Jewellery on a red velvet cloth.

How to care for velvet

Velvet is beautiful, but can be hard to look after. Here's how to avoid mishaps and keep your velvet clothes looking good for longer.

Cleaning velvet

Due to the pile on velvet, it can be difficult to clean, and most velvet is dry clean only. Always patch test a small discrete area to check the treatment works without damaging the fabric.

Stain removal

  • If the garment has a stain, gently brush the velvet around the area of the stain with a soft clothes brush or lint free cloth to try and remove it. Then use a clean lint-free cloth dampened with tepid water, dab the stain gently, moving up and down (avoid using too much pressure as this can actually push the stain further into the pile).
  • If the stain is still visible, mix some washing-up liquid with warm water and whisk until it forms a good amount of suds. Then use the cloth to apply the suds to the stained fabric, and dab until the stain disappears. Remove the residue by dabbing with a dry lint-free cloth. Ensure you do a patch test in an inconspicuous area first before tackling the stain using this method.
  • Blot with a dry cloth to remove excess water and then brush the pile back in to place.

If the stain is still obvious after trying these methods, it is best to get the garment dry cleaned.

Wash or dry clean?

Please read the care label on your garment to work out if it is safe to wash or if it needs to be dry cleaned. If the velvet is made from cotton or silk, it is advisable to have it dry-cleaned as the pile, colour and shape of the garment can be ruined if washed. If the velvet is made from an easy-care synthetic fabric, it should be possible to wash it.

Washing/drying velvet

For information - biological and non-biological detergents are not suitable for washing velvet as they contain ingredients which make the washing solution alkaline. Alkaline solutions can affect the dyes used in velvet resulting in colours fading or running. Therefore it is best to use mild soap flakes.

  • Treat any stains before washing, as the stain can ‘set’ the pile of the fabric.
  • Dissolve soap flakes in lukewarm water (max 30°C).
  • Add the garment and gently agitate it, very lightly rubbing any stains.
  • Gently squeeze the excess washing water out (do not wring or twist as this will damage the fabric).
  • Rinse the item in changes of lukewarm water until all soap residue has been removed.
  • Gently squeeze to remove excess water, then air dry the garment by hanging it on a strong coat hanger. However, if the garment is made of stretch velvet it is best to dry it on a flat surface.
  • Use a soft clothes brush to brush the nap into the correct direction as the garment dries (NB - only brush in one direction).

Pressing velvet

Tip: Do not iron velvet – this ruins the nap/pile. NEVER use steam on silk velvet or crushed velvet items as the heat will damage them.

You can effectively remove creases and restore the pile by hanging the garment on a strong clothes hanger and either:

  • Placing it in a steamy bathroom.
  • Using a steamer, hover approx. 10cm from the surface of the fabric, keeping it moving in the direction of the nap.
  • Using an iron on a steam setting, hover approx. 10cm from the surface of the velvet, keeping it moving in the direction of the nap – do not touch the velvet with the iron.

If it is badly creased:

Lay a spare piece of velvet (which does not leach dye) onto your ironing board. Place your garment on top of it ensuring the right side (pile) touches the pile of the fabric on the board. Using the iron or a steamer, hover over the velvet to remove the creases. Hang to dry.

Find out more about the different types of velvet