Ankara, or African print fabric as it is more commonly called, is a cotton fabric with several colours of dye and patterns printed using wax. The Ankara fabric is delicate and should be tended to and washed with care so that they will remain in the same fabulous condition that you bought them. I remember how bad I felt when I had to stop wearing my favourite Ankara dress after the colour had worn out and the dress was no longer attractive and shiny. Since then, when I wash my Ankara dresses and tops, I use the following tips and they have kept their vibrancy for longer and do not appear worn out.
- Avoid mixing Ankara clothes and other clothes. If you must, apply a cleaning agent to a hidden seam of the garment then dab the surface with a white cotton cloth to test its colourfastness. In case the colour of the Ankara stains the white cloth, do not wash this Ankara with other clothes.
- Turn all Ankara clothes inside out before washing, especially if you are using a washing machine.
- Use mild bar soap when hand washing your clothes. Detergents and bleaches should not be used because they could be harsh on the fabric.
- To remove stains on your Ankara, you can put a little vinegar or baking soda in the washing water and remember to rinse well after washing.
- When hand washing or when using the washing machine, use cold water or lukewarm water.
- Skip the spin cycle of the washing machine and wash with the gentle cycle.
- Wash with a teaspoon of salt to keep the fabric dye in place, seal the colour, and prevent it from bleeding.
- The sun fades fabric colours, so be sure not to dry your Ankara too long in the sun. The best way to dry it is under a shade rather than under direct sunlight.
- Do not tumble dry your African print clothes. When you twist or wring your clothes to dry, the colour will fade very quickly.
- When ironing your Ankara clothing, turn it inside out so that the colours are preserved.
- Iron on low heat or on the setting for cotton fabrics. If the fabric has linen or lace on it, adjust the iron to the setting that is appropriate for the clothing.
All in all, it is important not to wash Ankara clothes often. I recommend wearing it only once and air drying it. Frequent washing will make it fade faster.
Simple and straightforward, these steps can be performed in just a few minutes. Follow these tips to ensure that your Ankara clothes are maintained, they have an increased life span, and they look newer with each wash.
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Dresses and tops shown in this post can be purchased in the shop section of this website.