When you buy a new woven wrap or ring sling, it comes to you in "loom state." It was woven on a loom and then finished, but it has not yet been washed and IS NOT YET READY TO BE WORN.
The fabric needs to be washed to set the weave. Wearing before a wash could cause thread shifting. Do not use bleach, fabric softener, powdered detergent, or detergent with optical brighteners.
SHRINKAGE: During its first bath your wrap or ring sling will shrink, which is normal. We cut the fabric so that it will shrink to the size that you ordered (within tolerances).
WASH: Wash before wearing the first time. Wash gently alone in cold water, no spin, with liquid detergent that does not contain optical brighteners. No bleach or fabric softener. For ring slings, putting the rings in an old sock is a good idea.
DRY: You may tumble dry low heat. Hanging dry is also great, especially for Tencel, which dries very quickly and doesn't like heat. If you tug the fabric taut as it hangs, some blends will hang dry with no wrinkles.
IRON: For all-cotton blends, steam iron if you like, which helps break in the fabric even more. The other fiber blends should only be ironed on warm if necessary. Refer to the care tag for instructions specific to your fiber blend.
What do I do to help "break in" a wrap?
The woven material gets softer and floppier the more it is used. So just use it and have fun!
Some blends will be soft after just one wash! If you have an all-cotton blend, some ideas for breaking it in, beyond simply wrapping with it, include running it through SlingRings, braiding and unbraiding it, twisting it tightly and untwisting it, sleeping with it, sitting on it, and ironing it. Please never use fabric softeners. If you have very hard water and suspect that it is stealing some of your wrap's softness upon washing, add a little white vinegar to the rinse cycle of your washing machine.
What do I do if my wrap gets stained?
Spot rinse the stain as soon as possible. If that is not enough, simply wash. Sun drying can take out poop stains. If you still need more, look for stain removers meant for cloth diapers or those that claim more natural ingredients. You can ask on online babywearing forums which products are working for other babywearers. The chatter page on Facebook Bijou Buzz might be a good place to start.
There are some little bumps on my fabric ...?
Occasionally, even on machine woven fabric, there are yarn nubs or slubs. Even more rare are weaver's knots where the end of the spool of yarn is tied to the next. None of these beauty marks are unsafe, and you probably only see them while ironing. Check them out for fun -- they remind us of the amazing process of fabric making that so often we take for granted. Tencel blend wraps might develop a fuzzy softness like your favorite cashmere sweater, which is one of the lovely benefits of the fiber.
As I use this item, what do I do about broken threads, pulled threads, thread shifting, or holes (oops)?
A single pulled or broken thread does not affect the safety of your wrap or ring sling. Do go ahead and fix them when found if you feel they might get to be a bigger problem.
If you see a loop sticking up it is a pulled thread. Use a tapestry needle or something similar to follow the pulled thread across the weave, pulling up little bits as you go until the original pull is much shorter. Give some diagonal tugs on the fabric and do it all over again if necessary. After a wash the fibers should settle down and you probably will not be able to find the area again.
Is there an end sticking up out of the fabric? That is a broken thread. Find the other end in the weave and try to weave them back closer together. Tie them together when they are reunited. Weave the ends back into the wrap with your tapestry needle. If you cannot find the other end of the broken thread, weave it back in until it is short and then tie off the loose end to a thread next to it. Weave in the tip.
Shifted threads look exactly as they sound. They most often happen if the wrap or sling is worn before washing. Please do not wear a loom state wrap or sling before washing, as washing before the first use sets the fibers. See Care for more detailed instructions. Try to fix thread shifting by washing to try to reset the fibers, tumbling until almost dry, and then ironing (according to the temperature on the tag) with special attention to shifting the threads back into place. You can use a tapestry needle to help nudge them home. If the area of shifting cannot be fixed, treat is as a major safety concern like a hole.
A hole is definitely a safety concern as the wrap can tear at that weakened point. You can chop off the end with the hole and rehem to a shorter size. Perhaps the scrap will be your child's new favorite blanket!
So, do I have to baby my wrap?
No. The dense weave of Bijou Wear fabrics helps protect against pulls and stains. So be bold! Wear your baby. Sit on the wrap to help break it in. Wear your messy toddler. A life lived in fear is a life half lived!