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As you may already be aware African clothing can be a wonderful piece of artwork made from delicate fabrics and colours. They can also range from simple to very complex and intricate designs and styles therefore, great attention needs to be given when caring for them.
Most African outfits have various embellishments on them such as embroidery, buttons, laces, diamante stones etc. Some fabrics are also capable of running their colour during washing. It is therefore advisable to wash your African attires only when there is the need to. The best way to keep your African clothes fresh is to hang them in the open air for a couple of hours immediately after wearing them. This way, most of the embellishments will remain intact and the fabric will last longer.
WASHING AFRICAN CLOTHING
If you feel the need to wash your African wear however, you need to consider the type of embellishments on the outfit and the type of fabric. Outfits with tiny embellishments such as sequins, diamante stones and beads must be either gently hand washed or dry cleaned.
Fabrics with the tendency of running colour must also be gently hand washed alone in lukewarm water using mild detergent. An example of such fabrics is the tie dye material. If you are not sure whether a fabric would run, simply immense a small piece of it in water for a minute or two and squeeze it out. You would know if it runs colour when the water that comes out has changed colour.
It is usually not a good idea to machine wash your African attire but if you need to, you ought to consider if it runs colour, the type of embellishment and the type of fabric used. You can use the method stated above to check if it runs colour first before washing it with other clothes. Bear in mind that washing your African clothing in the washing machine could easily fade the fabric, hence reducing its longevity. It would probably be safe to use lukewarm temperatures when machine washing your outfit.
IRONING YOUR AFRICAN CLOTHING
Like every other outfit, it is important to know the type of fabric that is being ironed. Most African clothing fabrics are made of cotton. Others may be lace, voile, linen etc. If you are not sure which temperature to use, you can try the different temperatures by ironing a small inconspicuous part of it first or sometimes inside out is best.