How to Clean a Bow Tie and Cummerbund

A sophisticated and stately bow tie or necktie paired with a timeless classic – the cummerbund – is an excellent way to elevate any formal look. However, these popular neckwear accessories also reside in a danger zone. Despite your best efforts, spills and stains are inevitable. So, the big question every dapper gent is wondering: How do you clean a bow tie and cummerbund set?

The formal attire and neckwear experts at High Cotton Ties are here to help. Here’s our guide to help you learn how to clean a tie, as well as our professional cummerbund cleaning tips.

Can You Wash a Tie?

Second to the question of how to tie a bow tie, this comes up a lot in our line of work. Luckily, we’ve got the answer. While you technically can machine wash ties, we don’t recommend it.

Unlike most other clothing – which can be tossed right into the washer and dryer – bow ties and cummerbunds are a special breed. Typically made with delicate fabrics like silk and featuring details like meticulous stitching, we prefer a “better safe than sorry” approach when it comes to cleaning a tie.

Depending on the materials, we advise you to either hand wash ties or have them dry cleaned by specialized black-tie cleaners. Ties should also always be air-dried. Even on a gentle or tumble dry setting, damage can occur, as the dryer can harm the integrity of the material.

However, if you are wearing one of our finely crafted cotton bow ties, these can be machine-washed without damaging the material or quality. Because we know many of our customers have busy schedules, we designed these ties to be especially durable and easy to clean for their convenience! 

How to Get Rid of Tie Stains

Let’s face it: Accidents happen. While exercising caution can help prevent spills and stains, there’s no foolproof method for keeping your tie spotless. The key is making sure you know what to do when this occurs. This starts with knowing how to properly spot clean ties. Here’s a quick rundown of how to wash a tie using the spot cleaning method.

For water-soluble stains, use club soda or seltzer water and a cloth or handkerchief to gently blot the stain on your tie. Do not rub or scrub as this can cause the stain to set and may damage the delicate fibers.

For oil-based stains, apply talcum powder or cornstarch to the fabric instead. Then, let it sit for an hour or two before wiping it off with a soft cloth. This can easily and gently lift the stain from the tie or cummerbund.

While these methods may not be instantaneous – especially with persistent stains – they are effective if executed properly. However, you may have to repeat these steps a few times to completely remove the stain. If it remains, a trip to the dry cleaner may be in order.

Cleaning Protocol for Different Tie Materials

All ties aren’t created equal. Different materials have different cleaning requirements. The best way to know how to care for a particular tie? Consult the wash care instructions on the label. Here’s an overview of best practices for washing, drying, and pressing some common tie materials:

  • Silk and Wool: Delicate silk has an alluring sheen. Keep it looking new by dry cleaning and steaming only. If your silk or wool tie gets wet, hang to dry.
  • Linen, Cotton, and Polyester: Hand-wash in cold or warm water. Gently press the excess water out with a towel. Do not twist or wring! Hang to dry and use steam to remove any wrinkles.
  • Knit, Polyester, and Seersucker: Hand-wash gently in cold water. Steam is preferable, although you can also iron on a medium setting.

In all cases, use the most gentle approach possible. Again, while these are general rules of thumb, follow your tie’s care tag.

Other Tie Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Other ways to keep your preppy ties and cummerbunds in optimal condition include removing them immediately after wear, leaving them unknotted when not in use, and – to prevent wrinkling – rolling them (to store in a drawer) instead of hanging them in your closet.

Whether you’re talking about a handcrafted bow tie, cummerbund set, or a classic necktie, regular washing is not required. In fact, it’s best to clean them only when they’re dirty.

From the basic Black Faille Bow Tie to a charming Southern Style Navy Bow Tie to the preppy bow tie and cummerbund set, you’ll find the chicest selections at High Cotton Ties.

To find the perfect handcrafted neckwear to complete your elegant ensemble, shop High Cotton Ties.