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Silk Tie Care: Protecting and cleaning delicate silk neck ties

Storage, Care and Cleaning of Ties

Imagine that you would make knots in your suit pants several times a week. Even ironing them regularly could not prevent the fabrics from being ruined quickly. However, a silk tie endures being tied in a Windsor or Four-in-Hand over and over again without any problems – sometimes even over years. Minimum care of your ties will boost their life span.
It is most important to untie your necktie every time you take it off. You can do it quite gently like this: loosen tie first, then pull the loop over your head and at last open it completely. Then wrap the tie around your hand and place the bundle like this at least for the night. Crinkles and creases will usually be gone by the next morning, If not, a bit of hot steam from the iron will do. In case you actually do need to iron your tie, put a clean cotton or linen cloth between iron and silk. But never completely flatten your necktie with the iron, it is supposed to keep its tubular texture and shape.

It is better to treat creases only with steam by passing the iron closely along the necktie, but without actually touching it. The inlay of the tie will slowly “pop up” again from the dampness. An alternative is to run hot water into the bathtub and hang the tie in the foggy steam.

Occasionally, you should check if the label is still tight since it would be a pity if it were gone. Besides it appears untended if it is only hanging on one thread or sticks out on the side. Concerning Jacquard ties, you should check the rim once in a while for damage at the wider end since it does not look very attractive when the silk on the tip is fraying.

In principle, ties can be kept hanging or lying down. The single exception is knitted ties: they should always be stored horizontally because otherwise they might wear out. The cheapest method would be to hang the tie over the crossbar of a hanger. Even three or four of those hangers wont take up much space, but smooth ties might slide down. Watch out that sharp edges do not damage the fabric.

A rough pre-selection makes sense, e.g. one hanger for striped ties, another one for ties with motifs, one for ties with geometrical patterns etc., or you could sort your neckties according to colors. Alternatively you can use special tie hangers, which provide one individual bar for each tie. You should watch out for sharp edges that could damage the sensitive silk fabric.

Storing your ties is the same as other clothes: they should not hang too tightly in the closet so that the air can circulate sufficiently. Neckties need to be protected against the sun, dust, humidity and, if applicable, moths. If you have enough space in your closet for an extra drawer to keep ties wrapped up and clearly arranged, would be a delightful sight, and tedious searching within the shallows of his closet would become superfluous. Thus, you can either fold your ties in the middle (depending on the size of the drawer) or wrap them up. The latter will allow for a better appearance and at the same time will maintain the ties since creases will disappear with the wrapping.

Ties on Travels

When going on holidays, most men do not take ties along. It is more likely that they are required on a business trip. One should pack the ties carefully so that they make it to the destination uncreased.

Method one is to wrap the tie around your hand and then store it in a corner of the baggage so it will not be squished. Method two would be to put the wrapped up tie into the collar of a shirt. Method number three would be to fold the tie halfway and put it on top. Alternatively, you could also place it right at the bottom of your baggage since it lies there flat. Method four would be to - use a separate tie cover that holds one or two ties.

It would be a good idea to take some spare ties along on a business trip. If your single tie becomes stained, you would have no alternative. To minimize this risk, some travellers solely wear dark and this way naturally less sensitive ties. A good choice is rougher Jacquard silk since dirt cannot get deep into the fabric immediately, and with some luck you might even be able to remove it with a sharp item (e.g. a knife or the back of a knife).

Removing Stains from Ties

What to do when at breakfast time egg yolk spills on your tie or tomato sauce during the lunch break when having pasta? Rule number one: remove stains immediately, if possible. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, especially during a business meeting, but you should be able to take some emergency measures. First remove dirt, e.g. trying to carefully scratch off egg yolk with a clean knife (or back of knife) or to dab off tomato sauce with a napkin. Try to avoid rubbing in the unwanted substance deeper into the fabric. After that, the stain – depending on the kind - has to be treated further.

One way to remove greasy stains from the fabric could be to take a smooth cloth without fluff, put soap on it and try to rub the stain off. But this might lead to spreading the stain further on the tie, especially when you have dampened the cloth. A stain remover means less risk, but is not always at hand. Ethyl alcohol works really well and should be around in most cases. Because of the easy availability as well as the low cost many poeople tend to sear by it.

If this kind of stain removal did not work, you should give your tie to a dry-cleaner. But find out before, if they really handle your garment with care. The cheapest companies are not always the best. Otherwise the case might be, that your necktie will be completely flattened by ironing and thus lose all its volume. Ideally, you will find a specialist who will take apart handmade ties on request, and after cleaning and ironing will professionally sew the tie back together. Cleaning your necktie too often will damage the silk, thus, smaller stains should be removed with stain removers or ethyl alcohol.

For this reason it is better to leave silk ties in lighter colors back home in the closet when travelling or going on business trips. Even the smallest stains on such ties will catch somebody’s eye. On darker Jacquard small stains stay almost invisible.