It is said that pleats originated with the Egyptians, and over time more and more varieties have been created, leaving us all wondering, how to care for pleated clothes.
Whether it's your favourite pleated skirt or a formal dress with pleats galore, we bet you're wondering how to wash, dry and store your garments while ensuring the pleats stay looking crisp - well, strap in, here's how to care for pleated clothes.
How to care for pleated clothes - varieties of pleats
There are three most common methods of pleating clothes: stitched pleats, heat-pressed pleats and chemical pleats, and they all require slightly different care.
Stitched pleats: This is a catch-all term for any pleats that are made and held using a sewing machine.
Heat-pressed pleats: This type of pleats uses a mechanical force to pleat the fabric, and heat to fix them. For a permanent effect, only polyester can be used. The effect doesn’t last on natural fibres.
Chemical pleats: To pleat natural fabrics, chemicals must be used, as the heat pressing method doesn’t last on natural fibres. Depending on the effect needed, different chemicals are applied to fabrics, as well as heat and sometimes pressure.
How to care for pleated clothes - how to wash
Luckily, all three varieties of pleats can be washed at home, either in the washing machine or by hand. However, make sure to check the care label for any additional instructions.
Now, pleated clothes are more likely to have the transcendent statement, 'dry clean only' on their labels. It is your choice whether to adhere to this instruction or not, but we're pretty confident that you can achieve similar, if not the same, results at home, for far less money, less hassle, and less harm to the environment!
Step 1 - If machine washing, pop it in the machine and set to a cool wash (30 degrees) on a gentle spin cycle. It's true that pleats will survive the washing machine, but the less agitation the better, and that goes for all washes!
Step 2 - Similarly, you're going to need a super gentle detergent, especially if you're dealing with chemical pleats. Our Eco Wash for Silk and Delicates is the perfect pH neutral detergent that cleanses and nourishes fabrics even at cold temperatures.
Step 3 - If you're hand washing, which is the better way forward if you're precious about your pleats, fill a basin with cool water, add a splash of detergent and gently massage the garment around in the water, equally distributing the product, and then rinse thoroughly.
Step 4 - Air dry, air dry, air dry! While you can machine wash your pleated clothes, don't put them anywhere near a tumble dryer. To dry your pleated clothes, hang them on a hanger to air dry in the same position as you'd wear them, and the pleats should naturally fall into place.
How to care for pleated clothes - how to refresh the pleats
One super important facet to care for pleated clothes is knowing how to re-sharped or re-pleat your garments if your pleat lines are looking like they need a little TLC.
Step 1 - Lay the garment on an ironing board and arrange the pleats. Iron over the existing pleat line to regain the original appearance; to do this, clip each pleat with a paper clip. As you iron, move the paperclip so you do not iron over the metal.
Step 2- Set the iron to the hottest steam setting. Starting from the waistband, press the iron down onto the pleats, hold it for five seconds and then pull upward. Move down the pleats and repeat, pressing down, holding for five seconds and lifting. Work your way down one section of pleats at a time; when you reach the paperclips, move them upward or further down; do not iron over them. Repeat lifting and pressing throughout the entire garment.
Step 3 - Hang the garment up immediately and remove the paperclips. Once the skirt cools completely, hang it in your closet to prevent further wrinkling.
Our top tip: If you can't quite manage the use of an iron on your garment (perhaps the pleats are too fine), our little life hack is that you can use a hair straightener as a handy, slim iron instead.
If you're worried about over-washing your pleated garments, or if washing the garments is warping the formation of the pleats, try giving it a spritz with our Deodorising Clothing Spritz. This way, you can wash your clothes less often, and your pleats will stay intact for longer.
So there you go, now you know how to care for pleated clothes, so your favourite skirt or dress can stay looking fabulous. Shop the whole Clothes Doctor range to make every laundry day a pleasure.