How to Wash African Print Fabric: Guided Steps

How to Wash African Print Fabric: Guided Steps

African wax print fabric is not just a material; it's a piece of vibrant culture and a canvas of intricate designs. Whether you have a stunning African wax print dress, a colourful head wrap, or unique home decor, knowing how to care for these pieces is essential to preserve their beauty. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps to wash and maintain African wax print fabric, ensuring that your cherished items stay as bright and colourful as the day you got them.

Keep reading until the end for an exciting fabric revelation!

Understanding African Wax Print Fabric

Before we dive into washing, it's crucial to understand this distinctive fabric. African wax print fabric is made from 100% cotton and typically features bold, eye-catching patterns and colours. These designs have cultural significance and often tell stories. The wax print is created using a wax-resist dyeing technique, resulting in a unique texture and vibrant colours.

 1. Check the Care Label (if available)

The first step in washing African wax print fabric is to check the care label. While most African wax print fabric items are made of cotton, there might be specific care instructions provided. Always follow the manufacturer's recommendations if available.

A bundle of african wax print fat quarters with a blue colour at the front and many other colours at the back.

2. Hand Washing African Wax Print Fabric

For most African wax print fabric items, hand washing is the safest method. Here's how to do it:

  • Fill a Basin: Use a basin or a clean sink. Avoid using hot water, as it can cause the fabric to lose its vibrant colours.
  • Use Mild Detergent: Choose a mild detergent. Harsh detergents can damage the fabric and fade the colours. Gently dissolve the detergent in the water.
  • Submerge the Fabric: Place your African wax print fabric item in the water. Gently agitate the water with your hands, ensuring even distribution of the detergent.
  • Soak and Rinse: Allow the fabric to soak for 10-15 minutes. Do not scrub or wring the fabric. After soaking, rinse thoroughly with cold water until all detergent is washed out.
  • Dry with Care: To dry, gently press the fabric between clean, dry towels to remove excess water. Lay it flat on a clean, dry towel and reshape it if necessary. Avoid wringing or hanging, as this can cause stretching and deformation.
close up of a washing tag and hand holding it

3. Machine Washing

Some African wax print fabric items may be machine washable. If the care label allows, follow these steps:

  • Use Cold Water: Select a gentle cycle with cold water. Hot water can lead to colour fading.
  • Use a Gentle Detergent: Choose a mild, colour-preserving detergent. 
  • Turn the Fabric Inside Out: To protect the vibrant print, turn the fabric inside out before placing it in the machine.
  • Use a Laundry Bag: For added protection, place the fabric in a laundry bag or pillowcase.
  • Skip the Spin Cycle: To prevent excessive wringing and potential colour damage, skip the spin cycle.
  • Air Dry: After washing, gently reshape the fabric and let it air dry. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can cause colours to fade.

4. Stain Removal

Accidents happen, and stains may occur. If you encounter a stain on your African wax print fabric, gently blot the area with a clean cloth and cold water. Do not rub vigorously, as this can damage the fabric and spread the stain. If the stain persists, consider professional dry cleaning to avoid colour alteration.

5. Ironing and Storage

To maintain the fabric's crispness, iron it inside out with a warm iron. Always store your African wax print fabric items in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent colour fading.

Additional Tips for Washing African Print Fabric:
  1. Avoid harsh chemicals: Refrain from using bleach or other harsh chemicals that can damage the fabric and alter its colours.
  1. Regular maintenance: Spot clean stains as they occur to prevent the need for frequent washing.
  1. Avoid wringing: Never wring out your African print fabric as it can distort the shape and damage the fabric.
  1. Ironing: If necessary, iron your fabric inside out with a cool iron. Avoid direct contact between the iron and the printed side.
  1. Dry cleaning: For valuable or highly intricate pieces, consider professional dry cleaning to maintain their beauty.

By following these steps and taking proper precautions, you can enjoy your African print fabric for years to come. African prints are renowned for their vibrant colours and striking designs, and with the right care, your fabric will continue to be a source of beauty and inspiration in your life. Remember, the key to maintaining these beautiful fabrics is proper care, ensuring they continue to captivate with their colourful brilliance.

We have something special for you! A fresh collection of stunning new fabrics. Explore our wide range of African wax print fabrics and embark on your creative projects with confidence. Shop our fabrics here.

Looking for ready-made garments? We've got you covered! Explore our curated clothing collection to find the perfect piece that suits your style. Shop clothing here.

Ever wondered about the vibrant colours's impact on your well-being? Dive into our captivating blog series to unravel the fascinating stories here.

Ready to embark on a DIY journey? Create your unique fashion statement with our sewing patterns. Whether you're a novice or a pro, you'll find the perfect design here.

Shop Adaku Parker's second book "Sewing for Children with African Wax Print Fabric" here.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that moving forward, you can find our complete range of fabrics and pattern books exclusively on our Etsy store. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation during this transition period. Should you have any questions or need assistance, feel free to reach out to our dedicated customer support team. 

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1 comment

I have some of your lovely fabrics and will make bags. Do I need to wash them first??

Angela Jobbins

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