Pre-washing instructions

Does Shweshwe require a pre-wash? Short answer: YES!

Why pre-wash?

  • In the old days all cotton textiles were coated with a starch solution to protect the fibres from rot, bugs and vermin. 
  • Shweshwe is a heritage product still made the same way as in the industrial revolution.
  • Shweshwe requires a pre-wash before cutting and sewing.

How do I pre-wash Shweshwe?

  • Soak your Shweshwe fabric in warm water and hang it out to dry: plain and simple. 
  • The sizing is water-soluble and will dissolve in warm water.
  • No detergents or washing machine required. 
  • If you choose to use the washing machine, it may be better to serge the edges of the fabric to reduce fraying from the agitation of the machine.

How do I fix the colour for indigo Shweshwe?

  • If you choose, you may do a subsequent rinse in lukewarm salty water to fix the colour of indigo prints.
  • You may use Colour Catcher sheets with Shweshwe.

Does Shweshwe shrink?

  • All fabrics with sizing shrink when they are pre-washed. 
  • The sizing coats the weave and when the sizing dissolves out, the weave settles and becomes stable in its new state.
  • Average shrinkage:  Warp – 9.5%  Weft – 0.7%

How do I wash Shweshwe items once they are sewn?

 Standard wash and care suggestions:

  1. Wash separately
  2. 40 degree Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) wash
  3. Do not bleach
  4. Do not use dryer
  5. Do not dry clean
  6. Warm iron