A pocket square is the perfect way to finish a professional and elegant look. Whether it’s for a full suit or a sport coat, it can be the best accessory to tie your whole look together. But it can’t do this all on its own.
Part of what helps a pocket square give your style a touch more class is proper care. It’s not enough to just put them back in your drawer at the end of the day. Different fabrics will have different needs for cleaning and storage to ensure they look good for a long time.
Here are some basic care guidelines for three popular pocket square fabrics to ensure long-lasting and quality style.
Cotton Pocket Squares
You should avoid putting delicate items like a pocket square in laundry machines. However, a cotton pocket square is one of the exceptions to this rule. Cotton is a durable fabric that is easy to wash and can withstand high temperatures of a washer and dryer. You can also bleach a white cotton pocket square to keep pesky stains at bay but be wary of bleaching other colored pocket squares.
White cotton pocket squares should be washed at about 140°F and colored squares at 104°F for best results. One drawback to cotton is that it is as wrinkle prone as it is a reliable fabric. Not to worry, though. If they come out of the wash looking a little wrinkled and rough, cotton squares can be ironed at a high temp to give you a polished-looking pocket.
Silk Pocket Squares
Silk pocket squares are probably the most popular choice for a sleek and elegant look. They also happen to be one of the most challenging fabrics to care for, but there is a way! A couple of ways, actually. The first- take them to a dry cleaner. This will provide the best results for the durability of a silk pocket square.
The second way, if you aren’t a dry-clean fan and need a faster solution, is cleaning at home. Silk can be DIY cleaned, but it can NEVER be machine washed or dried. To wash at home, they will need to be cared for by hand. Wash them in cold to lukewarm water using just a small amount of soap. For drying a silk square, roll it in a towel and press gently to soak up the water, then lay out to air dry away from direct light to prevent color fade.
It’s ok to iron your silk pocket squares on low heat, but the safest way is to cover the pocket square with another piece of fabric to avoid direct contact between the silk and the iron.
Linen Pocket Squares
Like cotton, linen is also relatively easy to keep clean. It can follow the same cleaning guidelines as a cotton pocket square with one exception. A linen pocket square should be air-dried, not machine-dried. Once dry, be sure to make time for ironing. Linen is a light fabric and is therefore extremely wrinkle-prone. Make sure to iron linen pocket squares using lots of steam and doing it while the square is still damp.
A Few Final Tips
- A cedar box can keep your pocket squares smelling great.
- Always properly fold your pocket squares to store them so they are wrinkle-free and ready for next wear.
- Use only a small amount of detergent when hand or machine-washing.