Everyone wants the most value for the money when it comes to the majority of our clothing. But whether your clothing costs a little or a lot, much of its lifespan truly depends on how you care for it. So if you have a favorite pre-owned item or a brand-new-with-tags garment, here are some tips and tricks for keeping your Equestrian technical fabric clothing in its best condition and to help it live a long life. Below is a guide for Polyester/Spandex, Nylon/Spandex and similar fabrics used in Equestrian and general athletic wear.
Wash clothes inside out, preferably with cool or cold water (for our thoughts on stink treating-see next slides). If heavily soiled, warm will be ok, but the biggest take away is that heat wears down technical clothing.
Washing inside out helps to keep decorative pieces (think glitter, branding and silicone!) safer from the act of washing.
Washing inside out means the agitator of your machine will clean the inside of the garment-the area closest to your skin ;)
Wash with “like” fabrics. This will help with pilling on seams of constant friction. This also helps because some fabrics shed more than others, and are attracted to their seams. An example of this: wash poly and nylon/spandex blends together, but avoid mixing with cotton blends. Wash cottons and denims together. This also helps with fabrics that bleed on the first few washes (like denim jeans).
Sometimes liquid detergent can leave a film-so make sure you test and try brands. Also, avoid detergent pods-the film that encases the detergent (the "pod") is a micro plastic that doesn't go away, and doesn't truly dissolve-it breaks down into smaller pieces not seen to the naked eye!
For spot treating, always test an area not seen at first.
For oil based stains treat asap by rubbing liquid dish soap into the stain and rinse with cold water.
BLOT stains when they occur (I.e., don't rub them in). Wash the garment and test to see if the stain is out PRIOR to washing. Heat can set stains.
Use white vinegar on sweat stains. You can soak the entire garment or use a brush or dropper to apply. Soak the fabric with white vinegar thoroughly for an hour. Rinse with cold water.
We recommend you or lay flat to dry the majority of your May Babes equestrian garments, as well as other athletic wear brands for longevity.
If you want to dry, make sure you know the trade-offs:
+Heat breaks down Spandex/Elastane, meaning you WILL shorten the lifespan of the garment.
+Heat can seal in smell and certain stains.
+Make sure you clean the lint trap if you are drying after use with 100% cotton or cotton blends prior to drying to avoid small fiber pick up that can cause piling.
Drying can affect the adhesive on silicone grip, iron on decals and shrink leather and certain leather alternatives.
Drying can spread oil and silicone stains (hello hoof oil and mane and tail detangler!).
If you don't like the crunch of clothes not dried in a machine, after they are dry, place them in the machine with no heat. Sometimes the fibers just need to be moved around or fluffed.
If you find seams pilling, take a sharp flat razor to gently remove the pilled thread as you gently lift it with a tweezer.
Every few washes, do an extra rinse cycle. Modern detergents leave a residue that can trap odor.
If you feel like your polyester & nylon clothes have an odor- try soaking them in cool water with 1 cup of vinegar for 30 minutes prior to washing. We DO NOT recommend the popular practice of stripping your technical clothing.
If a zipper breaks or button cracks-call your local dry cleaner. They often offer minor tailoring/mending!
Unless you have an extremely trustworthy Iron where the low setting really means low, do not iron tech fabrics.
For light colored show shirts, consider purchasing under arm pads to take the majority of sweat and deodorant residue & to prevent yellowing. Even with moisture wicking tech fabric, it can happen. This will keep your lucky showshirt in your closet for years longer than normal!
Never use fabric softener on clothing with spandex/elastane. Not only does it coat the fibers of the fabric, it is possible for fabric softener to make the fibers more rough; it also leads to the breakdown of the materials after frequent use.
There you have it! While no one set of instructions can answer all the questions or be the definitive guide to caring for your technical clothing, this is what we have gathered and learned over the past 5 years of May Babes.
When in doubt, follow the manufacturer's instructions on your clothing label. And if the clothing label is gone or worn off, reach out to customer service of the brand or ask your local dry cleaner for help. OR email us! email@example.com