So you have bought a beautiful African wax print or Ankara dress, top or shirt. It probably did not come with care instructions so how do you care for it? How do you wash and dry it? Can you bleach it? Is it dry clean only? Don’t worry too much, we have all the answers. You can learn more about African print fabric here.
African wax print fabric is often printed on cotton fabric. This automatically means that caring for it is not going to break your bank. You can put your dry cleaning money away, or better yet spend it at our shop here! When it comes for caring for your wax print garment we will split it into three parts. That is washing, drying and ironing. Let’s start with washing, shall we?
Washing African wax print garments
Before you wash your beautiful bright garment test to see if the color runs so you wash it with similar colors or separately. This is not necessary for quality fabric but it’s always best to keep it safe. Contrary to popular belief African wax print fabric can be washed with a washing machine. Don’t mind people who say otherwise. It is true that hand washing is a good idea but only because this way you can show more love to your garments and not over wash them.
For machine washing keep the water cool and set the machine to a gentle wash setting. Remember that Ankara fabric is more of a t-shirt type of cotton than a pair of jeans. Always remember to use a very mild detergent when washing. Harsh detergents cause the fabric to fade a lot quicker over time. African print fabric is made using wax and soaps that are loaded with chemicals can easily cause the fabric to lose its colour so using bleach is an absolute no no! Don’t be that guy, use mild soap.
Drying your Ankara clothing
When the washing is done always rinse your garments thoroughly with clean water to get all the soap out. You can dry by hand on a line or by machine as well. A spin dry will never damage your fabric neither will tumble drying. The old fashion way of drying your garment on the line in the sun is just fine too. The only thing to note here is to avoid keeping clothes on the line in the sun for too long. The sun can be very harsh. Most African print garments will dry within 5 hours on a sunny day.
Ironing African wax print garments
Ironing is the easiest part when it comes to caring for African print clothing. No special settings are needed. The cotton fabric takes heat pretty well because it is a natural fibre. With a little bit of steam your ironing will be done in no time! If your garment has applique, rhinestones or beads ironing can be a bit tricky but for normal clothing it’s a walk in the park. Creases smoothen out pretty easily and so you can comfortably do without fabric spray. Having a steam iron is a plus though. Most African print clothes can not easily be straightened with just a regular steamer so ironing is recommended.
So there you have it, how to care for your African wax print or ankara clothes. We have heard some stories about this fabric lasting longer when salt is used in the water when washing garments? We can’t really tell how true this is though. Have you tried this before? What was the result? We would love to know!