How to wash fancy dress clothes

31 October 2017


Halloween is here, and New Year’s Eve is just around the corner, which can mean only one thing; fancy dress!

If like us, you love nothing more than pretending to be someone (or something) else for a night, or have a small child who loves being a superhero or princess, then you will know the struggle of trying to wash fancy dress clothes.

All that food, drink, and dancing can leave the clothes a little less than desirable. Couple that with locking them away for a year, and you can be left with some seriously stinky fancy dress clothes.

Often, these items are made of synthetic fabrics, and they don’t come cheap. Can you afford to keep throwing them out instead of washing them? 

Here at Goodman Sparks, we are passionate about keeping fabrics clean, which is why we have compiled our best tips for washing fancy dress clothes.

1) Consider the Dry Cleaners

Dry cleaners have special chemicals and processes for washing delicate fabrics. At our dry cleaners in Sheffield for example, we use special chemicals to break down grease and stains without damaging the fabric.

2) Use Miele WetCare to wash fancy dress clothes

If you don’t like the idea of harsh chemicals being used on your little one’s fancy dress outfits, then the Miele WetCare service from Goodman Sparks could be what you are looking for.

It uses water and very gentle detergents in special machines to clean delicate clothes effectively, at very low temperatures. It can handle even the most awkward of fabrics, including leather, angora, and pure wool.

3) Read the labels

If you aren’t sure how to wash your fancy dress clothes, have a look at the label and it will tell you what you need to know. Here are the common dry-cleaning symbols. If you can't see those, or the dreaded hand wash symbol, you are probably ok to wash the clothes in your washing machine at home. Just follow the heat guides on the labels.


4) Learn to hand wash

Handwashing garments isn’t as scary or laborious as it seems. All you need is a clean tub or sink, some mild detergent, and a bit of patience.

Fill a clean sink or basin with lukewarm water and add the detergent. It is best to use colourless detergent to prevent stains. You can even buy special hand wash detergent, which will be gentle enough for even the most delicate of fabrics.

Soak the fancy dress costume in the basin for a few minutes, and then gently agitate it. You could swish it from side to side, or swill it around, but don’t rub it together. Be careful not the cram too much into the basin, or your clothes won't come out clean.

For really stubborn stains, leave the clothes to soak for a bit longer and change the water before you start sluicing.

Tip the dirty water out and give the clothes a good rinse in lukewarm water. If you can, wring them out, but don’t do this is the fibres are likely to twist, matt, or become misshapen. If you can’t wring them, dry them flat on a surface that will allow the water to drain away, for example a draining board.

5) Treat stains quickly

Whatever it is you, or your child, have spilt on the fancy dress costume, washing it quickly is the key. Don’t allow the stain to set.

Be sure to soak ‘organic’ stains, such as blood, or fat, in cool water, as water that is too hot can make the stain permanent. Other types of stains can be treated with warm water.

Dab the stain from behind it, so from inside the garment, and place it face down on a towel or piece of kitchen roll to dry. That way, the stain leeches out of the fabric, rather than further into it.

For red wine, sprinkle salt on the affected area whilst it is still wet, and leave it. The salt will absorb the wine. Do not dab or pat it.

6) Dry your garments flat

Hanging garments on washing lines or over chairs can cause them to pull and stretch. Even clothes pegs can leave unattractive marks in them. The best way to dry freshly washed fancy dress clothes is to dry them flat.

Using a drying board with holes in will let the water drain away and air circulate.

Turning the clothes every couple of hours or so will make sure they dry on both sides and will prevent mould setting up a home.

Get in Touch

Following this simple guide will help to keep your favourite fancy dress costume clean and smelling great for many years to come.

For more advice and information, get in touch with us. We love to talk anything to do with laundry. You can fill in the enquiry form here, email us on or phone on 0114 258 9614.

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