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Product care & cleaning guides for Christmas gifts
Christmas has come and gone for another year and after a great few days with close friends and family it's time to get organised ready to bring in the new year. Over Christmas you may have been lucky enough to be treated to an array of gifts from Country Attire ranging from hard-wearing wax jackets to a pair of classic UGG boots or a delicate cashmere knit. We want these new treasured gifts to look their very best for as long as possible, if they are taken care of in the correct way from the beginning, the lifetime of these gifts could be greatly extended and look like new for seasons or even a number of years to come. To help you take care of your new Christmas gifts we've put together our very own care and cleaning guide for some of our most popular items this festive season.
Look after your new Barbour wax jacket and it will look after you for years to come. Due to the wax coating, your jacket can not be machine washed or dry cleaned as this will permanently remove the coating. For your wax jacket to retain its' waterproof properties and resilience, it is recommended that your jacket is re-waxed every 12 months so it can offer you the very best protection whilst looking like new; although the time in-between can vary due to the amount of wear. Made to the same formula as the wax used in Barbour's factory, the Barbour Thornproof Wax Dressing offers an easy solution for re-proofing wax jackets. The re-proofing technique is easy to do and can be done at home with one tin of dressing, simply follow to below steps:
1. Prepare your jacket - Clean off any dirt or marks with some cold water and a sponge, never use soap or hot water.
2. Gently heat the wax - Remove the lid and place the tin in a container of warm water to soften and melt the wax.
3. Wax the jacket - With a sponge, work the melted wax into the jacket; seams, creases and hard-wearing areas may need extra attention. Keep the wax away from non-waxed areas such as the corduroy collar and jacket linings. Wipe away any excess wax.
4. Blow dry the jacket - For an extra smooth finish on your wax jacket, use a hair dryer to blow over and evenly spread the wax.
5. Hang to dry - Hang your jacket in a warm place away from other garments and leave to dry overnight.
Alternatively, you can send your jacket back to Barbour and have your jacket re-waxed through Barbour's re-proofing service at their factory for a professional finish. As well as re-proofing, the factory also offers a repairs service for Barbour waxed jackets including everything from size alterations for the perfect fit to component replacements and large-scale repairs to the lining or outer of the jacket; so even in years to come, your trusty Barbour jacket can still be right there with you.
Perfect for the wintry wet weather, your brand new Hunter wellington boots will be your go-to choice for muddy country walks, wet commutes to work or for weekends at a British festival. To prolong the lifespan of your Hunter wellington boots, wipe away any dirt or mud with cold, soapy water and ensure the boots are stored in a cool, dry location away from any direct sunlight. To restore the boots' finish, Hunter has a Rubber Care Kit to help keep your boots in optimum condition. To clean, the Hunter Rubber Care Kit includes a Rubber Buffer spray, which will remove any natural occurring 'bloom' residue and help to restore the original finish of the boots; this spray is suitable for use on Matte, Gloss, Neon, Metallic and Pearlised boot finishes, although excessive use may affect the Metallic and Pearlised finishes. For a pristine finish, the Boot Shine sponge helps to restore shine to both rubber and smooth leather boots; please note Hunter does not recommend this for use on Balmoral leather boots. In a handy storage box, this care kit also includes a branded cleaning cloth.
If you were lucky enough to recieve a pair of Le Chameau wellington boots this Christmas, you will be pleased to hear that they also have their very own branded care kit! The Le Chameau Rubber Boot Care Kit includes a boot brush to help remove any excess mud, a branded cleaning cloth and a Silicone based spray for a smooth and glossy finish. Similar to Hunter boots, clean any mud off your Le Chameau wellies with water and the boot brush as any aggressive cleaning products may damage the natural rubber. Then using the cleaning cloth and Silicone spray, polish your boots for that like-new finish. Keep your boots in a dry, ventilated area away from any direct sunlight and heat.
Classic UGG Boots
The ultimate winter warmers, the Classic Ugg collection is always a favourite over the festive season thanks to their luxurious comfort and laidback styling. Made from Twinface Sheepskin. the suede outer can be susceptible to staining and discolouration if worn in snow and rain, but there are a number of things you can do to extend the life of your UGGs and protect them when worn in adverse weather conditions. The UGG Sheepskin Care Kit is recommended for use on Twinface sheepskin products and contains everything you need to keep your Classic UGG boots in top condition, including the Sheepskin Protector Spray, Sheepskin Cleaner and Conditioner, Sheepskin Freshener Spray and a Dual suede brush. Simply follow the below instructions:
1. Before the first wear, spray your new UGG boots evenly with the Sheepskin Protector in a well-ventilated area until the boot is wet. This will help to prevent staining and discolouration if your boots come into contact with rain or snow. Let your boots dry naturally for at least 24 hours in a cool, ventilated area. When the boots are dry, give them the once over with the suede brush to ensure they look their best.
2. To clean your boots, lightly dampen with water and a sponge, apply a small amount of the Sheepskin Cleaner and Conditioner and lightly scrub your boots. When cleaned and any excess residue is removed, stuff your boots with paper to reduce the drying time and leave them to dry naturally for 24 hours. Afterwards, evenly reapply the Sheepskin Protector spray in a well-ventilated area and leave to dry again for at least 24 hours. Once dry, lightly brush your boots with the suede brush.
3. To freshen your boots, spray the inside of each boot with the Sheepskin Freshener spray to help eliminate odour and leave to dry naturally for 24 hours.
From luxurious cashmere to super-soft lambswool, a knitwear piece is a welcome addition to anyone's wardrobe over the festive period. However, using such fine wools for that sumptuous handle means your new premium knitwear pieces require more upkeep than regular garments to avoid being ruined when laundered. Before washing any new knitwear piece, ensure that you check the internal care labels for the fabric composition and recommended washing instructions; a knit with predominately synthetic fibres can most likely be machine washed whilst knits with cashmere or lambswool fibres are usually hand wash only - there can be exceptions to these rules so it is always best to consult the labels first. If your knitwear states that it needs dry cleaning, then always take it to be professionally cleaned.
1. To wash - If your knitwear is machine washable, be kind and put it on a cycle specifically for knitwear or hand washing; the gentler the cycle and lower the temperature the better. If the temperature is too high, this will damage the wool and could cause colours in the yarn to bleed. A more vigorous cycle could also cause your knitwear piece to lose its' shape and shrink. If you are unsure, always play it safe and hand wash your knitwear. Cashmere and lambswool jumpers will need to be hand washed, wash gently in a basin with a mild detergent for a few minutes and rinse well with water.
2. To dry - Never twist or wring wet knitwear as you could pull your piece out of shape, instead gently squeeze any excess water out. Woollen knitwear is also doomed to shrink if placed on a spin cycle or in the dryer, always leave your knitwear to dry on a flat surface - hanging knitwear on a washing line will cause it to stretch
3. To maintain - Where possible, always store your knitwear folded away in a drawer, hanging it up in a wardrobe will cause the garment to stretch out of shape. Bobbling is also an inevitable occurrence in knitwear, to remove the bobbles and keep your garment looking like new, you can use an electronic bobble remover or snip them off carefully with some small scissors or a razor.
A pair of good quality leather shoes can be your friend for years to come if looked after properly. After receiving your new pair of leather shoes, make sure you wear them around the house before venturing outside, this will help to break them in and ensure they offer a comfortable fit when you are heading out. When it's time to take your new shoes out for a spin, try to wear them on a dry day to help the soles develop a layer of grip to later avoid any slipping in the rain or on wet floors. It's also important to note that if your leather shoes do get wet that you leave them to dry naturally as heat sources can cause the leather to crack, simply stuff your shoes with some newspaper to help speed up the drying process. Depending on the type of leather used and the brand, your shoes will require different products and care techniques, so when it comes to maintenance, always use products that match the leather type and colour. Always check with the footwear brand first as most will have their own extensive leather shoe care products for you to use confidently. As general rules, follow the below instructions to take care of your new leather shoes:
1. Prepare your shoes - Wipe your shoes with a dry cloth or soft brush to remove any dried-on dirt, then spray with the recommended leather shoe cleaner (use only warm water on full-grain leather shoes) and wipe to remove old polish and any stubborn stains. Leave to dry naturally away from direct heat sources.
2. Condition your shoes - Some types of leather can dry out easier than others, for extra nourishment and added protection, add a dab of leather conditioner or balm and rub gently into the shoes in a circular motion to keep them looking their best for longer. The type of conditioner you use will depend on the type of leather eg. Full-grain or Oiled leather. Leave the conditioner to soak in for a couple of hours.
3. Polish your shoes - Choose a polish that matches the colour of your leather shoes, if you can't find the exact colour then use a neutral coloured polish. If you wish to slightly darken your shoes, you can use darker polish for a more unique, vintage finish. Apply the polish with a soft cloth in circular motions, wipe off any excess and use a soft bristle brush to buff the shoes. For a high shine finish, give your shoes another wipe with the soft cloth.
To store your shoes, you can invest in some wooden shoe trees which will help to absorb perspiration from the shoes and help retain their shape when not being worn; this will help to extend the life of your new leather shoes. Place them into your shoes immediately after wearing for one day and swap them in and out as your wear different styles. Every now and then, you will need to re-sole or re-heel your leather shoes, so take them to a trusted local cobbler to restore your favourite pair; some cobblers also offer specific brand repairs that can use the same components as the originals.
For more extensive repair processes and refurbishments, many specialist footwear brands including Oliver Sweeney, Grenson and Cheaney also offer a repairs service. Depending on the brand and style, the repair process can replace the heels, soles, welts, insoles and laces as well as give the original upper a wax and polish to make your shoes look like new. Some brands will not accept shoes if they have already been repaired by a third party, so always check with a brand first to see if they offer a repairs service for your shoes. In some cases, certain types of shoes such as Goodyear Welted styles can only be refurbished a limited number of times - after that, it may be time to invest in a brand new pair. But in any case, a pair of premium leather shoes are an investment piece and can easily withstand years of wear which is extended even further with proper care and refurbishments; shoe refurbishments are also the smarter choice and considerably cheaper than buying a brand new replacement, so you will get to keep your trusted pair for even longer!