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Pressing And Cleaning Clothing

( Originally Published 1924 )

No garment looks its best or gives its wearer the most satisfaction when wrinkled or out of shape. To prolong the life of all woolen garments, such as suits, coats, and dresses, sponge and press often enough to keep them looking neat and fresh. Dust should be brushed out before sponging. Sponge with ammonia water, using one teaspoonful of ammonia to a quart of water ; cover with a cloth on the right side, and press until dry. A colored cloth used on dark materials prevents lint from showing. If a piece of new gray cambric muslin is used for a pressing cloth for woolen materials it will impart that degree of stiffness, or "body," that produces the much-to-be-desired effect of newness. Such a pressing cloth will last a long time without losing its renewing qualities.

Closets and store-rooms should be fumigated to destroy moths. This can be done very easily by burning sulfur or formaldehyde-candles. Light the candle, put it in the closet or store-room, close tightly all doors and windows, and put padding in all large cracks, large keyholes, under and over the doors, or in any space where smoke can escape. Al-low the room to remain closed all day, then air out thoroughly and clean to remove any lingering odor. The fumes of the candle will destroy all moths or any other insects that may be there.

Before woolen garments are put away for the summer they should be brushed and any spots re-moved, or be thoroughly dry-cleaned, pressed, and made ready for the next winter's wear. Tar moth-bags are ideal, since they can be purchased large enough to allow the garment to be hung inside, full length, thus doing away with folding and wrinkling.

Before putting away other woolen articles or materials be sure that they are clean. Put moth-balls in the folds, wrap carefully in newspapers, for printers' ink is abhorred by moths, and pack away in a trunk or box having a tight cover.


Many velvet garments would give longer service if the art of caring for the fabric were better understood. Velvet must never be pressed with an iron. Steam will bring up the nap: Hang the gar-ment in the bathroom over the tub, turn on the hot water, as hot as can be had, and shut up the room as tight as possible. After the velvet has been subjected to the steam for half an hour, open the door and let the air gradually take off the dampness until the nap of the velvet is not too wet to be brushed with a soft-fiber brush-broom. Brush the fabric both ways, but at the last brushing run with the nap. Weight the bottom of the garment to take out wrinkles, and hang away.


All delicate lace should be sewed on muslin, with all points securely tacked down. Into a large glass jar put a solution of mild white soap-suds. Place the muslin with the lace tacked on it in the jar and shake up and down. When the dirt is washed out, rinse thoroughly in cold water, then roll in a Turkish towel. When it is partly dry, press the muslin on the opposite side from the lace until dry. Never touch the iron directly to the lace. Lace may be washed in a similar way without tacking it on muslin, and stretching while very wet on a piece of glass. When dry it will need no ironing.


Flakes of pure soap which dissolve quickly make a solution in which delicate materials can be dipped up and down and thus cleansed without danger of breaking the threads through rubbing. When taking chiffon or other dainty fabrics from the water, support them with a towel so there will be no strain.

White silk hose, gloves, or other garments, should be washed in cold or tepid water and dried in the dark to prevent them from growing yellow.

Colored fabrics should never be hung in the sun-shine. It is safer to hang them in the laundry and so prevent them from fading.

Smoothing the Way for Attractiveness

To keep material straight always iron one way. This is especially important for striped, plaid, and embroidered materials.

Colors will be faded and white goods turned yellow if the iron is too hot.

When pressing a chiffon or Georgette blouse, use under it a very heavy bath-towel; iron the sleeves first, then the front, and last of all the back.

If it is a ruffled frock that you are pressing, run the iron on the straight edge of the material first, then turn the point of the iron into the gathers. Be cautious to avoid scorching the edge, while drying the gathers, by having the iron too hot.

Always iron tucks lengthwise until dry, pulling them straight before using the iron. Be sure you press seams on both sides until they are completely dry, to prevent the puckered appearance that is otherwise inevitable.

In pressing woolens, have the iron cool, for these materials scorch quickly.

In pressing embroideries it is necessary to lift the iron up and down, pressing a small portion at a time. The sliding back and forth of the iron, as in ordinary ironing, pushes the pattern of the embroidery out of perfect position. Use a well-padded board or a heavy bath-towel for all embroidered materials, and press on the right side first then on the wrong side, until the material is free from moisture.

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