How to Care for Your African Print Clothing

Ankara Fabric - Ankarage

African Prints - Photo Source: Fabric Wholesale Direct

Like with most prints (or clothes in general), how you care for your African prints will be reflected in how long they will be available to serve you. Aside from ensuring you don’t mix up clothes with different colors in one load on your wash day, many have no clue that there are other (special) ways to care for their prints, in this case - African prints.

African apparels are a dynamic set, and with their intricate designs & range of colors; they often come across as hard-wearing and as a result, can be easily treated offhandedly. However, there are everyday tips in making sure that your prints get the right care that is quite lost on even the regular person that has been wearing African prints for the longest time. Nevertheless, practicing these learnable tips and tricks can elongate the wardrobe life of your African fabrics.

From our research and trials over the years, we came up with a concise list of how to care for your African prints and ensure that they stay brighter and longer. Take a quick scroll through the list and find out how best to care for your African print fabrics:

  1. Avoid Everyday Wash: It would be very wrong to hastily wash your African prints every time you wear them. One of the best approaches to elongating the lifespan of your prints while keeping them fresh is to hang them in the open immediately after wearing them. This method allows you get them refreshed while you keep the shine on your fabrics, and in addition, the colors don’t get to look washed-up too quickly. 
  1. Hand-Wash Gently Or Dry-clean: We have established in the first point that you don’t have to wash all the time, but then when you do have to wash, you have to ensure that you either gently hand-wash or dry clean. Fabrics with the tendency of running colors have a way of looking old in no time when rigorously washed or washed with harsh detergent. It is advised to wash with a mild soap and in lukewarm water.  
Confused as to how and where to start from if you've never hand-washed before? This video from Cleanipedia should do it.

3. Do The Test Before The Wash: Now the running part is most common amongst low-budget African Prints, but you might want to test to see if your African fabric would run to avoid a heartbreaking tale. You can do this by immersing a tiny piece (preferably the head wrap, if you have one) in water for a minute or two and squeeze it out; you would confirm that it is a running fabric if the water that comes out changes in color. Avoid everyday wash if fabric runs.

  1. Avoid Machine-Wash: It is almost never a good idea to machine-wash your African fabric as it quickly fades the fabric. However, if you must wash in a machine, check to see if it runs to avoid washing it with other clothes and destroying them in the process. If you must throw your African print clothing in the washing machine (we've been there before too), opt for a cold wash with like colors.

    If you are still in doubt on whether you should hand wash or not, this video of Tracee should convince you, we think.


    1. Find The Perfect Temperature to Iron: Most African prints are made of cotton, be sure to find the recommended temperature for pressing your African fabric. Like the test-wash, always start with the tiny inconsequential part when unsure, or even turn inside out to find out the perfect temperature.

     African Prints Ironing - Ankarage

    Ironing African Prints - Photo Source: Etsy

    1. Keep In an Airy Place: This is also a big one when it comes to caring for your African fabrics. After you have made sure that your fabric is well aired and dried, you don't want to expose it to more dampness. Always ensure that you fold neatly and keep in a saturated environment where it can get to breathe. This helps your fabric air-dry even while it’s tucked away.

    Do you have any particular way you have learned to care for your African fabrics overtime? Share with us!

    About the author: Modupe Ogundare is a creative writer who enjoys writing about the everyday life. When she’s not at her job as a digital strategist where she ensures her business clients are advantaged by her copy and marketing writing skills, she’s honing her skills on persuasive storytelling and photography. She volunteers on a few platforms and contributes for BellaNaija. She can't imagine a world without crepes and coke. She can be also be found on Medium





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