Velvet fabric is luxurious and expensive. Traditionally associated with royalty, velvet grew in popularity with the general masses as industrial methods of velvet production took root. Velvet is a material that can be produced from a variety of fabrics, such as silk or wool, or synthetic fibers such as nylon or polyester. Velvet needs special care and maintenance, without which it could become permanently deformed or damaged.
Most velvet fabrics cannot be cleaned at home. Before you wash a velvet garment or piece of upholstery, you must carefully read the cleaning instructions attached. If your velvet fabric has been marked “dry-clean only,” never attempt to clean it yourself. Use the services of a reliable professional garment cleaner. If the fabric can be cleaned, there are some steps you must follow to ensure safe cleaning.
To wash velvet, turn it inside out, so the pile side is not rubbed directly. Wash it with a gentle detergent. Avoid using the washer, since gentle hand washing will be best. Similarly, avoid using the dryer, as high temperatures could damage the fabric. Do not hang dry velvet on a line, because it can leave a permanent mark on the pile. Hang dry the velvet on a padded, soft hanger.
With use and cleaning, velvet can show a tendency to pill. Short threads from the fabric pile get tangled together and form small balls on the surface of the fabric. You can minimize pilling by taking care of the fabric and limiting exposure to high temperatures, wear and tear.
Velvet has a tendency to crease and wrinkle with use. However, ironing on an iron board will flatten the pile permanently. For minor wrinkles and creases, you can just leave the velvet garment on a padded hanger in a warm, moist bathroom that has just been used. If you need to iron the fabric, you must have a velvet board or a needle board, which has many needles perpendicular to the surface. Place the pile of the velvet garment on the needles of the needle board when you steam or iron the velvet cloth. This will prevent flattening or crushing of the pile.
If you do not have a needle board, simply place a thick pile of towels underneath the velvet. Place the pile side of the velvet against the towels as you iron the fabric. Never use high temperatures or iron for long intervals. Only iron the back side of the velvet.
If you fold and store your velvet garments, you may find folding lines when you retrieve the items from storage. It is best to store velvet in the original packaging, taking care not to reverse the direction of the fabric pile. If you fold and store velvet, place soft tissue in the middle of the folds. You can also maintain the look of the fabric by rolling it in the direction of the pile, with the pile on the inside as you roll. If you store velvet on hangers, only use padded hangers.