Four Things to Remember When Caring for Your Kilt
Any respectable kilt maker will explain to a potential customer why it’s important to purchase the best quality kilt that they can afford. This is because a nicer quality kilt has more versatility and can be worn in different situations. To draw a parallel, envision a nice pair of slacks. You could easily get away with pairing them with a jacket and tie and attending a dressy function. At the same time, you could also wear them on your daily errands, paired with a polo, and people wouldn't give it a second glance. However, the inverse is not true. If you are attending a dress function with a pair of informal cargo shorts or jeans, you’re probably not going to get a favorable reaction.
The same holds true with a quality kilt. You’ll get more use out of your kilt and turn heads for the right reasons. However, in order to justify an investment like an 8 Yard kilt, you’ll need to learn how to properly care for it. With the right maintenance and storage practices, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy your fine wool kilt for the rest of your life. The question then begs: What are some things to keep in mind to protect your investment, so you can get the most mileage out of your kilt and hand it down to the next generation? Here are some tips to keep in mind:
• Dry-Clean Your Kilt Only Occasionally and as a Last Resort: The solvents dry-cleaners use aren't the best for a wool kilt. That’s because they remove the wool of its natural oils, making it more brittle over a period of time. In addition, if they're not familiar with kilts, a poor pressing could result in the kilt’s pleats looking disheveled. While the kilt should be pressed every couple of years, it should only be done carefully by hand or by a trained kilt maker. Talk to your dry-cleaner, and if they haven’t dealt with kilts before, it might be best to seek other methods.
• You Can Wash Your Kilt But Proceed with Caution: Most of the time, you don’t need to completely soak your kilt, but if you feel it’s necessary, make sure to soak it in cold to lukewarm water – and only for a few minutes at that. Again, though, this is usually unnecessary unless it’s really dirty. Dabbing a stain with a cold wet cloth and a drop of Dawn detergent is usually enough to rid your kilt of it. If you do soak the kilt, lay it flat to dry.
• Remember to Only Store Your Kilt When It’s Completely Dry: Let’s say you were at your local Highland Games, and you experienced a bit of rain ("fine Scottish weather"). Before you store your kilt for the next occasion, make sure it’s completely dry by laying it flat across the foot of your bed or back of your sofa. Otherwise, mildew might befriend your kilt, and nobody wants that. If needed, aim a fan at the kilt to aid in drying.
• Store Your Kilt in the Closet or in a Drawer: Your kilt can be hung in a closet, but make sure you protect it with a cloth garment bag to prevent a moth attack. Moths love wool and will happily procreate, so future generations can eat holes in your wool kilt as well. Many experts recommend storing your kilt in a drawer, but make sure to lay it flat and store it with cedar blocks if possible.
This sounds easy enough, right? Good! With the right care and thoughtful maintenance, a quality kilt will be a bargain you will wear for a lifetime and be able to hand down as an heir loom.