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How to Store, Clean & Iron Neckties
Take care of your ties and they’ll take care of you. Our complete guide to caring for silk, wool, polyester and cotton ties – from traveling and storing to ironing and stain removal.
Your tie’s position on your chest immediately catches the eye... much like Superman’s ‘S’ emblem. And the right necktie can turn your Clark Kent look into 'Man of Steel' material.
As you start investing in an arsenal of quality neckwear – pieces that you’ll keep for years – questions probably start to come to mind.
- “How do I keep them looking good and ready-to-go all the time?”
- “Where should I keep all these ties?”
- “How do I stop them from getting lost in my sock drawer?”
- “What can I do about this massive wine stain from dinner?”
We know. We asked the same questions.
We’ve gathered everything you need to know about storing and cleaning ties. Tips to keep your tie looking crisp and wrinkle-free whether you’re headed to work or saving the world from bad guys.
Before we get into caring for neckties, let's fix the primary mistake that most men are guilty of – the one that dramatically reduces the lifespan of your tie.
Are you ruining your tie?
A man of your style undoubtedly knows how to choose and wear a tie correctly. But do you know how to take it off without stretching the fabric?
A lot of guys yank the knot loose enough to pull their heads through and then carelessly throw it over a chair until needed again.
This method – keeping the tie always tied – ruins the material, leaves permanent creases and makes the knot look tired and flat.
Ever complimented someone on their tired, flat tie? Yeah, we haven’t either.
We believe that men deserve fresh knots every time they wear a tie. It’s one of the small things in life that brings so much joy.
The right way to take off your tie
- Gently loosen the knot
- Keep loosening until you can pull the fabric through the large part of the knot
Tie Removal Tip
Avoid rubbing or catching the fabric as you pull it through the knot. Too much strain damages the thread and ages even the best of ties.
Taking the extra 2.8 seconds to properly remove your tie is the difference between one that lasts for years and one that’s tired.
How to Store Your Ties
Good neckwear is both a financial and stylistic investment.
You wouldn’t cram a wad of cash in the sock drawer, right? The same is true of your neckties. Treat them well and they’ll last longer than those socks.
The key is to store them so that wrinkles have a chance to smoothen out. This usually takes about 3 days – another important reason why you need more than 1 great tie!
2 ways to store ties so they stay smooth and wrinkle-free
- Hang them up
- Roll them up
Hang Them Up
If you’ve ever used a clothes hanger for ties, then you’ve noticed that they all slide and bunch together on one end.
Clothing hangers are made for clothes. Tie racks are made for ties.
Tie racks are hung on the wall or from the rail inside your closet. Don’t spend a fortune on one, but do understand that the investment helps protect your other investment… ties.
Roll Them Up
Rolling your tie is the low-cost storage option.
You can buy specific tie boxes or inserts that slip into a drawer with separate compartments for each tie. You can also place rolled ties in a drawer without other articles of clothing on top.
How to Roll Your Tie in 3 Steps
- Fold your tie in half lengthwise and hold with one hand
- Lay the tie face down on a flat surface
- Carefully roll the tie towards your hand
The key here is to not roll too tightly.
Your ties should immediately go back to their natural form when unrolled. Roll too tightly and they’ll be permanently curled.
Rolling a necktie is also the best way to pack for traveling – folding will leave it creased.
Tie Storage Tip
Knitted (and all square tipped ties) and silk ties should always be rolled.
Hanging them, especially for long periods at a time, causes stretching and loose stitching.
How to remove wrinkles from your tie
No matter how carefully you remove it, store it and wear it… wrinkles happen.
A good tie naturally has a rolled and voluminous shape and shouldn’t be ironed in the same way as a shirt. Steam ironing is the way to go. Use the following temperatures for best results:
- Silk Tie: Low temperature
- Wool Tie: Medium temperature
- Cotton Tie: High temperature
- Polyester Tie: Low temperature
Most everyday wrinkles can be released by hanging the tie in the bathroom while you take a steamy shower.
Try the following method, using a steam iron and your hand, for particularly stubborn creases:
5 Steps for Removing Wrinkles From Your Necktie
- Place a clean cotton cloth on an ironing board
- Put the tie face down on the cloth and wrap the cloth around it
- Apply steam from the iron to small portions of the tie beginning at the short end
- Use your hand and medium pressure to flatten the tie
- Flip the tie over and repeat for the other side
Check frequently for color loss which occurs if the material gets too hot. This is why it's important to go over section by section and start at the less-visible thin end.
Stop immediately and lower the temperature if you notice color loss. Wait until the fabric has cooled (1-2 minutes) before continuing.
Hang the tie to dry and cool off after steam ironing both sides.
Serious wrinkles and creases may require a dry cleaner. Make sure they won’t mechanically press the tie flat and ruin the natural roll – suggest they hand-press.
Remove any stains completely before steaming as heat will set the stain and make it impossible to get out.
Avoid wrinkles altogether by properly removing and storing your tie. It’s that easy.
How to clean your necktie
Your tie sits in a precarious position right in the way of dropping food. It’s like a pasta sauce magnet.
Just spilled something? Time for action and split-second reflexes... kind of like Superman and speeding bullets. The sooner you treat a stain the easier it is to get rid of it.
What to do when you spill food or drink on your tie
- Remove as much of the food with a spoon or blunt knife.
- Remove as much of the liquid or oil by drying it with a napkin.
- Use a damp napkin to blot (not rub) the stain. Fizzy water works especially well.
Extra special stains require extra special attention.
Greasy Stains: Put talcum powder or cornstarch on it and leave for a few hours.
Ink: Allow the ink spot to dry before trying to remove it. Adding water to wet ink causes it to run and become even larger. Once dry, blot the stain with a small amount of rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer and a cloth. Let it dry and repeat until the stain disappears.
Red Wine: Immediately take the tie off and pour a large amount of table salt on the stain to soak it up. Do not rub the salt… simply leave it on the spot. Next, remove the remainder of the stain using the same rubbing alcohol method as with ink.
Cleaning silk ties
We suggest you use a dry cleaner for your silk tie. If you use the above methods, use caution and test on an unseen part of the tie before diving in.
Water stains and color loss are problems with silk, especially if washed incorrectly or submerged in water for more than 5 minutes. Avoid water spots by only cleaning the actual stain by dabbing with a cool, damp cloth.
Always air-dry and do not wring or twist your tie.
Cleaning wool ties
Washing wool ties is a delicate process. Wool ties are likely to ‘felt’ when cleaned incorrectly. This means it will start to frizz and possibly shrink from rough agitation and varying water temperatures.
We suggest entrusting your stained wool tie to a dry cleaner.
Cleaning cotton & polyester ties
Polyester and cotton ties can be washed by hand if a bit of unwanted lunch lands on them.
To remove a dried-on stain...
- Use a baby wipe and wipe the stain in one direction
- Don’t rub back and forth aggressively
- Use light to medium pressure and check the baby wipe periodically to see that the stain comes off (the wipe will be dirty)
How to hand-wash a cotton or polyester necktie
- Fill a clean sink with cold or lukewarm water
- Mix in a tablespoon of laundry detergent
- Put the tie in the water and stir it around
- Let it soak for 10 minutes
- Remove the tie, drain the sink and fill with clean cold water
- Put the tie in the water to rinse away the soap residue (repeat until no soap remains and the water is clear)
- Press out the excess water with a towel
- Hang up to dry
Avoid bleach. Bleach will turn even the whitest of white polyester or cotton ties into a yellow disaster.
Washing machines and dryers are rough and ties are delicate. Putting your tie through the washing machine leaves it creased and devastates the gently folded layers and lining of a well-made product.
The only way to never get a wrinkle, crease or stain is to never wear a tie.
Since that isn’t going to happen… the next best thing is to be armed with the know-how to remove those wrinkles and spots.
Taking care of your ties isn’t as difficult as you may have thought, and the rewards far outweigh the effort and time. Think of your neckwear as an investment and you’ll be more likely to remove it correctly, roll it before putting away and eat carefully.
Everyone gets a stain at some point in their life, so don’t stress. There’s always a way to get it out… or just cover that bad boy with a tie clip and call it style.
You Asked – We Answered
Are ties machine washable?
Washing machines are rough and ties are delicate. Putting your tie through the washing machine will leave it creased and devastate the gently folded layers of a well-made product.
The same goes for dryers! Dryers will damage the shell and lining and are also a nope.
Can you take a tie to the dry cleaners?
Yes. Most fabrics like silk or wool are best cleaned by a professional dry cleaner.
Be aware: If pressed too hard (like mechanical pressing), the fibers may break and ruin the tie. Make sure the dry cleaner uses a hand press to maintain the rounded edges.
How often should I clean my tie?
You should only clean your tie if it’s dirty or stained. The key to a happy necktie is to keep it clean and spotless for as long as possible.
How do I get the smoke smell out of my tie without washing it?
If your necktie is clean but smells of smoke, air it out by hanging it in fresh air.
How do you pack a tie for traveling so it doesn’t wrinkle?
The best way to pack a tie for traveling is to roll it.
Hold the small blade and wrap it around your hand creating a loose roll. Place the rolled tie in a sealable plastic bag and then carefully insert inside one of the shoes you’re packing (one of the clean shoes!) – the shoe protects the tie when your luggage is tossed from airport to airport.
Take a nice hot shower when you arrive at the hotel and hang the tie in the bathroom. Let the steam and gravity take care of any wrinkles.
How do you pack a tie for a gift?
Roll the tie as you would for storing or traveling. After rolling, find a box that fits. We suggest lining the box with wrapping tissue – it makes everything look better. And don’t forget the card!
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