Does Shweshwe require a pre-wash? Short answer: YES!
- 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:
- Wash separately
- 40 degree Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) wash
- Do not bleach
- Do not use dryer
- Do not dry clean
- Warm iron