Made from protein fibre produced by the silkworm (the finest silk fibre is produced by worms that eat mulberry leaves), this ancient material connotes fabulous wealth and exotic locales.

It is expensive and must be treated accordingly. Most silk is dry-clean only, since laundry detergents can harm silk.

If the care label says that hand washing is OK, use a mild soap and lukewarm water. Never use bleach with silk.

When ironing, iron inside out on low heat.



Developed in the late 1950s, spandex is lightweight, durable and known for being flexible.

That’s why it turns up in swimming costumes, pantihose and tights. (Lycra is simply a brand name for spandex.)

You can machine or hand wash spandex. Don’t use chlorine bleach, however.

Either let it drip-dry or put it in a dryer on a low setting.

When ironing spandex, use a low temperature setting and iron in swift strokes, never letting the iron linger in one spot.



A natural fibre that comes from sheep, wool has been around for thousands of years.

It is known for its warmth and ability to shed wrinkles.

There are many types of wool and different ways to care for it.

Generally speaking, you should dry-clean wool at least once a season or when needed

.You can also hand wash wool.

Since wool loses its shape when wet, when washing a wool jumper, first lay the jumper out on a piece of clean paper and trace the shape.

You’ll use this for laying the jumper out while drying.

Use warm water and a mild detergent that contains no bleach. Don’t soak. Rinse well.

To dry, roll the jumper in a clean towel and squeeze out excess water.

Put a piece of plastic over the pattern you made, to prevent dyes from the paper from bleeding onto the jumper.

Pat the jumper out to fit the shape.

Smooth out wrinkles.

If the item needs pressing, use light steam and a press cloth.

1. Trace your wool jumper’s shape before washing.

2. To remove excess water roll the jumper in a towel (see below right) and then pull back into shape to dry.

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