How to care for your wrap

How to care for your wrap, carrier or sling

Woven wraps consist usually of a high percentage of cotton.  There are 100% cotton wraps, but the cotton can also be combined with other fibres.  When caring for your wrap or carrier you should always follow the guidelines for the most sensitive fibres (silk, wool etc.) in the wrap.

Wraps are always woven a bit longer than advertised, so that after the first wash they can shrink into the size.  Woven wraps change their characteristics after washing as the fibres swell and the wrap becomes a different density.  It is always recommended to wash your wrap prior to the first use.

To wash, always use a liquid detergent with no optical brighteners and no fabric conditioner or softener.  We recommend putting the wrap, carrier or sling in a delicates washing bag or pillowcase to avoid pulled threads in the wrap and to protect your washing machine.

Cotton
a very straight forward natural plant fibre
can be machine washed at up to 60 degrees Celsius
can be tumble dried
can be ironed

Wool/Alpaca/Cashmere/Merino
a very breathable animal fibre which is therefore excellent to use in cold or hot weather
hand wash only in lukewarm water with wool detergent or shampoo.
If using a washing machine only use the woollens cycle at a maximum of 30 degrees Celsius with a low spin setting
Avoid sudden temperature changes, wringing the wrap or agitating it in any way when wet
Dry flat
Can be ironed on a low setting
Allergic reactions are common with these fibres so take care!

Linen/Hemp
a robust, natural plant fibre that is stronger than cotton
new wraps can be a bit tough but will soften after the first wash and with use
very light and breathable fibres perfect for hot weather
suitable even for heavier wearees
undyed linen can be washed up to 90 degrees Celsius
dyed linen can be washed up to 60 degrees Celsius
Wrap should be washed on it’s own in the washing machine preferably on a setting with a high water level.
Can be tumble dried
Can be ironed with a hot, steam iron whilst still damp to assist the softening process

Silk/Tussah
strong, animal fibre with a great shimmer
can be washed in the washing machine at up to 30 degrees Celsius on a delicate cycle
do not tumble dry
dry in the shade only as damp silk is very sensitive to sunlight.
Can be ironed on a low setting

Bamboo/Modal
Made out of natural plant raw material using chemical treatment
Breathable, smooth, shiny and tear resistant
Hand wash or machine wash at up to 30 degrees Celsius on a delicate cycle
Line dry in the shade
Do not tumble dry
Can be ironed on a low, steam setting

Kapok
light, soft and voluminous natural fibre
machine wash at up to 60 degrees Celsius
can be tumble dried on a low temperature and low spin
can be ironed on a low setting

Ramie
shiny and robust, natural plant fibre
machine wash on a delicate cycle at up to a maximum of 30 degrees
line dry in the shade
can be ironed on a low setting without steam

If you are unsure as to what the care instructions on your woven wrap suggest, here is a handy guide about the meaning of the symbols on the washing labels

Troubleshooting

Pulled Threads
Pulled threads can happen to any woven wrap.  Some wraps are more prone to pulls, usually the ones with light, open weaves.  Sometimes a broken nail or engagement ring is enough to pull a thread in any weave.
First, you can try to tug the pulled thread back into the weave by gently pulling the wrap in length, width and diagonally to the side of the pulled thread.  This will usually reduce the pull in length.  Often a loop will remain.  The pull has to be integrated back into the wrap so that it won’t be pulled out again or even break through stress on the wrap.  You can now either pull the looped thread on the right and left of the loop back into the weave by gently pulling the thread with a needle back into the weave.  Or you can integrate the loop back into the wrap.  Just take a needle and put it over the pulled thread so that the eye of the needle is directly above the loop.
Now thread the loop through the eye of the needle and pull the loop back into the weave by pulling the needle along through the weft out of the wrap.

Broken threads
When your wrap has a broken thread you should always repair it.  If the ends of the broken thread are next to each other you can sometimes just tie them together with a double knot.  Sometimes, one end of the broken thread has to be threaded through the wrap to meet the other end of the broken thread before tying them together in a double knot.  If the ends are not long enough to be knotted together it is sufficient to thread both ends of the broken thread back into the weave with a needle.

Thread shifting
Thread shifting can happen in thin or sensitive wraps with fine threads or material blends through stress in one spot.  You can reduce the possibility of thread shifting by washing the wrap prior to the first use and soaking it in water to let the fibres swell and expand.  If the thread shifting has already occurred, a wash can reduce the damage.  Thread shifting is a cosmetic problem only  The wrap is thinner where the damage has occurred and this makes it more prone to other damage on this spot.  You can use a needle to bring the threads back into the original position when the wrap is still damp and then iron the wrap to fix the threads.  Please check to ensure you follow the care instructions for your specific wrap when washing or ironing.

Miscellaneous
Some wrap manufacturers offer wraps in ‘seconds’ quality.  These wraps have small flaws but all are cosmetic flaws.  They do not affect the integrity of the wrap.  Seconds are a great, money-saving alternative to a fully priced woven wrap.  Flaws in seconds are usually small.  Sometimes, however, they can affect the whole width of the wrap.  Examples of these flaws include pulled or broken threads, small flaws in the fibres, stains, nubs, slubs or missing threads in the warp or weft.

Handwovens are more likely to show small nubs and slubs or other cosmetic flaws (even in first grade wraps!).    These flaws often add to the character of a handwoven and you can feel and see the time, effort that has been put into this artwork!

This information was compiled with the help of the Reference book for the Babywearing Consultant Basic Course by the Babywearing School Australia