Brushing Clothes

Brushing is the first step in clothes care, it freshens the fabric and and removes lint, dust, pollen and other matter from the cloth. A lint roller is not a substitute for a clothes brush as a lint roller will only remove matter from a fabric’s surface. Brushing also removes embedded dirt below the surface, which may stiffen and damage the fabric.

It is especially important to brush clothes before pressing and steaming as the moisture will dissolve the dirt and drive it further into the fabric and can cause staining.

Brush with long strokes against the nap (usually from the bottom of the garment to the top) and then down using long strokes. For areas with stubborn matter flick the brush using your wrist. Never use a scrubbing motion (back and forth) or excessive force as this can damage the fabric. Remember, the point of brushing is to release dust from the fabric and remove other matter. It is not a method of deep cleaning.

Take care not to damage buttons, other fasteners or any decorative elements by hitting them with the brush handle. Never brush wet or damp fabrics as brushing may damage the fabric.

The Equipment List

  • Clothes Brush

  • Coat Hanger

  • Pants Hanger

  • Ironing Board or Table

1. Remove the belt and any items from all the pockets 

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Finer fabrics (and the item in the pocket) could be damaged by the brush, especially if the handle hits the object.

2.  Brush the neck area of the collar, outer and back

I find it easier to hold the Jacket or place it on a flat surface. Turn up the collar (flatten it). Brush the outside of the collar by supporting it in the palm of your hand and holding with your thumb. Brush against the nap and then down again. Work from one side of the collar to the other. Turn over and repeat on the other side. If the collar is lined with felt be gentle and take care not stretch the fibers.

3. Place the jacket on a table, ironing board or coat hanger

Use a jacket hanger that will support the jackets’ shoulders and not a wire hanger.

4. Brush the inside of the hip pockets

Turn the hip pockets inside out and brush away any lint. Replace the pocket lining. If the pocket has a flap ensure it isn’t tucked into the pocket as the edges may crease.

5. Brush the shoulders. Brush the front and back of each sleeve.

If the suit has “Surgeon’s Cuffs” (functioning buttons) occasionally undo the buttons and brush inside the vent and around the inside of the cuff. If the buttons are stitched on the cuff: brush around and between them, then brush the vent and inside the cuff (roll the cuff back if needed).

6. Brush the back, the lapels and the front.

When brushing the back include the cloth inside the vent(s).  For the lapels, with the collar up brush behind the lapels and any cloth inside the Jacket. Brush the front and then return the collar lapels flat and hang the jacket.

7. Steps for the pants (trousers) 

Turn the pant pockets inside out and brush any away any lint. If pockets have a flap ensure it isn’t tucked into the pocket as the edges may crease.

8. Lay the pants flat on a table or ironing board (leg on leg)

Brush from the leg opening to the waistband and then back down. If the Pants have cuffs fold them back and brush the dust/dirt out. Check where the cuffs are stitched in case sand (or even a small stone) has stuck here. If there is a lot of dust and debris in the cuffs it is often faster to start by brushing both the cuffs at the same time over a trashcan.

9. Brush the inside of the other leg

Fold the top leg back (leg opening up towards the waist) to expose the inside of the lower leg. Brush from the leg opening to the waistband and then back down. Brush the front and the seat of the pants by folding the fabric back.

Next unfold the pants. Turn the pants over. Repeat the steps above and then hang the pants.

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