The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

Decked Out for Holiday Portraits

Family portrait

Cleaning fine washables for picture perfect portraits

Holiday portraits, with family members dressed in their best, are cherished momentos. Whether it's a once-in-lifetime event or a yearly tradition for your family, looking good is the goal.

Portrait-worthy Fabrics

Clothes that are clean and sparkling are the perfect complement to those smiling faces. To make sure your garments are portrait worthy, the American Cleaning Institute urges gentle care for fine fabrics:

  • Read and follow the instructions on the garment care labels.
  • For most delicates, a cold water wash is recommended. Always rinse in cold water.
  • If this is the first time the item is washed, check to make sure it is colorfast. Dip a cotton swab into a detergent solution and apply to an inconspicuous spot on the garment, such as a seam allowance. Let it dry and then compare the color to an untreated part of the garment. If the color has changed, the garment should be dry cleaned.

Tips for Machine Washing

  • Use the gentle cycle.
  • Consider using a laundry detergent formulated for delicate fabrics.
  • Check the detergent label for the proper amount to use. Generally, it's a full scoop of powder detergent or a full cap of liquid detergent per every two gallons of water.
  • Some fine washables have trims that need special protection. If that's the case, launder the garment in a net lingerie bag.
  • Let the detergent and the water agitate for a minute or two so any powder is fully dissolved and the detergent is evenly dispersed. Then add the clothes.
  • Dry in the dryer or dry flat, as instructed by the care label.

Tips for Hand Washing

  • Check the detergent label for the proper amount to use.
  • When hand washing silk fabric, do not rub. The friction can cause color loss.
  • After rinsing, roll the garment in a dry towel to remove excess moisture.
  • Dry flat, away from direct sunlight.