove residue, then wash as usual.
Deodorants: For discoloured underarm stains, sponge on a rich solution of water and detergent. Allow this to sit for several hours, after which the garments should be washed in hot water.
Fat: For cold fat, remove excess then wipe with methylated spirits. Garments should then be soaked in detergent solution and washed.
Fruit Stains: Soak immediately in cold salty water / soda water. Stain must be removed before washing. Rub detergent into stain then wash.
Grass stains: Soak in detergent / water or use eucalyptus oil or methylated spirit to remove stain then wash as normal.
Meat Juices: (As for Blood) Do not allow blood to dry out as it will be extremely difficult to remove. When blood is on a garment, swab immediately with cold water. A little bit of salt will also help. Swab and rinse until the stain cannot be seen. Then clean as normal.
Milk: Rinse garment immediately under a cold tap. Then soak garment in water with detergent. Wash in cool water.
Nail Polish: This is difficult to remove, however some success can be achieved if you use Methylated spirit immediately. When stain is removed, wash as normal.
Paint: Once paint is dry, it is extremely difficult to remove. Work on stain while paint is still wet. For oil-based paints swab on mineral turpentine to remove stain, then use Methylated spirits to remove the mineral turpentine. For acrylic paints (water soluble) use hot water swabs to remove paint. Then wash as normal.
Poo: Remove excess then sponge with liquid detergent and water. A touch of vinegar will help with the smell. Then wash as normal.
Shoe Polish: Many shoe polishes are difficult to remove however try to scrape off as much of it as possible. Apply mineral turpentine on the stain. Then remove the turpentine with a warm detergent solution or Methylated spirit. Rinse and wash after treatment as usual.
Urine: Stains are best removed while wet. Rinse in cold water (with added salt) then wash as usual. For dried stains, soak garment in detergent.
Vomit: Scrape off excess and rinse garment with cold water (or sponge affected area). Then, wash garment as usual.
Wine: In the event of a spill act quickly to avoid heavy stains on the garment. Here are a number of suggestions (very useful for restaurant spills!): Spray the area with soda water, use white wine to saturate red wine stain, use white vinegar to saturate a stain, or apply salt on the stain and rub off when dry. You could also pour boiling water (from a height) onto the stain. After treating the stain, rinse and wash as normal.
Has your wool garment shrunk?
Dissolve some Epsom salts in hot water then add cold water to make solution cold. Soak woolen garment in water for 2-3 hours and the fibres will loosen and be returned to natural state.
"Won't come up or won't go down?"
There could be a number of possibilities why this happens:
- Pinched fabric - Check inside the garment to see if fabric is pinched to the zip. If so, try raising/lowering the zip above/below the pinched fabric or wriggling it up or down, separating the zip from the fabric as much as possible. Be patient! This method would normally get rid of the pinch that is stopping the zipper from moving.
- Zip is stuck - Try using a key ring or safety pin to give you more leverage. Just hook through the zip eye and pull.
Sprinkle talcum powder on the zipper slide and run zip up and down several times to free up its movement.
Zip comes up but stays open:
Even when these zippers go up, don't trust them! They can reopen without you knowing (embarrassing!). I suggest you take the zip down far enough to enable you to get the garment off. Use small safety pins (you will need approximately 4 altogether) to hold the bottom section of the zipper (up to the slider). Put the garment back on and pin the rest of the zip up. This may be a difficult task and should only be used in emergencies.
Loose zip that goes down by itself:
- The paperclip method: Undo button at waistband. Thread paperclip through the eye of the zip. The paperclip can then be threaded over the button or onto the fastener inside the waistband. Do up the button or close the fastener - this method works a treat and your zip won't go down.
- The safety pin method: Thread the pin through the zipper underneath the slider to stop it from going down.
- Use the safety pin method as for pants and skirts, however you will need someone else to do the pinning etc. as the zipper is normally at the back.
- Adhesive tape can often work for several hours. Press it down firmly and be cautious for the first 15 minutes.
- Double-sided tape applied on the inside of the hem works well.
- Safety pins - put a pin at each point of the hem that is still up. Then place pins in between these first two pins.
Use safety pins on the inside and thread them in and out of the seam. If you are wearing a black garment, colour the pointed side of the pin with black marker (makes the pin less obvious).
There is not much you can do in this situation unless you have invisible mending tape. However if you're really desperate, try packaging or gaffer tape. (note: Sticky tape is not strong enough).
Use baby wipes or "Spray and Wipe" with a cloth.
Need more comfort in your pants/skirt?
Your skirt/pant might be a size to small in the waist,
- after a big meal
- on a plane
- around period time.
Pull the zip down so you are comfortable. Place safety pin underneath slider of zip so that it will not go down any further. (Remember to make your top garment cover the undone zip!)
Synthetic garments can develop static if the atmosphere and the garment is too dry. Use an atomiser bottle to apply water mist to the garment. If you don't have an atomiser simply remove the garment and wet your legs (hosiery) to put moisture laden air between the garment and your skin. (Note: Most supermarkets and Motto stores sell anti-static spray).
Fabric Care presents some useful washing tips for the most common fabrics that make up Motto garments.
The delicate nature of the fabric requires delicate washing. Rayon and silk chiffons should only be washed as an emergency. Polyesters wash by hand using minimal soap. Only give the garment a gentle “swish” around. Rinse gently under the tap, squeeze out excess water and place the garment (by itself) around the bowl of the washing machine and spin for about a minute. The garment can then be placed on a plastic hanger to dry and should require little, if any, ironing when dry. (Remember that the spin in the machine is only for a minute or so, and the garment must be placed around the bowl - not in a ball).
Natural fibres can shrink by up to 5% on the first and second wash, even more so in the tumble-dryer. So, adjust hems, and other alterations after the first two washes. Dark colours like navy and black will often give off dye in the first few washes, so keep these garments separate from the others. Similarly, red will always “bleed” in the wash, so once again wash separately for the first few washes. When handwashing natural fibres, use mild soap and do not let the garment soak. Dry using the spin cycle on the machine to remove excess water.
TIP: When handwashing, 2 tablespoons of salt to a bucket of water will help set dyes. You can also add salt to the machine cycle.
Rayons (viscose) and polyester wash by hand using minimal soap. Only give the garment a gentle “swish” around. Rinse gently under the tap and squeeze out excess water and place the garment (by itself) around the bowl of the washing machine and spin for about a minute. The garment can then be placed on a plastic hanger to dry and should require little, if any, ironing when dry. (Remember that the spin in the machine is only for a minute or so, and the garment must be placed around the bowl - not in a ball).
Natural fibres can shrink by up to 5% on the first and second wash. If you tumble dry linens there is a risk they could come out “hairy”. As with cotton, adjust hems, and other alterations after the first two washes. Dark colours like navy and black will often give off dye in the first few washes, so keep these garments separate from the others. Similarly red will always bleed in the wash, so once again wash separately for the first few washes. When handwashing natural fibres, do not let the garment soak and use mild soap. Dry using the spin cycle on the machine to remove excess water.
TIP: When handwashing, 2 tablespoons of salt to a bucket of water will help set dyes. You can also add salt to the machine cycle.
Polyester / Viscose
Most polyester / viscose fabric is washable, however it is a “spun yarn” similar to wool in that it has lots of little fibres that are spun together to make one thread. If the polyester / viscose is slightly hairy, it will become fuzzy if washed. Polyester / Viscose should rarely be tumble-dried as it tends to pill-up, making the garment look fatigued.
TIP: As a rescue, if you have to tumble-dry, remove the garment from the drier while it is still a little damp.
Generally comprises the family of Viscose and Bemberg. Rayons can shrink during washing and should generally be washed by hand and not tumble-dried. The cheaper rayons tend to deteriorate after several washings.
Should be treated with caution. Always follow the recommended washing procedures. Checks and stripes used in suitings should always be tested for colour-fastness as spot cleaning (even at the dry-cleaners) can make the colour run. Silks should never be allowed to dry in the sun as they tend to fade (in patches) making the garment unwearable. By using the manufacturer’s recommended instructions, silk garments can give many seasons of use. As a rescue, always test on a part of the garment that does not show by sponging with water and mild detergent, then drying out the excess water with a tea towel (do not leave the silk fabric wet).
These are generally polyester and are able to withstand continuous washing and wearing. Pants, skirts etc. can be machine or handwashed, then put through the spin process to remove water. Garments should then be hung on a plastic hanger and allowed to dry. For pleated pants, use a clip hanger and fold pants on the pleat. This way, garments will require minimal ironing. Polyesters should be ironed on a low setting with plenty of steam.
As a general rule, wools do not wash and should be dry-cleaned. As a rescue remedy, sponge soiled areas with cool water and mild detergent and remove excess water with a tea towel. Never tumble-dry wools!
TIP: A good old airing will revive wools. Where there is a slight draught, put the garment on a hanger, and hang from the door architrave.
Wool blend suitings with 20% plus of synthetic fibre (polyester / nylon) can often be handwashed. Always use minimal detergent or pure soap and spin in machine to remove excess water. Never tumble-dry wool blends as they pill badly.
- For Faster ironing, place a long strip of heavy-duty aluminium foil under the cover padding of the ironing board. Heat will reflect to the underside of the garment as you iron.
- To dampen clothes, add some wet towels in with the garments and tumble in the dryer, making sure the heat is turned “off”.
- Dampen clothes with hot water as they are ready to iron sooner than with cold water.
- Avoid wearing or packing newly-ironed garments for a few hours as they will quickly crease again.
- Avoid creases in your sleeves while you press by placing a rolled-up towel in them.
- For polyesters: Always have iron on COOL setting and use steam to prevent fabric from shining. Too much heat has a drying effect on polyesters, causing static in the garment. On a lightweight fabric, this causes it to cling to your body.
- For silks/linens (difficult to iron): After washing, spin excess water from the garment, iron immediately, then hang to dry on a plastic hanger. This works brilliantly for silks and linens….and will save you heaps of time.
Taking Care of your Iron
- Clean your iron regularly by rubbing it with a cloth dipped in salt, or moistened with vinegar.
- For smooth gliding, apply bicarbonate of soda with a dry or damp sponge onto the face of the iron. Gently scrub the surface clean.
- Get rid of dirty brown marks on the iron plate using a heated solution of vinegar and salt.
- To clear blocked steam vents, use a cotton bud or a pipe cleaner and soapy water.