How to wash a dry-clean-only pleated skirt
I found this one a couple of weekends ago, for £4. It’s not tartan, but I do like the beige, black, red and dark green dogtooth pattern. It’s traditional, and while the mix of colours isn’t glaring from a distance, it means the skirt works well with tops and knits in similar shades. The only problem was, it wasn’t as clean as it could be, and the label said dry clean only. Did I want to spend as much as the skirt cost on cleaning it?
I looked at the label: polyester and wool. Both of those are washable. So why not the skirt? My guess was that washing could knock out the pleats. What was needed was a way to hold the pleats in place while the skirt was washed and dried. So, I came up with a way to wash my skirt. It’s quite easy. First, carefully tack every single pleat in place. You don’t have to fasten the tacking threads off, just leave a couple of inches of tail at either end. Needless to say, you should only do this with a wool or similarly coarse-fibred skirt, as the tacking would make holes and possibly even horrible pulls in satin, chiffon or other delicate fabrics. For wool it’s fine.
Next, gently handwash the skirt. If you start scrunching and rubbing too hard you could pull the threads out (not to mention felt the fabric in a garment with high wool content), so try to keep it fairly flat, and squeeze it rather than rub it. Wool is a pretty good fabric when it comes to shedding dirt, as is polyester, so I didn’t need to be too rough with mine.
Hang it up to dry. Make sure it dries in shape. With something containing wool, make sure it’s completely dry before ironing. Simply iron it with a DRY iron - steam can cause felting - then remove the tacking threads. I just grabbed one end of each thread and gave it a firm tug to remove it. Hey presto, a clean pleated skirt still in perfect shape.