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  1. #1
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    Should you dry-clean a kilt?

    I was recently told that you should never dry-clean a kilt because it removes the natural fats and oils found in the wool. They suggested spot cleaning with water if you spill something on it, but not to send it to the dry-cleaners, and eventually one could replace the inner protective cloth around the waist if necessary.

    I've seen some discussions here about problems people have had with dry-cleaners, but I've not seen similar advice. I was wondering how others handled cleaning or maintaining their own kilts.

  2. #2
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    25th September 04
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    Victoria, BC, Canada 1123.6536.5321
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    The chemicals used in Dry Cleaning today are perfectly safe for a wool kilt. They are also perfectly environmentally safe.

    I always have my kilts dry cleaned. Some are over 20 years old and are cleaned three or four time a year because I wear a kilt every day.

    The wool has not been effected in any way. The leather straps are also not effected. They are still soft and supple.

    All I ever caution anyone about having a kilt cleaned is to warn the cleaner, in big red letters on the cleaning form, "Do Not Press". Just clean it in the machine and hang it up. All of my kilts are done his way and I have never had a single problem.
    Steve Ashton
    www.freedomkilts.com
    Skype (webcam enabled) thewizardofbc
    I wear the kilt because:
    Swish + Swagger = Swoon.

  3. The Following 6 Users say 'Aye' to The Wizard of BC For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
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    27th October 09
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    There aren't any fats or oils left in the wool by the time it is made into a kilt. When tartan is woven on the loom, it may still have a bit of oil or "grease" in it, but the finishing process includes scouring and pressing unless you custom order it to be "in the grease", which most mills are loathe to do. They prefer to just send it off for regular finishing. But standard tartan cloth really doesn't have much, if any, lanolin in it to worry about.

  5. The Following 2 Users say 'Aye' to Tobus For This Useful Post:


  6. #4
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    Steve, do you baste your kilts before sending to the cleaners or just leave them normally pleated? I'd rather not baste. My stitching skills are quite poor.
    Benning School for Boys
    97th Company
    OC 5-68

  7. #5
    Join Date
    2nd January 10
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    The one piece of advice I'd offer is that if a kilt is dry cleaned fairly regularly then it's worth polishing or in some other way adding some moisture back into the leather straps which otherwise can become vey dry and crack over time.

  8. The Following 2 Users say 'Aye' to figheadair For This Useful Post:


  9. #6
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    1st July 19
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Wizard of BC View Post
    The chemicals used in Dry Cleaning today are perfectly safe for a wool kilt. They are also perfectly environmentally safe.

    I always have my kilts dry cleaned. Some are over 20 years old and are cleaned three or four time a year because I wear a kilt every day.

    The wool has not been effected in any way. The leather straps are also not effected. They are still soft and supple.

    All I ever caution anyone about having a kilt cleaned is to warn the cleaner, in big red letters on the cleaning form, "Do Not Press". Just clean it in the machine and hang it up. All of my kilts are done his way and I have never had a single problem.
    That's good to know. Most of the complaints I've seen so far have to do with dry-cleaners pressing kilts and ruining them. I wasn't sure if the chemicals had any effect as well. I've only recently started wearing a kilt regularly, so I have a little bit of time before I need to worry about anything. By the way, I love your tagline "Swish + Swagger = Swoon."

  10. #7
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    1st July 19
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    Post

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    There aren't any fats or oils left in the wool by the time it is made into a kilt. When tartan is woven on the loom, it may still have a bit of oil or "grease" in it, but the finishing process includes scouring and pressing unless you custom order it to be "in the grease", which most mills are loathe to do. They prefer to just send it off for regular finishing. But standard tartan cloth really doesn't have much, if any, lanolin in it to worry about.
    I've never heard of "in the grease," but honestly, it doesn't sound very appealing. Standard finishing is fine for me.

  11. #8
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    1st July 19
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    Quote Originally Posted by figheadair View Post
    The one piece of advice I'd offer is that if a kilt is dry cleaned fairly regularly then it's worth polishing or in some other way adding some moisture back into the leather straps which otherwise can become vey dry and crack over time.
    Do you recommend anything in particular? I have black polish and mink oil. I'd think that mink oil would be best as I don't want to risk and plack polish residue getting on the tartan.

  12. #9
    Join Date
    2nd January 10
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    Quote Originally Posted by steglitz View Post
    Do you recommend anything in particular? I have black polish and mink oil. I'd think that mink oil would be best as I don't want to risk and plack polish residue getting on the tartan.
    I have to admit to never having heard of Mink Oil and had to look it up. Seems like it's much more or a North American thing as strict EU regulations governing the disposal of carcasses meaning that almost all mink carcasses, along with the fat, are turned into bio-fuel.

    I've always used a good shoe polish and never had a problem. I only apply to the treated side of the straps which is the outside and so not in contact with the material itself.

    Raises an interesting question about what is the best material to keep older sporran leather soft?

  13. #10
    Join Date
    1st July 19
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    Quote Originally Posted by figheadair View Post
    I have to admit to never having heard of Mink Oil and had to look it up. Seems like it's much more or a North American thing as strict EU regulations governing the disposal of carcasses meaning that almost all mink carcasses, along with the fat, are turned into bio-fuel.

    I've always used a good shoe polish and never had a problem. I only apply to the treated side of the straps which is the outside and so not in contact with the material itself.

    Raises an interesting question about what is the best material to keep older sporran leather soft?
    I didn't realize that was the case. Honestly, I have a leftover container that I haven't used up yet, so I haven't needed to think about a replacement yet. Any recommendations would be welcome.

    As for polish, I think if you really rub it in well, you shouldn't have a problem, but I can't help but think that it will rub off in small amount effectively darkening the region where it rests on your kilt. There's also the risk that you don't rub it in well enough in all places. I've only recently started wearing my kilt regularly, so most of my stuff is in pretty good shape. That will change with time though, ergo, one of the reasons why I'm here.

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