Since the inception of the iconic Herve Leger body sculpting bandage dress in 1985, we have seen an explosion of brands try to capture the strong feminine silhouette through the Body-Con dress over the years. It’s no wonder as this sensual silhouette embodies an empowered sense of femininity, sensuality & strength.
One has to be quite careful on how to care for these garments as the form fitting fibers of spandex and nylon need tender loving fabricare. Spandex allows for the garment to expand and contract, contouring the body of the wearer snugly. Many ladies try their best not to stain their bandage dresses in order to wear them two or three more time prior to cleaning.
Here’s the low-down on how these dryclean only dresses should be treated:
- Sweet Sweat must come off!
You may have painstakingly watched every morsel and drink to make sure your dress wasn’t stained, however all you need is an epic night out dancing to fill your dress with your natural glow. Well, let’s just call it what it is, sweat. Fortunately & unfortunately our bodies naturally cool us down with secretions that are mostly composed of water and, depending on our unique body’s composition, different levels of minerals, lactate & urea. Now really, do you want this building up on your gorgeous dress? If you do allows this buildup to occur, the areas most affected will start to feel more rigid affecting the elasticity of the fibers and it can also lead to color loss with time.
- Point out stains to your drycleaner.
Every meticulous drycleaner should pre- & post-inspect every garment during the cleaning process. At Rey’s Cleaners we have multiple points of inspection, but it always helps to know what exactly stained your garment. This helps the specialist to work more efficiently and helps your garment receive the proper treatment.
- Drycleaning vs Wetcleaning
Although the care label says Dry-Clean Only, you may consider using a highly trained specialist’s Wetcleaning method. This doesn’t mean laundry, heaven forbid! Wetcleaning is a method of drycleaning that uses water has it’s base instead of the usual drycleaning solvents (that are devoid of water – hmmm, this will have to be explained more thoroughly in another post, this whole what is drycleaning/wetcleaning thing.) Point being, water is a much better base to clean a garment in if the main stains are only mostly water soluble, like sweat or perspiration are.
- NO HEAT PLEASE!
Spandex & Nylon are NOT favorable to high heat. If put in a dryer their elastic fibers may break or in the very least cause them to weaken so that the next time they’re put through the hot tumbling mechanical action of a relentless dryer they snap. Spandex & Nylon also create a very high degree of shine if they’re put under an iron that is way too hot. The best way to dry a bandage dress is to lay it on a breathable surface (We use a series of suspended net bags as dryer shelves.) and allow the garment to naturally dry. When it comes to ironing a body-con dress, the heat must be low and an ironing towel should be used to reduce shine. Extreme amounts of steam should also be avoided as this can cause irreparable damage to the elastic fibers.
One of the most infuriating things about nylon and spandex is its evidence of deterioration. Case in point, the snapped spandex/nylon fibers on this gorgeous black bandage dress.
Why, oh why, must this happen? If you love garments with a bit of stretch, you are probably no stranger to this phenomenon. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, it’s wear and tear that we spandex lovers are experiencing.
What has happened to this dress is that it’s nylon & spandex fibers have stretched and relaxed. In relaxing from their inherent elasticity they’ve become brittle and snapped. Not unlike an elastic rubber band that has reached its breaking point due to deterioration as well.
(Spandex, however, is much more durable than rubber so it has a longer wear life than rubber made fibers.) The wear life of a spandex garment can also be shortened due to repeated wearing and contact with one’s perspiration, body oils, etc. The mechanical action of cleaning, whether through dry cleaning or wet cleaning, can also cause some loss of elasticity and stretching. When this happens all at once, one can see how the fibers of the garment snap and cause little fibers to protrude from the weave of the fabric.
So how can one prolong the life of their beloved spandex garments? With garments whose care label instructs to “Professionally Dry Clean,” please send these to the dry cleaner and point out the stains that you know of for pretreatment. At Rey’s Cleaners, we will hand clean the spandex garment and allow it to air dry, laying down upon a breathable surface. This will help minimize agitation of the spandex and nylon fabric.
If you are caring for a garment with spandex or nylon yourself, make sure to clean the garment gently by hand with lukewarm water and with a very mild detergent. Do not put the garment inside your washing machine and do not wring the garment out. Also, do not place in an area where the sun or any harsh lighting will aggravate the fiber content of the garment.
Oh the efforts we undergo to care for our treasured items! Please let us know if you have any questions at all regarding care of any item that has spandex & nylon, could be your body-con dress, maybe your favorite pair of stretch jeans or maybe any blouse or top that fits you just so. We want to help you keep it looking & feeling its best!