How to Clean a Tie: Everything You Need to Know A complete guide to caring for, silk, wool, cotton, microfiber and more
The right necktie can elevate your look. But a stained or otherwise disheveled tie will make you look sloppy, no matter how formal the rest of your look may be. If you want your tie to perform at its best and last you through the years, it must be cared for properly. There’s a lot of speculation on how to best to care for ties, but we’ve pulled together the definitive list of everything you must know to give you ties a long and happy life.
[Still confused about tie knots? Read – How to Tie a Tie: Step by Step Videos for 6 Necktie Knots (opens in new window)]
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. If you forcefully yank your tie through the knot, you run the risk of ruining the tie’s shape. Instead, loosen the knot before removing and consider reversing the steps you took when tying it. 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 your tie looking rumpled and limp.
Storing Your Ties
Ties are delicate and easily disfigured. After you’ve gently removed your tie, hang it up immediately to help the creases from your knot 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 (opens in new window) will make your tie storing and organizing much easier, and your ties will last longer too.
The exception to this rule is square-tipped knit ties. These ties fare better being rolled up loosely and stored. This will ensure that your tie won’t stretch out or lose its shape.
Cleaning Your Ties
Unlike the rest of your laundry, it’s best to avoid cleaning a tie unless you have no other option. Washing ties is a risky game due to the delicate fabrics and meticulous stitching. But if you are careful and attentive to your ties needs, everything should go smoothly. While some people will tell you that some ties can be machine washed and machine dried, we have found this to be nothing more than wishful thinking. Ties should be either hand washed or dry cleaned, depending on the material. We also recommend air drying your ties in all cases — do not tumble dry or you may damage the integrity of the shell or lining. Follow the information below for best results.
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 from a tie is neither fun nor easy. Our first advice would be to exercise caution when wearing a tie to avoid accidents in the first place. If you do get a stain, 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 make the stain harder to remove. If the stain is water-soluble, use seltzer water or club soda 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 cleaners. 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 (opens in new window). 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 quality necktie can last a lifetime. Follow these steps, take all the necessary precautions, and you’ll be looking your best for years to come. For more info about how to remove stains from your favorite ties and shoes, check out our Ultimate Guide to Caring for Your Ties and Shoes (opens in new window).