Washing your workwear at home - in partnership with The Fold
If you’re like us, you’re back in the office and have swapped your lockdown loungewear for workwear - after all, there’s nothing like rocking up to your 9 am meeting in style. But how to look after your professional wardrobe? Whether you’re revisiting classic workwear staples - silk shirts, pencil skirts, woollen jumpers, patterned trousers - or trying something new and chic (the Kair team have recently been living in and loving The Fold’s comfy yet super stylish wool cashmere Colville Trousers), we’ve got the answers. Stay on top of your work and fashion game by learning how to properly Kair for your workwear at home.
Check the fabric content
Before you reach for the detergent, check the label that comes with your garment. It's as important to pay attention to the fabric content as to the care instructions themselves (if you’re unsure about these, check out our guide on decoding laundry care symbols). Is it made of natural fibres like wool or cashmere, or synthetics like viscose or nylon? Is it 100% one material, or a blend of materials? Then check the percentages. Which fabric is dominant? The Fold’s Bowery Blouse, for example, is 93% silk and 7% spandex, while the Colville Trousers are 90% wool and 10% cashmere. If your garment contains a mixture of fibres, follow the instructions for the more delicate fabric (like silk and cashmere).
Spot treat and refresh
To maximise the lifespan of your workwear and conserve energy and water, only wash when necessary. If there are any small stains, spot-treat that one area to avoid a full spin. Simply dilute some of our Wool, Silk and Delicates Wash in cool water and gently work it into the affected area using a clean cloth, then dab away the residue with another clean, wet cloth. Continue to dampen the cloth with cool water as necessary until the stain disappears. We also recommend treating the stain from the back, to push it out rather than in: treating a stain from the front can set it even deeper into the fabric. Between washes, try spritzing with some of our Finishing Spray to freshen up your workwear and release creases. It’s the perfect pick-me-up throughout your working day, and especially before an important meeting: pop it in your handbag so that you can use it on the go.
Wash like with like
Before you load up your machine, we recommend taking a few preliminary measures. Firstly, use mesh laundry bags, and separate your workwear into categories (darks, lights, colours, delicates). Separating by colour is especially important, as it reduces the risk of strong- or dark-coloured items ‘bleeding’ onto lighter-coloured ones (for example, when washing The Fold’s vibrant red Vinci Top). While zips should be zipped up to prevent the teeth from snagging the seam and avoid breaking the zip itself, buttons shouldn’t be buttoned as this can put a strain on them as well as on the fabric. Turn your patterned garments inside out to reduce fading and preserve the brightness of the print.
Choose the right wash
Some of your workwear may come with a dry clean only label, but unless you’re dealing with tailored formal suits or jackets, it’s usually much better to wash your workwear at home (see our article on whether or not to dry clean). Hand washing is a good option for smaller loads, or if you’re away on a business trip and need to wash on the go. And it’s easier than you think: fill a tub or sink with tepid water (30ºC) and add 30 ml of detergent; submerge the item in the water, move it around gently, then rinse and repeat. If you’re washing delicates, be sure to also use our specialist Wool, Silk and Delicates Wash. But you can safely wash most workwear fabrics in your washing machine - even 100% natural fibres, such as the merino wool in The Fold’s autumnal Hespers Intarsia Sweater. What’s important is the wash cycle: for delicates, always choose the delicates or hand wash cycle (low temperature, short cycle, gentle spin), and use a mesh laundry bag.
Air dry and finish
Avoid tumble drying at all costs: the heat and agitation can damage clothing fibres. After hand washing, gently squeeze out excess water with a towel, and after machine washing, take your items out of the drum immediately. For silks and satins in particular, such as The Fold’s silk marocain Bowery Blouse, always opt for hangers over pegs (which can leave marks). For both woollens and wool blends, including cashmere and merino, firstly reshape if necessary while damp, then leave to dry on a flat surface, away from direct heat sources such as sunlight or radiators (which can shrink the natural fibres and fade the colour). Once dry, steam lightly with a cool iron on the reverse. Then spritz with our revitalising Finishing Spray to release wrinkles, before storing your workwear with Kair.
Take Kair between washes
Use our Finishing Spray both throughout the working day and when storing your items, too, to minimise creases and lock in scent. Our cedarwood scent is particularly golden - it doubles as a natural moth repellent. If you want your garments to survive the working day and serve you year after year, proper storage is essential as well. Use a clothes cover, like this one from John Lewis, to keep them intact, especially if you’re travelling on business. When storing silks and satins at home, use a padded hanger, such as this one from Liberty, to limit misshaping and prevent stretching, but avoid hanging woollens (which can cause the shoulders to become misshapen). Instead, fold your woollens and store them in a dresser or on a wardrobe shelf, or put them away in an airtight container or vacuum storage bag (we love this one from Lakeland) if you’re not wearing them often.