ArmStreet

Clothing care guide

Here at ArmStreet, we’re proud to craft products with solid construction and quality fabric. While everything is built to last, the better you take care of your clothing, the longer it is likely to take care of you! This guide will take you through how to get the longest life out of your beloved costumes. Medieval textiles require a little bit of extra care - remember, historically, people didn’t have washing machines, intense spin cycles or hot dryers!

Things to keep in mind:

  • ArmStreet clothing is NOT pre-washed
  • Trims on our clothing should not bleed during the laundry process
  • If you are every worried or not sure about how to wash something,  it’s best to play it safe and just hand wash or consult a dry cleaner
  • Wipe food or stains off of your clothing as quickly to avoid washing as much as possible
  • Wearing a chemise or undershirt will reduce the frequency that you have to wash your outer clothes and protect them from sweat
  • For the best results, use color-safe detergent that’s meant for delicates and cold water.

Before laundry:

  • Remove all laces
  • Divide dark and light clothing
  • Unbutton all buttons

Instructions for fabric

Cotton

Water: no hotter than 30°C (86°F)
Setting/ spin cycle: gentle/ delicate
Dry: in the shade

Flax Linen

Do not pre-soak linen!

Water: no hotter than 40°C (104°F)
Setting/ spin cycle: gentle/ delicate
Dry: in the shade.

Wool

DO NOT WASH! Dry clean only. Wipe away stains on the spot with a cloth and warm water.

To keep wool nice we recommend airing it in the fresh air between wears, and storing it somewhere moisture-free once it is completely dry of any perspiration or rain. Wear underclothes to protect your wool from sweat.

Marquisette

Water: no hotter than 30°C (86°F)
Setting/ spin cycle: gentle/ delicate
Dry: On a flat surface

Silk

Silk items should be dry cleaned.

Silk items can also be hand washed in cold or lukewarm water. After laundering, let the water drain off, and then lie the garment in a horizontal position to dry. We recommend putting a towel down on a table or large flat space where it won’t be stepped on.

Velvet (Artificial or cotton)

DO NOT WASH! Dry clean only. If required, spot clean with a damp cloth.

Suede, Faux Suede

DO NOT WASH! Dry clean only. If required, spot clean with a damp cloth.

Leather

DO NOT WASH! Leather can be wiped gently with a damp cloth or leather cleaner to spot clean, but should not be otherwise laundered.

Sackcloth Flax

DO NOT WASH! Dry clean only. If required, spot clean with a damp cloth.

Hopsack Linen

DO NOT WASH! Dry clean only. If required, spot clean with a damp cloth.

Products with Boning

Dresses and other products containing boning should only be carefully hand washed and dried flat, or dry cleaned.

Embroidery, Pearls and Other Embellishments

This kind of embellishments makes our items stunning, but do require a bit of extra care.

Any item with embroidery should only be very carefully hand washed in cold water. After laundering, let the water drain off, and then lie the garment in a horizontal position to dry. We recommend putting a towel down on a table or large flat space where it won’t be stepped on or attacked by cats.

Lacing

We don’t recommend washing any of the lacing that comes with our garments. If required, spot clean with a damp cloth.

Footwear care guide

Even though we use modern lasts and construction methods on a lot of our shoes, ArmStreet (or any medieval) footwear is still not your everyday shoe. With proper care they will serve you well, but if neglected they won’t last nearly as long as their modern counterparts. Many customers will buy medieval shoes expecting them to wear and perform like modern shoes made from synthetic materials with foam soles - unfortunately, they will not. To put it simply, leather shoes require extra love and attention, and medieval leather shoes require even more care to keep them in good shape. We’ve written a guide for you to help you understand your special footwear a bit better, and assist you in getting the absolute most out of your beautiful new shoes!

At a glance:

  • Check your item after every use, brushing off dirt and gently removing stains;
  • Rotate shoes, never wear the same footwear two days in a row;
  • Use shoe glue to do small pieces of maintenance, such as re-gluing the thin plastic grip on the bottom;
  • Store your footwear with either shoe trees or newspaper inside to help them retain their shape;
  • Store them in bags to keep dust off of them, and make sure they’re in a moisture-free zone ;
  • Condition them when they look like they need it ;
  • Use a small amount of conditioning product, don’t overdo it!

Basic leather care: Preventative

The first line of defense

The first line of defense for leather care is preventative. You want to treat your items with respect each and every time you wear them, which will reduce the amount of work you have to put into them later on. Preventative leather care is always easier than treatment! Rotating

When attending damp medieval events, never wear the same footwear two days in a row. Bring two pairs of shoes and rotate them, giving the other pair a chance to breathe and dry before wearing them again.

Cleaning

After each use, brush any dirt or debris off of the shoes and check to see if any maintenance is required. Pay special attention to the area between the sole and the upper - if there is mud or dirt caked in here, it can lead to the stitching or glue deteriorating. A damp cloth will often go a long way in keeping leather clean - don’t feel like you need any special products for surface level care.

Maintaining

If the thin rubber sole on the bottom of the shoe is beginning to peel, ensure you tack it back down with shoe glue before you wear it again. These peel quite easily in moisture, and if not glued back down they can continue to peel.

Brushing

Creams and oils aren’t the only way to maintain and shine a shoe - brushing with a horsehair (or similar) brush can help bring back the shine to your shoe and keep it looking like new without the need for products. This will also cause it to have a nice patina.

Storing

Store your shoes in a dry place, preferably with a wooden shoe tree inside to help it keep the shape. If you don’t have any shoe trees, scrunched up newspaper also works just fine. Store your shoes in a shoe bag (or that handy ArmStreet linen bag that comes with many of our orders!) To keep dust off of them.

Basic leather care: Treatment

The second line of defense

No matter how much daily maintenance you do to your footwear, there will come a time when you need to condition them. We recommend using a treatment on your leather to keep it flexible and supple. Dry leather is more prone to cracking and deteriorating, so paying attention to its condition will help you extend its life.

The frequency of conditioning will depend on how you wear your shoes - are they only worn once a year for a big event, and mostly indoors? They won’t require quite as much conditioning and care. Do you wear them once a week for hours at a time, trudging through mud and rain? They’ll require much more maintenance. If you're wearing them often, conditioning them every month is usually recommended.

The first thing to remember about treatment and products: less is more. You don’t want to overdo it and absolutely drench your item. It’s best to start with a minimal amount of cream, wax or oil and build it up if you feel like you need more. Over-conditioning can lead to your shoe losing structure, wrinkling or stretching, and the leather to become more easily scratched - similar to if you don’t let your shoes dry between wears.

Don't forget to take your laces out before you condition your shoes, and insert newspaper or shoe trees to help them keep their shape!

Cleaning

Many leather cleaners are too abrasive, so we always recommend looking for something gentle, and only use Saddle Soap or other more harsh cleaners if you’re trying to remove built-up wax or product from your leather.

As mentioned above, the best thing to go for is a glycerin-based gentle dish soap or washing detergent and lightly apply the lather to your shoes, working in circles with a soft sponge. Scrubbing a stain with harsh cleaners is more likely to strip the leather of its finish than it is to actually remove the stain, so sometimes it’s best just to let it be and accept it as a part of the boot! Make sure you let your shoe dry entirely before you condition it.

Cream Conditioner

This kind of conditioner can come in many different colors, including clear. Usually, these will add moisture to your shoes as well as add a thin, protective barrier over top. If you have stains or scuffs, a cream often won’t cover these, but it will restore the life to your leather without impacting the overall texture too much.

Shoe Wax/ Polish

This is great for polishing, covering up any scuffs you’ve acquired, and smoothing out the texture of your leather. Lots of shoe waxes come in different colors to match your shoes, which can help restore color where it has faded. Just be careful with over applying wax - too much can dry out your shoes, and over time wax will build up and crack. Wax can also come in clear, which is perfect for difficult to match colors.

Leather Oil

Leather oil (such as neatsfoot) can be difficult to get right, but when applied sparingly it can do a lot to restore the luster without destroying the patina of your shoe. Ensure you are using a very small amount of oil, and keep in mind that the best oil to use is usually animal-based (as leather is also animal-based). Plant-based oils such as coconut oil or olive oil are unstable and have the tendency to go rancid, so we don’t recommend them.

Re-Soling/ Repairs

If the outer sole of your shoe has come away to the extent that it can’t just be glued back down with a bit of shoe glue, we recommend getting in touch with your local cobbler about having the footwear resoled. Medieval shoes are bound to require a resoling at some point in their life, and unless you’re an experienced leatherworker, it’s not something you can really do at home.

Armor & Accessories Care Guide

The use and care of all metal and leather products are essential to maintaining their service life. Generally, you do not need much time to take care of them, but be alert to the nuances of care and storage, that depend on the material they are made of.

General instructions:

  • do not polish steel or leather with supplies like metal brushes, steel wool or abrasive cloths, as they will scratch the surface;
  • keep your armor in dry ventilated area, sudden temperature changes must be excluded;
  • before a long-term storage, make sure that all parts of the armor are clean, dry and completely covered with oil.

Stainless steel

Products made of stainless steel doesn't require any special care. You can clean and polish them with a dry soft cloth and any sort of oil (for example, waste engine oil). Water ingress is permissible, but not desirable (do not wipe the product with a damp cloth, do not immerse in water, do not wash in the washing machine). After each use, the armor should be cleaned and wiped dry.

Mild steel

Historically accurate mild steel is more fragile, it rusts and stains easily, so should be treated with respect. Water ingress is absolutely unacceptable and must be excluded. Mild steel items should be dried and cleaned with a dry soft cloth thoroughly after each use to avoid rusting. Light application of WD-40 or T-9 spray before and after use will help to prevent rust, or just rub with mineral oil to form a protective coating that prevents rusting in storage. Storage away from the sources of humidity with the silica gel packets would be ideal.

Brass

With time and wear, the brass may tarnish and oxidize, becoming somewhat darker and more natural looking. To polish and keep it bright, simply wipe it with a dry cloth and a little lemon juice or vinegar. There are also special fabrics to clean the brass in jewelry stores and hardware stores. Water ingress is permissible, but not desirable (take your brass jewelry off before taking a shower). The best way to store the brass is in an airtight box.

Leather

Protect the leather from damage and wipe with a dry soft sponge to remove dirt. Leather items can be cleaned with a cloth soaked with castor oil, vaseline or glycerin for sheening. Do not rub hard, as the outer fibers may be damaged and the leather will loose its quality and appearance. Wet leather can not be dried near the battery and heating devices.

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