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Velvet Fabric

How To Care For & Wash Velvet Fabric

With its luxurious feel and elegant appearance, velvet often takes center stage in our wardrobes and homes. But when it comes to cleaning, it can be a diva. It’s not your everyday fabric, and it demands a touch more attention.

In this article, I’ll demystify the process of washing velvet. Whether you’re dealing with a vintage velvet sofa, a stylish velvet dress, or a plush velvet cushion, I’ve got you covered. Let’s dive into the world of velvet and learn how to keep it looking lush and lavish for years to come.

So, if you’ve been fretting about maintaining your velvet items, worry no more. I’m here to guide you through the process step by step. Rest assured, it’s easier than you might think, and with some knowledge and care, your velvet can stay beautiful for a long time.


All About Velvet Fabric

Velvet’s allure lies in its unique texture, created by a distinctive weaving process called a ‘pile weave ‘. Unlike other fabrics, velvet comes from this pile weave that offers a plush, smooth, and luxurious texture that’s recognizable at a touch. Each velvet strand stands upright, creating its characteristic nap, a trait that contributes to its appealing luster and durability but also demands special cleaning considerations.

Velvet is no longer just a silk product. Facts highlight variations like cotton velvet, crushed velvet, panne velvet, and even synthetics such as polyester, each with its own care instructions. For example, a polyester velvet garment endures machine washing, while silk velvet, on the other hand, mandates dry cleaning.

The fabric’s nature lies in its delicate balance, making it prone to signs of wear. It’s essential to remember that when washing velvet, water temperature plays a crucial role. A cold wash prevents the fabric from shrinking and losing its shape, ensuring the item’s longevity.

Known for watermarks, velvet’s opulence can tarnish with inappropriate washing techniques. Water residue becomes visible without correct care, diminishing the fabric’s overall aesthetic appeal. Cleaning methods, therefore, hinge on the velvet type. Lesser-known forms, like Devoré velvet, often call for professional cleaning due to their intricate detailing, which involves burning out certain fabric areas to create a unique pattern.

Understanding velvet fabric is not just about knowing its unique cleaning requirements, but it’s also about empowering yourself with the knowledge to maintain its iconic plushness and luxury. This knowledge is a foundation for the upcoming section, where I delve into specific cleaning and washing methods.

Challenges in Washing Velvet

Recognizing the challenges in washing velvet can play a pivotal role in prolonging velvet items’ luxurious appeal and durability. One such taxing task is deciphering the cleaning symbols on the fabric tag. Incorrect interpretation of these signs can lead to disastrous results, such as shrinkage, color bleeding, or damaging the pile weave. Even with accurate decoding, washing velvet remains a daunting test.

Velvet, due to its unique pile weave, poses a distinct challenge. It’s prone to matting during washing, a complication arising from the plush raised threads that provide its iconic sheen. The matted surface not only loses its luster but might also appear patchy, severely undermining the fabric’s elegant allure.

Another issue we face is drying velvet items. Conventional drying methods using tumble dryers lead to disastrous effects. Over time, forceful actions, like wringing or vigorous machine drying, lead to damage. Extended exposure to heat contributes to wrinkling, reducing the fabric’s aesthetic appeal and adding another hurdle in the entire process.

Then there’s the issue of color fading. The brilliant hues that make velvet an exuberant choice often diminish with washing. Repeated washing can lead to a dramatic loss of color, converting vivid velvet fabrics into faded versions of their former glory.

Lastly, velvet items with additional embellishments, featured often in items like Devoré velvet, require further caution. Embellishments like embroidery, sequins, etc., usually require hand washing or professional cleaning. Hence, washing these intricately detailed velvet items becomes doubly challenging.

Tackling these cleaning issues is substantial for maintaining the fabric’s luxury and longevity. My subsequent sections offer potential solutions to navigate these challenges effectively, ensuring that your velvet items continue to captivate with their timeless allure.

Detailed Steps on How to Wash Velvet Fabric

Knowing the challenges of washing velvet, the next phase demands a thorough investigation of the specific actions required to clean this luxurious fabric.

  1. Decoding Cleaning Labels: Each velvet item carries a care label with symbols that indicate the cleaning method it tolerates, according to Iowa State University. It’s crucial always to respect these cleaning symbols; otherwise, you risk damaging your velvet piece. For instance, a circle inside a square signifies tumble drying, while if the circle is crossed out, it implies you shouldn’t.
  2. Pre-Washing Checks: Test for colorfastness before immersing your velvet piece in water. Dampen a white cloth with cold water and press it lightly against an inconspicuous part of your velvet fabric. If the color leaches onto the white cloth, it’s best to dry clean.
  3. Hand Wash Process: Fill a tub with tepid water and add a small measure of mild detergent. Gently submerge your velvet item into the soapy water, ensuring that it does not agitate too much. Use your hands to circulate the water around the fabric, helping the soap penetrate and clean the fabric, but avoid excessive scrubbing that can lead to matting.
  4. Rinse and Dry: Dispense the soapy water and refill the tub with cool water. Rinse your velvet item until no soap remains, gently squeezing the fabric to remove excess water. Avoid wringing your velvet fabric post-wash; lay it flat on a clean towel. Roll the towel up to absorb excess moisture. Let the velvet item air dry naturally, keeping it away from direct heat or sunlight, as these can cause fading. 
  5. Steam to Refresh: Velvet fabric naturally maintains a plush pile. Airing it or using a steamer can restore your item to its original fullness after washing. Remember, ironing is a no-no, as high heat can damage the texture.

By following these directives above, the beauty of the velvet fabric endures, retaining its luxurious appeal and prolonging its life. Remember, velvet requires time and attention – a small price for its unmatched elegance.

Drying Velvet Correctly

Managing velvet can be a rewarding endeavor. Although meticulous with the washing steps, drying this luxurious fabric can present challenges. Special attention safeguards the velvet’s texture and quality, from the type—cotton velvet, crushed velvet, or synthetics—to the color vibrance and fabric longevity.

Air Dry Velvet

  • The axiom with velvet is that heat is not its friend. After rinsing, resisting the temptation to run the fabric through a hot dryer or place it under direct sunlight is critical. Instead, air drying plays a crucial role in the velvet aftermath. Laying the velvet flat on a clean towel protects the fabric from creasing.

Avoid Excess Squeezing

  • While drying velvet, it’s common to have the urge to wring out the excess water—ditch this instinct immediately. Excess squeezing can make velvet lose its unique plush pile, causing irreversible damage. Instead, gently roll the velvet in a clean, dry towel, pressing slightly to remove moisture.

Lay Flat to Dry

  • Let gravity do its job when drying velvet. Avoid hanging or draping the fabric, which can lead to unwanted misshaping. Laying it flat can keep its shape and align with the velvet’s nature.

No Direct Sunlight

  • Although necessary for most laundry, direct sunlight on velvet can lead to color fading. Consequently, find a cool, shaded area for the velvet to dry naturally.

Don’t Rush The Process

  • Drying a velvet clothing item or home decor piece might take hours. Hence, patience is essential when caring for velvet. Rushing the drying process can lead to disappointments like shrinkage or pile damage.

Integrating these guidelines into my velvet care routine has a clear impact on the fabric’s longevity. By merely understanding the velvet’s diverse composition and giving it a gentle treatment, velvet elegance can be maintained with minimal effort.

Ironing and Storing Velvet Fabric

Transitioning from the careful washing and drying of velvet fabrics, I must mention the final medical steps required to maintain your velvet’s quality and charm – ironing and storing.

Considering its affluent pile and delicate texture, ironing a velvet fabric requires extreme caution. Here’s the best approach to iron velvet effectively:

  1. Turn your velvet item inside out.
  2. Set your iron to the lowest heat setting.
  3. Lay a thin cotton cloth or towel over the fabric.
  4. Press the iron gently onto the cotton cloth, ensuring not to drag the iron across.
  5. Avoid leaving the iron on a particular spot for too long, potentially damaging the velvet.

Your velvet fabric deserves stellar maintenance through washing and ironing and proper storage mechanisms to prolong its life. Here’s how to store velvet correctly:

  1. Wait for the fabric to dry completely before storing.
  2. Always hang velvet clothing up, preferably using a padded hanger.
  3. Provide plenty of space for each piece of velvet attire in your closet. Crowding can damage the fabric.
  4. Velvet fabrics, especially the darker ones, should be stored in locations devoid of sunlight, given their potential to fade colors.
  5. To maintain the velvet fabric’s texture and sheen, select a cool, dry, dark, and dust-free location for storage.

Indeed, maintaining the elegance of your velvet fabric involves choreographing the intricate dance of washing, drying, ironing, and storing. With careful adherence to these guidelines, you can ensure that your velvet items continue to grace your wardrobe, emanating the sartorial elegance that velvet is universally acclaimed for. Remember, patience is the key when dealing with velvet.

How to Maintain Velvet Fabric

Maintaining velvet fabric involves a suite of strategies in addition to washing, drying, ironing, and storing correctly. The first strategy revolves around routine care involving regular brushing and shaking out. Brush your velvet garments using a soft, clean brush to remove dust and maintain the plush appearance. Shaking these items routinely ensures they don’t accumulate dust, enhancing their lifespan and preserving their luxe appeal.

In addition to physical care, preventative measures form the cornerstone of maintaining velvet. Avoid sitting on velvet furniture in the same position for prolonged periods, causing crush marks. Rotate cushions occasionally to distribute wear evenly. Also, avoid spills by using arm and back protectors. Should spillage occur, immediate blotting limits absorption. However, removing the residue using a clean, dry cloth becomes inevitable, ensuring that stains don’t set in.

As velvet is prone to creases, take necessary action to minimize this issue. For instance, hang velvet clothing items immediately after washing and drying to prevent wrinkles and creases from setting. Note that heavy items like jackets benefit from padded hangers, while skirts and pants need clip hangers to maintain shape.

In addition to home care, regular professional cleaning also proves integral to maintaining velvet items. A professional cleaner possesses the technical knowledge and skill to eliminate stains, odors, and discoloration, enhancing the item’s longevity while maintaining visual appeal and texture.

Maintaining velvet’s aesthetic appeal relies on time-honored cleaning and drying techniques and on adopting preventive measures, appropriate handling, home maintenance, and regular professional cleaning. With such steps, the rich, luxurious feel of the velvet continues to shine, preserving the fabric in its prime condition for years to come.


Velvet’s undeniable charm demands a unique care regimen, and I’ve walked you through the steps. We’ve covered everything from understanding the fabric’s composition to mastering washing techniques. I’ve also emphasized the importance of professional cleaning for those stubborn stains and odors. Remember, it’s not just about cleaning but also about preserving your velvet items’ plush feel and visual appeal. You’ll keep your velvet looking lavish for years with the proper care. It might seem daunting at first, but it’s a breeze once you get the hang of it. So, please don’t shy away from velvet because of its maintenance. Embrace its elegance, and let your velvet items shine with the right care. After all, a little effort goes a long way in maintaining the grandeur of velvet.

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