People often ask me how to clean clothes decorated with wooden buttons.
I guess the answer may differ for everyone. If you are a person taking great care of your clothes, you will probably want to take extra precautions. If you think it’s normal that clothes change slightly with washing, you may favor the quicker method.
Here’s what the experts say:
« Wooden buttons should be washed with mild soap or dry cleaned. »
It’s true that generally speaking, wood doesn’t get well with water. Yet I don’t trust dry cleaning much either, do you? (it’s not very eco friendly, on top of being expensive)
As for myself, I washed wooded buttons in my washing machine with regular soap (biodegradable) several times without altering their qualities. This does not guarantee it won’t be the case for you, as it depends a lot on the button and its finishing. You also need to know that oftentimes, it’s the dryer which damages most your buttons (and fabrics too). So I always hang dry my favorite clothes so that they will remain beautiful longer.
I find the best option is to hand wash the clothes, avoiding to let the wooden buttons stay in water too long so that they won’t absorb too much water. Stay away from scouring soap, bleach and the dryer.
Other suggestions you may also like:
- Cover the buttons! A little foil over the buttons will protect them from the water. Add a layer of paper towel or any other absorbing material between the button and foil for added security. If the button is made of raw wood, rub it with some « Murphy » type soap or light oil before safely covering it in foil.
- Don’t sew the buttons on your clothing item. You may use any other method (like a safety pin) to attach your wooden buttons. Then you only need to remove the buttons before washing the item.
When the clothes are dry, you may polish the button with a clean piece of cloth.
In an upcoming article I’ll show you how to make button protectors.