Metallic and lamé (a kind of fabric interwoven or knit with thin metallic yarns) fabrics are popular in women’s clothing and add the perfect sparkle to any holiday outfit. However, both types of fabrics require special care and cleaning to maintain their shape, shimmer, and color. Thankfully, some helpful tips for wear and cleaning and professional dry-cleaning can keep your metallic and lamé garments looking their best.
Common concerns with metallic fabrics
Manufacturers create metallic fabrics by spraying a metallic finish on the surface of the material. The metallic finish is less durable than other materials and only resists wear and cleaning in a limited capacity. Perspiration and body contact can remove or discolor the metallic finish on garments, and if the items are sheer, jewelry and rough furniture edges may cause abrasion and snagging.
Cleaning metallic fabrics
To keep metallic fabric clothing looking its best, it requires cleaning immediately following wear to remove soils, perspiration, and stains before they react with and damage the finish of the material. When a metallic fabric item of clothing suffers stains from soft drinks, fruit juice, mixed drinks and other liquids, it can cause a bleaching or discoloring effect on the coating. Most metallic fabric items carry the “dry clean only” label, but it’s important to check with the professional cleaner first to ensure they can provide the best results. Sometimes metallic fabric garments lose their finish even after only a few moments of dry cleaning, and if this happens, you should consider returning the item to the original store of purchase.
Evolution of lamé clothing
Vintage lamé fabric consisted of real metallic threads of silver, copper and gold woven into the garment, but over time, the metallic threads would tarnish. Today’s lamé fabrics come in a variety of colors and consist of knit or woven textiles containing a combination of polyester or nylon yarns and metallic coated fibers. By using synthetic fibers in the garments, the manufacturers create clothing that’s lighter, easier to handle during creation and easier to maintain with proper care.
Caring for lamé clothing
Unlike metallic clothing sprayed with a finish, lamé clothes with metallic threads woven through them are sometimes machine washable. It’s important to check the label before trying to wash lamé clothing though as most items are dry clean only because they have a lining that helps the garment maintain its shape and structure. That lining and interfacing may not be machine washable and requires dry cleaning. Similar to metallic fabric clothing, lamé clothing is delicate, and friction may snap or damage the metallic yarn. When you wear lamé clothing, avoid rough surfaces that can cause tears or snags.
Spot treatment of lamé clothing
The metallic yarn in lamé may tarnish when exposed to perspiration and stains, but it’s possible to remove them if you’re careful. Mix salt and lemon juice together and apply it to the tarnished area carefully with a cotton swab. Let it sit for a while and then use a clean white cloth dampened with water to blot away the tarnish. For surface stains on lamé, use the edge of a spoon or blunt knife to lift away any solid residue and avoid rubbing because it will press the stain further into the material. Once you remove the solid residue, blot the stain with a clean white cloth, apply clean water and then blot again. Take any stained lamé items to a professional cleaner as soon as possible to reduce the chance of permanent damage.
“Rexess metallic yarn” by rexess – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rexess_metallic_yarn.jpg#/media/File:Rexess_metallic_yarn.jpg