Velvet is a luxurious, soft fabric that has been around since the Middle Ages. Originally made from silk, it was a fabric held exclusively for royalty or the very wealthy. Today, because silk is so expensive, most velvets are woven from nylon, acetate or rayon fibers to create a fabric with a thick, soft pile of cut or uncut loops. A similar fabric, velveteen, is manufactured using the same technique but from cotton fibers.
How to Care For Velvet Clothes
For best results, most velvet garments should be dry cleaned. This will protect the fabric and the interior structure of the garment. But to freshen the pile and remove creases that come from sitting, steam can be used on the wrong side of the fabric. A hand clothes steamer works well as does holding the garment over a pot of boiling water. In both cases, never allow the garment to become wet.
For very light wrinkles and to help remove odors like cigarette smoke or cooking odors, hanging the velvet garment over a bathtub filled with very hot water in a steamy bathroom may do the trick.
How to Iron Velvet Clothes
Technically, you should never iron velvet. Velvet should be steamed. Velvet fabric has a pile or extra fibers added to the weave of the fabric and then clipped to make the lush texture. Ironing will crush the fibers and leave a near-permanent imprint. If you use an iron to remove wrinkles, only allow the steam to penetrate the fabric.
Never place the face plate of the iron directly on the fabric!
How to Steam Velvet To Remove Wrinkles
To remove light wrinkles, hanging the garment in a steamy bathroom will probably work. After steaming, give the fibers a light brushing with a soft clothes brush.
A clothes steamer does the best job removing wrinkles and rejuvenating crushed pile.
Hang the garment and move the steamer up and down. Don’t hold the steamer too close to stay in one spot too long or you will damage the material. Use your hands to smooth and lightly shape areas. Use a good clothes brush to remove any lint and “fluff” the finish.
If if the velvet is more wrinkled than you think you can handle, take it to a good dry cleaner.