Dos and don’ts
5-step guide to washing African mud cloth
Check the care instructions: Review any care instructions provided by the manufacturer or artisan. Follow their guidelines if available.
Prepare for handwashing: Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water. Gather a mild detergent suitable for delicate fabrics and a clean towel for drying.
Gently wash the mud cloth: Immerse the mud cloth in the water and add a small amount of the mild detergent. Swish the cloth gently in the water, being careful not to scrub vigorously. Allow it to soak briefly to loosen dirt and stains.
Rinse thoroughly: Drain the soapy water and refill the basin with clean water. Rinse the mud cloth by gently agitating it in the water to remove any remaining detergent. Repeat the rinsing process if necessary until the water runs clear.
Air dry carefully: Gently squeeze out excess water from the mud cloth without wringing or twisting the fabric. Lay it flat on a clean towel or hang it in a shaded area to air dry. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight to prevent color fading. Once dry, you can iron the cloth with a low heat setting if desired.
Can I machine wash African mud cloth?
While handwashing is generally recommended for African mud cloth to preserve its integrity, some mud cloths may be machine washable on a delicate or gentle cycle. However, it is crucial to check the care instructions provided by the manufacturer or artisan for specific guidelines. When machine washing, use a mild detergent and ensure the water temperature and cycle settings are appropriate for delicate fabrics.
Can I use bleach to remove stains from African mud cloth?
No, it is not recommended to use bleach or any harsh chemicals on African mud cloth, as they may damage the fabric or cause colors to fade. Instead, opt for gentle cleaning methods like handwashing with a mild detergent. If you encounter stubborn stains, try spot cleaning with a mild stain remover specifically formulated for delicate fabrics, and test it on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t affect the colors or fabric.
How do I prevent color fading when washing African mud cloth?
To prevent color fading when washing African mud cloth, there are a few steps you can take. First, always wash the cloth in lukewarm water, as hot water can cause colors to bleed or fade. Additionally, avoid exposing the mud cloth to direct sunlight during drying, as prolonged exposure can cause fading. Use a mild detrgent suitable for delicate fabrics and rinse the cloth thoroughly to remove any residual detergent that could contribute to color fading. Finally, if you choose to iron the cloth, use a low heat setting and iron it on the reverse side or with a pressing cloth to protect the fabric and colors.