HOW TO CLEAN A TIE: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
The right tie can elevate any look, and give you just the right touch of gentlemanly professionalism. Ties also allow you to make your wardrobe more versatile, as it is another element that you can mix and match with different shirts and suits for infinite outfit combinations. Even if you’re working with a limited number of ties, a new knot can easily add some variety. However, an unkempt tie will make you look sloppy, no matter how formal the rest of your look may be. Your ties must be properly cared for so that they last as long as possible, and so they keep you looking good as long as possible. There’s a lot of speculation regarding the best ways to care for ties, but we’ve pulled together the definitive list of everything you must know so that your ties live a long, happy life and so you can keep on looking sharp.
Everyday Tie Maintenance
Every evening when you get home from work, though you probably want to get your tie off as quickly as possible, taking a minute to remove your tie properly can make all the difference. Do NOT pull the thin end of your tie through the knot, or else you run the risk of ruining the tie’s shape. Instead, take off your tie by simply following the tie-tying steps in reverse. Another no-no is leaving the knots in your ties when not in use. This is a sure way to create permanent creases in your tie that will leave it looking disheveled and limp.
Storing Your Ties
Ties are delicate and easily disfigured. After you are finished properly removing your tie, hang it up immediately to let the creases fall out. Though rolling your ties and placing them in a drawer doesn’t necessarily damage them*, in the long term, draping your ties on a tie rack or hanger will better retain its form and reduce wrinkling. Investing in a tie rack will make your tie storing and organizing much easier, and your ties will last longer to boot.
*The exception to this rule is knit ties. These ties fare better being rolled up loosely and stored, so that the knit doesn’t stretch out and lose its shape.
Cleaning Your Ties
Unlike regular clothing, it is best to only clean your ties when they are dirty rather than after each wear. Washing ties is a risky game, but if you are careful, attentive to the kind of fabric the tie is made out of, and patient, everything should go smoothly! While some people will tell you that certain ties can be machine washed and machine dried, we believe that the more careful you are, the better. All ties should be either hand washed or dry cleaned, depending on the material. Air drying your ties is also the safest way to go, so that the lining isn’t damaged or weakened. Check out all the specifics for each material below!
One of the world’s most luxurious materials, silk is a natural protein fiber produced by insects and cultivated most commonly in China and India. It is one of the most coveted fabrics in the world, and also one of the most difficult to clean. But, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done!
Wool is a natural fiber produced by sheep, goats, llamas, and alpacas. Wool is very soft and highly insulating, but it requires a decent amount of care to remain in mint condition.
Linen is a fiber made from the flax plant. Though labor-intensive to make, the fabric is extremely light and breathable. Linen is a go-to fabric for hot weather, and are an ideal choice for spring and summer. Linen is extremely susceptible to wrinkles, so extra care should be taken to hang linen ties on a tie rack whenever they are not being cleaned or worn.
Cotton fibers are derived from the cotton plant. Cotton is very durable and dries quickly. However, it also wrinkles easily and will shrink when introduced to heat, so be careful!
Seersucker is a fabric that was originally created in India and named for its unique texture, said to resemble the smoothness of milk and the roughness of sugar. The fabric is lightweight, typically made from cotton, and is easy to care for.
Knit ties are crafted with 100% durable microfibers, and give any outfit a unique, contemporary, and classic edge.
Microfiber is a synthetic fiber that is very elastic and known for its moisture-wicking capabilities. Microfiber ties are very soft to the touch, and similar to silk–but much easier to clean!
Polyester is a synthetic material that is similar to cotton but even more durable. It is wrinkle-resistant, water-resistant, quick to dry, and it will not shrink.
Faux leather is cheaper, more durable, and more versatile than genuine leather. It provides a very similar texture to that of real leather, making it a more cost-effective alternative.
Removing Wrinkles and Stains
Cleaning a stain out of your ties is never fun, nor is it easy. As much as we could stress the importance of exercising caution when wearing a tie, accidents do happen. If you do get a stain on your tie, act as quickly as possible. Blot the stain on your tie with a cloth immediately–never try to rub it out, though, as that will only make it worse. If the stain is water-soluble, use seltzer water, club soda, or tonic on the tie as you are blotting. If the stain is oil-based, apply talcum powder or cornstarch immediately to lift the stain off the tie. Let the powder sit for a few hours and then brush it off and clean with a soft cloth. Depending on the stain, you may need to repeat this process one or two more times to completely lift the stain. If you have tried all of these steps and the pesky stain is still hanging around, then take it to the dry cleaner’s. Be sure to specifically ask that they do not press your ties, which can cause their rolled edges to flatten and lose shape.
Packing Ties For Travel
When traveling with ties, always pack them by rolling, not folding. Roll your ties starting with the small end first and individually bag them with Ziploc bags. Then, place them in packed shoes so that they are safe and sound for the journey. An alternative to this method is to purchase a travel tie case. These tend to take up more room, but are very effective for keeping your ties safe and sound. When you arrive at your destination and if the ties are wrinkled, just hang them in your bathroom and run a hot shower–steam and gravity work wonders!
When properly cared for, a good tie can last a lifetime. Follow these steps, take all the necessary precautions, and your ties (and you!) will be looking good for years to come.