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Designers Guild

Careful and regular maintenance is the key to prolonging the life and retaining the appearance of soft furnishings. The following notes are offered as a brief guide on the care and cleaning of fabrics and wallpapers.

Fabrics

  • The principal causes of soiling are airborne dust, cigarette smoke, gas or open fires and accidental spillage or staining. Most of these can be avoided or at least reduced; others can be remedied by timely and appropriate maintenance.
  • The regular use of a vacuum cleaner with an appropriate attachment can significantly extend the life of furnishings. Curtains and upholstery should be vacuum cleaned once a week.
  • The professional applicatio­n of a p­roprietary stain resist agent can aid in preventing premature soiling, particularly on upholstery.
  • Always follow the recommendations given by the care symbols in price lists and pattern books.
  • Never wait until an article is visibly dirty before washing or cleaning.­

Washing

  • Washing is an appropriate cleaning method for small items and has the advantage that it can be carried out at home, although there are certain pitfalls to be avoided.
  • Wash fabrics regularly and do not wait until heavy soiling has occurred.
  • It is important not to wash large items such as full-length curtains or loose covers in a domestic washing machine as the abrasion resulting from too large a load will cause colour loss, shrinkage and/or creasing.
  • Follow the fabric manufacturer′s recommendations in relation to temperature, wash method, drying and ironing procedures. These are all indicated by the Care Symbols, a key to which can be found at the end.
  • Never use bleaches when washing soft furnishings. Remember also that almost all washing powders contain bleach or optical brightening agents for that whiter than white look. Unfortunately they do also have the disadvantage of dulling colours, or causing apparent fading, so use mild liquid detergents for items that will be washed regularly. Nowadays there are specialised detergents or washing powders specifically designed for colours or dark items.
  • Do not soak fabrics for prolonged periods of time, or leave in a washing machine while still damp, as migration of colour can occur.

Dry Cleaning

  • Where dry cleaning is advised make sure the cleaner is made aware of the appropriate process. Many types of fabric require careful treatment with reduced agitation, and specific solvents. This is indicated by the Care Symbols.
  • Remember also that there are good and bad dry cleaners. The Association of British Launderers and Cleaners can provide a list of approved establishments.
  • It is generally inadvisable to use proprietary spot-cleaners or dry-cleaning aerosol sprays, except when specifically approved for certain fabric types: it is better to use professional on-site cleaning contractors.

Light Fastness

  • Printed or dyed furnishing fabrics nowadays have good inherent resistance to fading in light, but all fabrics do fade eventually.
  • Curtains and blinds should always be lined and, if possible, drawn right back from the windows during daylight hours. Do not assume that because you live in a northern climate your curtains will not be affected: the damaging UV rays in sunlight, which cause fading, do penetrate cloudy skies!
  • Shutters or sun awnings will give added protection in sunny areas.
  • Sheer curtains and voiles are particularly vulnerable to fading. Whenever possible hang lining curtains to protect them.
  • Silk curtains should always be lined to protect them from UV light.

Shrinkage

  • All woven fabrics, particularly those made from natural fibres such as cotton or linen will shrink to some extent. It is quite normal for furnishing fabrics to shrink in washing, sometimes by as much as 68%.
  • Dry-cleaning (which, of course, is not a dry process at all) can also cause shrinkage, although generally to a lesser extent.
  • Much of the shrinkage caused in washing can be regained by ironing the fabric while still slightly damp in the direction of shrinkage and gently stretching it.
  • It is generally accepted that wash temperature is an important factor but equally significant are the effects of mechanical agitation and drying temperature and method. Again be careful to follow the instructions given by the Care Symbols.
  • Take care not to dry washed items too quickly. Tumble-drying should be avoided whenever possible, as it can cause creasing and shrinkage.
  • Curtains should always be made with an adequate hem, loosely tacked until after the first washing or cleaning. An allowance of at least 5% should be added to the length required.
  • Side seams or attached linings should be hand-slipped to allow for differential movement between face fabric and lining. Always use a thread of the same fibre as the fabric you are sewing.
  • Curtains may shrink or extend in use owing to fluctuations in atmospheric temperature and/or humidity. This is particularly so with fabrics containing a high proportion of viscose.
  • Make sure that curtains do not hang too close to windows or radiators where either excessive moisture from condensation or excessive heat and dryness can have dramatic effects, in terms of dimensional stability and soiling.

Straightness of Print or Weave

  • Fabrics often appear to be bowed or skewed but this is usually a temporary condition caused by uneven rolling. If fabrics are slightly out of true they can usually be corrected by gently easing the fabric prior to cutting.
  • Printed fabrics should always be cut at right angles to the selvedge, rather than on the grain of the cloth.

Wide width fabrics

  • Wide width fabrics are very useful as they can be railroaded, i.e. made up horizontally to avoid the need for seaming widths of fabric together. Note that many wide width fabrics can be made up with the pattern either vertical or horizontal. This will always be indicated in the pattern book.

Silks

  • It is well known that silk fabrics can be more fragile than other types and a certain amount of care should be exercised in their make up and maintenance. Silk curtains should always be lined to protect them from sunlight, and should not be used for Roman blinds where any degree of fading will be more apparent. Silk should always be dry cleaned by professional cleaners with experience of furnishing fabrics, and be cleaned using the careful cycle as indicated in the Care Symbols.

Linens

  • Linen fabrics, whether 100% linen or mixed with other yarns such as cotton or viscose, are more prone to shrinkage than other fibre types, especially in washing. For this reason we generally recommend that all linen fabrics should be dry cleaned. Where linen fabrics are recommended as being suitable for washing, it is usual that they will have been given a pre-shrunk finish in order to minimise shrinkage. This may result in curtains extending once hung and a loosely stitched hem is advisable so that curtains may be adjusted once they have settled in.

Velvets

Velvet is a luxurious and beautiful fabric and comes in many different types. From simple plain cotton velvets through to more extravagant multicoloured, jacquard woven designs, they all need to be handled and treated with care. The surface pile is always vulnerable to pressure marking both during make up and in use, but if you follow a few simple guidelines you can achieve excellent results.

  • Always roll a velvet with the pile surface on the inside and in the same direction as the pile.
  • For curtain making we strongly advise to use velvet with:
    - pile upwards : for cotton velvets, Trevira velvets and velvets made of mixed yarns.
    - pile downwards: for shiny (viscose) velvets and velvets with a pattern.
  • Making curtains with the pile facing up gives a deeper and fuller colour; if you make up viscose velvets with the pile up you will lose a lot of the lustrous, shiny effect. It is also strongly recommended to line velvet curtains to prevent pile loss, and fading through sunlight. Lining also gives far better draping and thus a more beautiful general appearance.
  • You should always use a pull cord or rod to open and close your velvet curtains; too much hand contact will bruise and crush the texture of the pile, and, eventually, you will be able to see handprints where you grab your curtains to pull them back.
  • Make sure that the velvet you choose for upholstery is suitable and apply the right techniques. This means seaming the cut edges and folding the edge twice before nailing or stapling the velvet to prevent the fabric from unnecessary rupture and tearing. Do not make up velvet directly onto foam fillings but use an interliner even if the velvet has been backcoated. The fabric will last longer and pile-loss will be reduced.
  • Cotton velvet is a natural product. When made up for curtains or on a sofa, it will obtain its unique appearance after some time in use, due to pressure and the natural humidity of the environment. Pressure marks, rolling stripes and smaller irregularities, which are inherent in the product, will disappear in a ventilated and relatively humid environment.
  • Steam or distilled water through a sprayer will enhance this process (not to be used on viscose or flame retardant cotton velvets). To return the pile to its original condition and appearance, brush it with a soft brush.
  • Dry cleaning is the preferred method for virtually all velvets although some Trevira velvets can be machine washed gently at 30º C. The best way to dry velvets after washing is a natural drying process rather than tumble drying.

Mezzola

  • Mezzola is the registered trade mark of a superior microfibre textile product developed by Designers Guild. It is luxurious and comfortable, soft to the touch yet hardwearing and durable. Mezzola combines the best of both worlds not only beautiful to look at but also easy to care for and soil/stain resistant.
  • As with all furnishings, regular and careful maintenance will preserve the beauty and prolong the life of your Mezzola, product. Whilst regular cleaning is desirable it is important not to use excessively vigorous methods and always take great care when dealing with localised stains.
  • It is recommended to vacuumclean or brush with a soft brush two or three times a week.
  • Every two or three weeks run a damp, white cloth over your furniture to remove dust. Do not use coloured cloths or paper towels.
  • Once a year you should clean your furniture by one of the following methods:
  • If the covers are removable they can be washed on a low temperature setting in a washing machine or taken to the laundry. The covers should not be spun dry, to avoid creasing but may be tumble dried at the lowest temperature setting.
  • If the covers are not removable they may be cleaned in situ by a professional cleaning company, but make sure you tell them that the fabric is 100% polyester microfibre as excessive heat may damage the covers.
  • If you wish you can clean the furniture yourself using a damp clean cloth, well wrung out, and run it over the Mezzola fabric, being sure not to wet it too much. Repeat as necessary until no further soiling is removed the leave to dry thoroughly.
  • After drying you may brush with a soft bristle brush to restore the surface appearance.

Wallcoverings

  • Full hanging instructions are printed on the reverse of the labels which are enclosed with every roll. Please read and follow these instructions carefully.
  • Some papers need to be reverse-hung; consecutive drops should be hung in opposite directions. This will be indicated on the label.
  • When buying wallpaper be sure to order enough to complete a particular job, because there can be differences in shade from batch to batch. Always state the batch number if it is necessary to order extra paper.
  • Wallpapers are made from natural materials and may contain small blemishes. This is normally not a problem as isolated marks can be cut round without undue wastage.
  • Be sure to use the correct adhesive and use according to the manufacturers instructions. We always recommend the use of a pre-mixed tub adhesive.
  • Always wipe paste off the surface before it dries.
  • Do not oversoak the paper but be sure to allow sufficient time for it to become pliable.
  • Do not handle the paper more than is necessary or rub it with a cloth or rag. Although wallpaper has a protective finish, it is vulnerable when still wet and can be damaged by excessive rubbing.
  • It is important to avoid brushing out the paper too vigorously when hanging as this can cause overstretching, which may result in unsightly gaps between lengths when the paper dries out.
  • When papers have dark backgrounds it may be desirable to disguise the joins with a suitably coloured crayon or chalk.
  • Certain types of wallcoverings, such as non-wovens, require a paste the wall technique. This will be indicated in the hanging instructions on the wallpaper label.
  • Grasscloth wallcoverings need special care in hanging and should only be hung by an expert paperhanger. It is especially important to avoid getting paste on the surface as it is extremely difficult to wipe off satisfactorily. It is also important to understand that grasscloth is a handmade, natural product with irregularities in colour and texture, so joins are inevitably more noticeable than with machine made wallcoverings.

Furniture

  • When furniture has loose seat and back cushions, plump them up daily. Turn them and rotate the position of cushions every month. This will prevent uneven or excessive wear.
  • Tight upholstery should be cleaned on site by a professional cleaning specialist.
  • Spot cleaning with proprietary products should not be carried out other than professionally.
  • Where seat or back cushions have removable covers do not be tempted to wash or clean them separately as colour changes will eventually become evident.
  • Although most furnishing fabrics have good resistance to fading, we do advise that furniture should be protected from exposure to strong sunlight.
  • Velvet upholstery generally can be prone to marking caused by pressure in transit or in use. Most pressure marks can be removed by gently steaming and brushing the velvet with a soft brush.
  • With loose covers shrinkage can be a major factor. Whilst loose covers which are too loose are unsightly, it is a mistake to make them too snug; even with dry-cleaning they will be impossible to refit satisfactorily. The best method is to launder the fabric prior to making up in order to remove as much of the residual shrinkage as possible. Where this is not feasible, try re-fitting the covers while still slightly damp and allow to dry on the chair or sofa.
  • Do not allow animals onto your furniture; they can cause more damage in a short time than years of normal use. Also children shoes and buckles or studs on jeans can easily pluck threads from the surface of fabrics.

Bedlinens

  • It is advisable to wash new sheets before putting them on the bed for the first time.
  • Always wash dark colours separately.
  • For most 100% cotton bedlinens we recommend to wash at 40ºC do not leave in washing machine overnight as fading may appear along crease lines.
  • Always follow the washing instructions on the label.
  • Commercial soap powders and detergents may be safely used but avoid detergents containing bleach or optical brighteners as they break down fabric fibres and cause colours to fade.
  • Tumble dry but avoid overdrying as it causes wrinkles to set

Towels

  • Always follow the washing instructions on the label.
  • Limit use of fabric conditioners on towels. Whilst they give a soft feel, overuse of conditioners leaves a coating which reduces absorbency
  • Avoid contact with facial cleansers and skin treatments as some contain Benzoyl Peroxide which has a bleaching effect.
  • Pulled threads can simply be cut off as the towels are woven so that threads will not run.

Carpets and Rugs

  • Every wool fibre naturally has its own thin, protective layer. This allows wool to repel dirt and gives you the opportunity to act when anything is spilled on the carpet. Naturally, all spots should be treated as soon as possible. Below are some useful tips.
  • Always remove the spot immediately
  • Scrape off as much of the spilled moisture or substance with a spoon or a knife where possible, working from the edge towards the centre of the spot.
  • Clean the spot with a cloth or absorbing paper. Do not rub or scrub, just dab!
  • Do not make the spot too wet.
  • When using a detergent, always remove it from the pile using water (when using detergents or a solvent, always try it out in an inconspicuous place first).
  • Dry the carpet thoroughly after removing the spot, using a hairdryer.
  • Remove spots using the table and the corresponding numbers below, treat in order of the numbers given.
Ballpoint ink 8-1 Mustard 1
  1. Solution of carpet shampoo
  2. Turpentine or trichloroethylene
  3. Warm water
  4. Cold water
  5. Washing powder for wool, 1 teaspoon to 1cup of hot water, only if spot is visible
  6. Absorbing paper and hot iron
  7. Freeze with special spray or ice cubes, then pulverize and vacuum up chewing gum
  8. White spirit
  9. Acetone
  10. Turpentine or white spirit
  11. Carefully scrape off with nail or coin
  12. Seek assistance from cleaning firm
  13. Biologic wool wash agent, 1 teaspoon to 1 cup of warm water, leave to soak for one hour
  14. Carefully vacuum up without rubbing
Blood 4-13 Nail varnish 9
Fire spots 11 Nail varnish 9
Butter 2-1 Oil 2-1
Vomit 1-5 Soot 14-2-5
Chocolate 1-2 Shoe polish 2-1
Cream 1-2 Tar 2
Coke 4-1 Tea 4
Egg 1 Urine * 1-12
Gravy 3-1 Paint (water-based) 4-1
Candle wax 6-2 Paint (oil-based) 10-1
Chewing gum 7 Grease 2-1
Coffee* 4-5-12 Fruit juice 4-1-5
Lemonade/liqueur 4-1-5 Fountain pen ink 4-5
Lipstick 2-1 Wax 2-1
Milk 3-1 Wine * 4-5-12

*Old spots are virtually impossible to remove - seek assistance from cleaning firm

Maintenance of Sisal Carpets and Rugs

  • These types of floor coverings require simple maintenance only.
  • Regular vacuum cleaning is the first and most important requirement.
  • In rooms with low relative humidity levels, it is recommended to keep humidity levels at 60-70% using a plant spray. We recommend the use of a hygrometer in the room. Extend the life of your sisal carpet with the right humidity levels.
  • Dyed or bleached carpets must be protected from prolonged exposure to sunlight.
  • Remove any spots immediately. Fresh spots that are still damp are the easiest to remove. Dab immediately with an absorbing cloth or kitchen paper. Do not rub as this will only make the spot larger.
  • Many spots are water-soluble, particularly when the spot is fresh. Dabbing with a cloth soaked in lukewarm water will in most cases remove any remaining spot either in whole or in part. Finish by taking a dry cloth to absorb the remaining moisture.
  • For stubborn spots add a little vinegar or ammonia to the lukewarm water. Repeat the treatment if necessary (again, don′t rub) and speed up the drying process by blowing dry with warm air.
  • Try to scrape off dried-up and old spots with a spoon or the back of a knife. Always work towards the centre of the spot. Then vacuum or sweep up and treat as above.
  • Spots that do not dissolve in water can be treated with EnviroDri powder. Repeat the treatment if necessary.
  • Some spots are very difficult to remove, particularly if they haven′t been treated (couldn′t be treated) straight away. Always make sure that the spot does not spread. Absorbing kitchen roll is a good help in this.
  • In short: do not wet anything that is dry, dab moist spots immediately and treat as described. Grease spots can usually be removed with benzene or trichloroethylene, available from your chemist.
  • Unfortunately, we are unable to guarantee removal of all spots.
  • Note! Never soak sisal; always treat it with a moist cloth or brush.
  • Tip! Regularly turn your rugs.

Key to Care Symbols

Care symbols
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