How To Store And Clean Your Ties

Take care of your ties and they'll take care of you. Spend 10 minutes learning these simple steps and your ties will stay smooth, clean and ready to go whenever you need them

So you’ve decided to start dressing like your own man.

T-shirt and jeans is fine for the weekend. But when you need to look your best, a suit and necktie is still the go-to option. Your tie is the first thing people notice. Its position on your chest immediately catches the eye and tells everyone who you are and what your position is.

Your tie is the first thing people notice. Its position on your chest immediately catches the eye.

This can become a problem… if you don’t know what you’re doing. Or it can be an opportunity to fine-tune your message, and express who you really are no matter the situation.

But when you start investing in your arsenal of quality ties, ones that you’ll keep for years to come, questions start to pop into your head:

  • “How do I keep them looking good and ready-to-go all the time?”
  • “Where should I keep all these ties and how do I stop them getting lost in my sock drawer?!!”
  • “And what am I supposed to do about this massive wine stain from last week’s dinner??!!!”

We know. We asked the same questions. Especially the last one... cough

And it’s not just a matter of storing them, although that’s still key to keeping ties of any fabric looking crisp and wrinkle-free. But it’s also a matter of getting rid of the inevitable spots and stains.

Spend the next ten minutes reading this and you’ll discover all you’ll ever need to know about storing and cleaning your ties. But before we get into caring for your ties, let's fix the main mistake that everyone makes, and that dramatically reduces the lifespan of your neckties.

How to take your tie off without ruining it

You know how to choose and wear a tie correctly (we hope). But do you know how to take it off? Properly and without stretching the fabric?

Most men yank the knot loose and pull it over their head, then rudely throw it on a hanger to be slipped back on like a noose the next time the tie is needed.

“So I don’t have to re-do the knot next time…”

Don’t do this.

It ruins your ties. And leaves them forever creased where the knot is. The next time you wear it the knot will seem tired and flat.

Tying your tie may seem difficult at first. But once you get used to it you’ll be doing it very quickly. So treat yourself to a fresh knot every time you wear it.

To undo the knot without ruining the tie, don't just pull the thin end through. This creases the fabric and stretches it out over time. Not a good recipe for long-lasting ties. We know you're tired after a long day's work but take the extra seconds to undo it by following the tie-tying steps in reverse.

  1. Gently loosen the knot
  2. Keep loosening the knot until you can pull the fabric through without it rubbing or catching (friction is the enemy!)
  3. Simply pull the large part of the tie through the knot

It seems like a pain. And you really can’t be bothered. But taking the extra 2.8 seconds to do this properly is the difference between a tie that will last for years and one that becomes permanently flat after being worn a handful of times.

And even if you undo it properly, your tie will be naturally wrinkled after a day’s wearing. This brings us to the next part of this article: what to do with your ties when you’re NOT wearing them.

Storing your ties

Where do you keep your ties? And how do you keep them? Just chucking them in your sock drawer doesn’t seem to work too well.

The key is to store your ties so that any wrinkles have a chance to naturally smoothen out. This usually takes about 3 days. Which is why it’s important to have more than one great tie!

The key is to store your ties so that any wrinkles have a chance to naturally smoothen out.

There are 2 best ways to store your ties that keep them smooth and ready-to-wear.

1. Hang them up

The first way is to hang your ties up on a tie rack.

There are racks that you can put up on your wall. Or racks that hang from a clothes rail.

You don’t need to spend a fortune on a rack. But it’s definitely worth investing in a proper tie rack instead of just using regular hangers. These are designed for clothing, and you’ll find that your ties constantly slip off and the ties slip to one side or the other, leaving the hanger lopsided and the ties bunched up on top of each other.

2. Roll them up

The second way to store them is to roll them up.

You can buy specific tie boxes, or you can get inserts that slip into a drawer with separate compartments for each tie.

The key here is to keep them semi-loosely rolled. Your ties should immediately go back to their natural form when unrolled. Roll them too tight and they’ll be permanently curled.

Roll them too tight and they’ll be permanently curled.

There are no words to express how irritating this can be. A good way to roll your tie quickly but loosely is to grab the small blade of the tie and wrap it around your hand.

This is also the best way to pack your ties into a suitcase or bag. Folding your ties leaves them creased and crooked once you take them out, especially if under other items.

Sometimes when you buy a tie, a well-intentioned salesman will fold it up and put it in the bag. If it’s an empty bag, fine. Otherwise take it out and - you guessed it – roll it up to stop the dreaded fold-crease.

Knitted ties should always be rolled up. Hanging them up, especially for long periods at a time, stretches them out and the stitching becomes loose and untidy.

And that’s all you’ll ever need to know about storing your neckties. Pretty simple stuff, right? But don’t underestimate the importance of getting it right.

If you do get it wrong – you can sometimes still save the tie by carefully 'flattening' it using the method below.

Getting rid of wrinkles from your ties

Whether it came badly packed or wasn’t properly stored, sometimes you need to get rid of the creases in a tie.

Your tie naturally has a rolled and voluminous shape. So don't iron it the same way as you would a shirt. This flattens it out and removes the gentle roll.

So how can you get rid of wrinkles? Steam.

How much steam?

To know how hot your iron should be, and how much steam you need to use, first check your tie for a label with recommended settings.

If there's no label, then use this as a rule of thumb:

  • Silk / polyester tie: Low temperature
  • Wool tie: Medium temperature
  • Cotton tie: High temperature

For most wrinkles after everyday wearing, you can hang your tie up in the bathroom while you take a hot steamy shower and it will flatten out naturally. If you have particularly stubborn creases, consider getting a hand steamer for a more accurate and powerful effect.

Or, you can try the following method, using a steam iron and your hand to work some magic. Just follow these 6 easy steps:

  1. Place a clean cotton or linen cloth on your ironing board for protection
  2. Put your tie face down on the cloth, then wrap the cloth around it
  3. Start from the short end and work towards the wider end
  4. Apply steam from the iron to small portions of the tie
  5. Use your hand to flatten it out under the cloth
  6. Flip the tie and go over the other side

Check frequently for any colour loss. If you go too hot, your tie can lose its colour. This is why it's important to go over your tie section by section, and start at the less-visible thin end.

If you notice colour loss, stop immediately and lower the temperature on your iron. Don't continue until it's started to cool off (1-2 minutes usually).

When you've gone over both sides, hang your tie up immediately so it can dry and cool off. Don’t wear it or roll it up before this is done. You should be able to remove most creases this way. But the most stubborn lines will remain.

If a tie needs further decreasing after this, you’ll have to take it to the dry cleaner. Tell them not to fully press it (you want to keep the tubular shape), but be warned that they might if they can’t get rid of the crease otherwise.

And this can ruin the tie for good.

Now do you see why it’s so important to store your ties correctly? Great. We’ll now move on to how to clean them.

Cleaning your neckties

Surely you can just clean your ties in the washing machine, right?! Well, not quite.

Washing machines are pretty rough, and ties are pretty delicate. Especially if made from exotic silk or soft wool. Putting your tie through the washing machine can not only leave it creased, but can ruin the gently folded layers of a well-made tie.

Luckily, cleaning your ties isn’t too difficult. You just need to learn what to do. And if you really can’t be bothered, you can always take your tie to a dry cleaner. Some don’t take ties, but those that do will clean them professionally for relatively cheap.

An overview on cleaning your tie

Going to the dry cleaner can be overkill, especially when you’ve only spilled a small drop of wine on your brand new piece. So roll your sleeves up and get ready to do it yourself.

The first and most important thing to know about cleaning ties is that the sooner you treat a stain the easier it is to get it off your tie.

The sooner you treat a stain the easier it is to get it off your tie.

You want to go into action-mode in a matter of seconds. Here's your step-by-step plan if you ever get food on your tie:

  1. Remove most of the offending substance from your tie. Use a cloth. Or scrape it off with a butter knife or other blunt object tool
  2. Then, or if you spill a liquid, use a cool damp cloth or pocket square to blot the stain.
  3. Watch that you only blot it and don’t rub it. This will just smear the stain around and push it further in the fabric. Making it even harder to get fully out.
  4. Use cool water to remove the stain. Fizzy water works especially well.
  5. For greasy stains, put talcum powder or cornstarch on it as soon as possible. Lay it flat and leave it for a few hours, and the stain will have disappeared when you brush it off. If not, simply re-apply until it does.

If you don’t get to it in time and the stain dries up, there are special spot treatment products you can buy to remove them. Be gentle when using these so you don’t ruin the fabric.

Just remember to act as quickly as possible. With one exception.

Ink spots should be left to dry before removing. Adding water to wet ink will cause it to run, and make the stain even larger. Once dry, use alcohol or hand sanitiser on the stain. Let it dry. If the stain is still there, repeat until the stain disappears.

Beyond these general steps, there are some specific tricks to clean your tie, depending on its fabric.

Cleaning silk ties

When trying to clean a silk tie, avoid the methods described above (using talcum powder, corn starch and alcohol) to remove stains.

Beautiful as it is, silk is famously tricky and can lose its colour if washed incorrectly. You also risk permanent water stains. To avoid these, only clean the stain itself by dabbing it with a cool, damp cloth.

For stubborn stains, use specific silk detergents. Submerge the tie in lukewarm water with the detergent in it. Don’t leave it in for more than 5 minutes, as this can rob the silk of its shiny silkiness.

And while we don’t recommend it for any of your ties, putting a silk tie in the washing machine is a recipe for disaster, and it will surely be ruined by the vigourous movement and hot water.

Cleaning wool ties

Washing wool is also delicate, as it’s likely to ‘felt’ when done incorrectly. This means it will shrink, go matte, and frizz up.

These problems are mostly due to being roughly agitated and with different water temperatures.

Both of these can be avoided, just make sure you wash your wool ties by hand in cool water.

Cleaning polyester ties

Polyester ties often contain viscose and rayon, both of which are tricky. They hate water, and any kind of liquid based cleaner will ruin your tie for good.

If your tie contains one of these you’ll have to take it to a dry cleaner.

Conclusion

As promised, you now know everything you’ll ever need to about caring for your ties.

Including:

  • How to take your tie off like a grown-up
  • How to store your ties the right way
  • How to remove cheeky wrinkles
  • How to clean your ties

Any questions? Get in touch we'd be happy to answer them.

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