How to Care for Clothes With Sequins

Young smiling woman at a summer music festival wearing multi-coloured sequinned jacket, taking picture with smartphone.
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Sequined clothes and linens bring a bit of sparkle to our wardrobe and homes but they need some special care to keep them shiny and bright. How you care for your sequined clothes depends on what type of fabric is under the sequins, how many sequins are attached, and how the garment is made.

How to Care for Clothes With Sequins

First things first, always check the garment label to see what the manufacturer recommends. Some sequined clothes are machine washable or hand washable; others are dry clean only. Even if you are experienced at laundry, believe the label.

While most sequins will not be harmed by gentle washing, the base fabric or how the garment is made can be ruined by washing. For example, a sequined jacket has interfacings that give it structure and if they get wet, the jacket will loose its shape. 

It also depends on whether the sequins are attached with thread or glue. Some glues will melt in dry cleaning solutions. A professional dry cleaner will know how to properly clean the garment. Do not use a home dry cleaning kit to clean sequined clothes.

If the sequined garment has a stain, try spot-cleaning the stain first. Mix a solution of one teaspoon liquid dishwashing detergent with one cup cool water. Mix well and then use a cotton swab dipped in the solution to remove the stain. Work between the embellishments to reach the fabric as well as the stain on the surface of the embellishments. Keep blotting with a clean white cloth or paper towel as the stain is loosened. When the stain is gone, blot well with a cloth dipped in plain water to "rinse" and, finally, blot with a dry white cloth  and allow to air dry.

Areas around the collar and cuffs that are not sequined can be cleaned with a white cloth dampened with the water and dishwashing detergent solution. Wipe the inside edges with the cloth until no more soil is transferred to the white cloth. Finish by wiping with a clean cloth dipped in water. Allow to air dry.

If the stain is very oily, you may need to use a dry cleaning solvent. Follow the product directions carefully and use as little cleaning solution as possible. Ink stains will require specific cleaning steps.

To freshen a sequined garment, use a fabric freshener spray only on the inside of the garment. Never spray the sequined areas because the spray can dull the sequin finishes.

How to Replace Sequins

Loose sequins? If the sequins have predrilled holes, they can be reattached with thread. Use a very thin, fine needle and a thread that matches the sequins. Tie a knot in the thread and draw it up to the surface from the wrong side of the fabric (knot will be on the wrong side). Use tiny stitches and reattached the loose sequins.

You can also use fabric glue. Use the least amount possible and allow it to dry completely before wearing the garment. SPECIAL NOTE: While some fabric glues are permanent, many fabric glues will not hold up to washing; so handwash the item every time or be prepared to reattach the sequins after washing.

Hand Washing Clothes With Sequins

Hand washing will be the most gentle method for cleaning a sequined blouse or sweater. Always completely button or zip all closures and turn the garment inside out. Use cool water and a detergent designed for hand washing. Do not scrub vigorously or wring the garment tightly. Too much agitation can bend or break the sequins.

Machine Washing Clothes With Sequins

If you choose to machine wash clothes with sequins, again button or zip the garment completely. Turn the garment inside out so that the sequins are protected. Place the garment in a mesh lingerie bag for protection. Always use the gentle cycle with a cold water wash and rinse and a mild detergent. Set the spin cycle on the lowest speed to prevent damage to the sequins.

Drying Clothes With Sequins

Skip the dryer. Never put sequined garments in an automatic dryer because the sequins or glue could melt. If the garment is made from a woven fabric, it can be hung to air dry. Knitted items with sequins and any especially heavy garment should be dried flat.

Removing Wrinkles from Clothes With Sequins

Never iron clothes with sequins. Even ironing on the wrong side with a pressing cloth can cause the sequins or glue to melt. If you must remove wrinkles, carefully use a clothes steamer. Steam on the wrong side and keep the steam wand at least twelve inches away from the fabric.

You can also remove wrinkles from sequined clothes by hanging them in a steamy bathroom for 30 minutes before wearing. Allow the garment to dry completely before wearing to avoid creating more wrinkles.