Outerwear is key at this time of year. What with chillier mornings and dark, damp evenings, you'll be glad of an extra layer. But before you put on your favourite winter coat, take a bit of time to give it the attention it deserves. And if you're investing in a new piece for this year, you want to make it last. Here are a few tips on how to look after a winter coat.
As with every item in your wardrobe, you'll need to clean it once in a while. Sometimes you can get away with using a damp cloth on parkas and lightweight puffers but for heavier stains and an overall refresh, it's best to handwash these particular coats in cold water, wring lightly and then dry flat.
Wool and structured overcoats need a bit more care. For the best results, take your wool coat to a professional dry-cleaners rather than attempting to clean it yourself. This will prevent you from damage or shrinkage. Always check the label first. If your coat is more than 80 percent wool, do not attempt to wash it yourself.
For quick maintenance such as removing light dirt or stains, follow this advice:
- Add half a teaspoon of mild detergent to a bowl of soapy water.
- Dampen a cloth and dab gently to remove any stains you can spot.
- Use a stiff-bristled brush to remove any dirt.
- Leave to dry flat
Feeling confident about cleaning a wool coat at home? These tips may come in handy:
- Choose a detergent for wool; add a teaspoon to a bowl of cool water.
- Gently push your coat into the bowl being careful to ensure the soap suds are absorbed by the fabric.
- Empty the bowl of water and gently push water out of the coat fabric.
- Fill the bowl with cool clear water and rinse the coat by swirling it around in the water.
- Lay the coat on a clean towel.
- Gently press another clean towel on top to draw out excess water.
- Leave to dry flat.
- Once dry, use a lint remover to remove lint and dust.
The best way to keep your coat looking fresh and new is to wash before you store it away. Pack away washed and dried puffers and parkas into a vacuum-sealed bag. This will save you on wardrobe space and ensure they're all ready-to-go next year. Wool or more structured coats are better stored on wooden hangers to help maintain shape. Ensure you do up all the buttons and avoid hanging your coat in direct sunlight. This will cause the colour to fade and the heat could potentially damage the structure of the material fibres.
As with any garment, be careful not to overwash your coat as this can dull and dry out the fibres. Once a season should be sufficient. Then dry your coat on a flat surface to prevent it losing shape. If you're coat is looking a bit wrinkled, use the old trick of hanging it up in your bathroom while having a hot shower.