Do I Need A Clothes Brush?
Your favourite cashmere overcoat or wool blazer: investment pieces, no doubt of value and almost certainly not items of clothing you want to wash frequently. A run of colour or loss of shape are all perils of the washing machine and dry cleaner. So how to maintain a dirt, dust and hair free wardrobe? A lint roller? No – it won’t effectively remove anything more than superficial fluff. The optimal solution is to invest in a good quality clothes brush, to remove deep rooted dust, dirt and debris. We detailed this in Ape’s Ten Commandments of Style – it’s a simple step which ensures longevity.
A 100% wool suit, for instance, takes much more care to maintain than a poor-quality, synthetic version. But it’s worth it. You should really brush the former after each time of wearing – it only take a couple of minutes. We all know that washing a finely tailored wool suit is a no go but as alluded to earlier, avoid dry-cleaning too. The chemical process is proven to weaken fabric. You lose the bounce and the finish – they become shiny, flat and lifeless. Instead, try a gentle steam in the bathroom for a freshen up or air by a window then brush it plump up the fibres and restore the fabric’s lustre. Use dry cleaning as a last resort, and a good one at that.
What Makes a Good Clothes Brush
Often made with boar or horse hair, natural bristle clothes brushes are the best you can buy. Cheaper alternatives are often made of synthetic nylon and have less ‘give’, resulting in a harsher scrubbing or scratching of delicate fabrics. A natural bristle offers better longevity too, potentially lasting a lifetime whereas a synthetic bristle will wear out quicker.
For exceptionally soft, finely woven or velvet clothing you might wish to use a velvet-faced lint brush. Even more gentle than a natural bristle, a velvet-faced lint brush will pick up fluff, hair and other clinging particles. Try and avoid using tape, as it can leave marks. If you have time, by all means pick away at fluff and hair with your fingers but it will take a while. Specifically with regards to velvet – never brush against the lie of the fabric or it will mark. And ideally, use a dedicated velvet clothes brush such as this Brabantia Clothes Brush.
The better clothes brushes have bristles fitted into a wooden handle. Good quality wood will last a lifetime, matching the longevity of natural bristles. If it’s ergonomically shaped it will also feel comfortable in the hand and easy to wield. You’ll thank us for this when putting some elbow grease into brushing down a suit.
How to Use a Clothes Brush
It’s important to use the clothes brush correctly to efficiently and effectively remove dust, dirt and hair. It’s wise to brush with firm sweeping movements; never scrub, but a strong flick is allowed. A clothes brush is primarily used for cleaning surface debris, for anything deeper ensure you dampen the brush first. Again don’t scrub – this might remove colour or worse, fabric.
Remember to brush in the same direction at all times, this will ensure the fabric ‘points’ the same way, as when light lands on the material it can looked ruffled and untidy. For clothing stained with mud, you can consider a firmer bristle, so long as it’s still natural bristle.
To begin, brush against the lie of the material to remove unwanted dust, dirt and hair. Then brush with the lie for a finished look. If you encounter a specific patch of dirt that requires a little more attention, brush with short, quick strokes. Remember to still apply gentle pressure here to avoid damaging fibres.
Where to Brush Clothing
For the committed amongst us, you might consider a wooden brushing table with no rough edges. This is a specific ‘thing’: a table suitable and big enough to cope with the size of a blazer or coat. If it’s a smooth table your item of clothing may slide around – consider placing a blanket between the two.
The truth is, however, you can brush on any flat and firm surface – providing you wipe it clean first. Failing that, leave your item of clothing on its hanger and brush against a wardrobe or closed door. Hold the garment in one hand and brush with the other.
Brushing a Coat or Blazer and Trousers
To brush a coat or blazer ensure you’ve removed everything from the pockets, and all flaps are left untucked. Turn up the collar and lapels and lay the coat or blazer flat and front-face down. Fold back the shoulders flat, and place the arms towards the centre. Brush against the lie of the material first, along the entirety of the garment with long, sweeping brush strokes. Start with the buttons side, and work inwards. Remember to brush the sleeve, and then underneath the sleeve. For more intricate areas such as the shoulder brush from the collar to the shoulder tip using short, quick strokes. The same applies to the collar.
For trousers, brush against the lie of the fabric first and then down. Place the trouser legs neatly on top of each other. Start with the outside of the trouser, brushing with a long sweeping action. Hold the trouser at the cuff. Then fold each leg over the waist of the trouser, to brush the inside of the leg. If you trousers have cuffs, turn these and brush with short, quick strokes – as dust will likely collect here. You might dampen (not soak) a clothes brush to freshen clothes should they need it.
Three of The Best Clothes Brushes
The master of brushes and combs; Kent Brushes delivers a first class clothes brush with their CC20 Cherry Wood Natural Bristle Clothes Brush. Double-sided it boasts both stiff and soft bristle sides. The stiff bristle side is good for removing mud or dirt from the bottom of trousers for instance, whereas the soft bristle side is better for more gentle brushing of delicate fibres such as fine cashmere.
£44.00 from AMAZON.
For Delicate Fabrics
The Kent CP6 Clothes Brush is a dark-wood ‘cashmere care’ clothes brush filled with black and white pure bristles. Ideal for keeping delicate fabrics free from fibres, fluff and hair. Suitable for use on a variety of delicate fabrics such as fine wool, cashmere and silk.
£27.50 from AMAZON.
Don’t worry – we don’t expect you to lug a sizeable clothes brush around with you for that overnight business trip or foreign wedding. So the Kent CC2 is a perfect solution and all-round clothes brush. It’s small rectangular size without handle, made from Cherry wood and pure black bristle easily slips inside carry on luggage. Ideal for refreshing suits when travelling.
£13.75 from LANDYS CHEMIST.
It seems sensible that given the price of a fine-quality, well-fitted suit – that proper maintenance is key to longevity, and optimal condition. A couple of minutes of brushing make all the difference. Protect your investment, the right way.