How to care for velvet clothing and household items

June 12, 2011

Velvet is one of winter’s fashion favorites, especially crushed velvets
and velvet garments with decorative trim. Many types of apparel are made
of velvet, including pants, dresses, gowns, coats, capes, and jackets.
Velvet is also popular for household items, such as furniture covers and

What is velvet?

has long been known as the fabric of royalty. At one time, blue velvet
was reserved solely for use by the French king, his family, and favored

Red velvet dressVelvets are made on a double action loom. Two layers of
fabric are woven at the same time, and the space between them is
interlaced with connecting yarns.

The two layers are then cut apart as they come off the loom, producing two pieces of fabric with an upright pile surface.

velvet is usually made of rayon, acetate, silk, or a blend of these
fibers and has a short, closely-woven pile. Velveteen is similar to
velvet, but it is usually made of cotton or cotton/polyester blend and
has a shorter pile. Finishes are often applied to velvets to keep the
pile erect and resilient, to secure the pile, or to give the fabric

What types of problems can velvets experience?

can experience a variety of problems, including a loss of pile,
flattening and matting, pilling and tufting, and shrinkage. Crushed
velvets have a tendency to experience a loss of design and distortion
from wear alone. Velvets made of acetate pose special problems: the pile
can become permanently flattened with moisture, heat, or pressure. As a
result, the pile on an acetate velvet dress is more likely to show the
effects of wear. Even greater flattening develops if the velvet is
brushed or if any pressure is put on it while wet.

How can you keep your velvets fit for royalty?

• Hang velvet garments in a well-ventilated closet after wearing.

• If a velvet garment gets wet, do not apply pressure, as this can flatten the pile.

• Do not iron velvets. Hang in the bathroom and steam the garment to remove any wrinkles.

• Clean velvet garments immediately after use.

• Shake excess spills from the fabric and allow to dry. Do not blot or apply any pressure in damp areas.

If you do get a stain on a velvet garment, our stain removal experts can help.