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Back To Basics: How To Care For Glitter

Including how to clean the gleaming specks, maintain their glinty sparkle and store all your bedazzled goods.
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A look from Marc Jacobs Spring 2018 collection. Photo: Imaxtree 

A look from Marc Jacobs Spring 2018 collection. Photo: Imaxtree 

"Basic" may have adapted a negative connotation in recent years, but there's no shame in seeking advice on theoretically simple sartorial conundrums. In our latest column, "Back to Basics," we're here to guide you through life's most common (and important) fashion and beauty concerns.

From Chanel's instant-hit booties to Tom Ford's sparkling knickers, 2017 proved to be a glitter-filled, high-shine year. Designers, celebrities, street style stars and Fashionista editors alike were especially attracted to the small bits of sparkly confetti, having worn the party-girl staple all throughout fashion month and all over the red carpet

Perhaps the more recent championing of glitter-coated anything stems from society's need to add a little pizzazz to a dark couple of months, or maybe it's simply that the fashion set wants to recreate the shamelessly glam disco era. Either way, it has us randomly lusting over sparkly items that we thought only our five-year-old selves would want. 

But when you finally decide to make a glittery purchase, you are confronted with the not-so-glamorous reality of having to clean and maintain its shine: If I were to invest in a pair of $10,000 Saint Laurent glitter boots, you better believe that I'm not about to lose one single speck of that glitter. But that's easier said than done. With that in mind, we put together a quick masterclass on how to care for glitter. 

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Use hairspray to minimize your glitter losses

To maximize the high-shine life of your glittery goods, use a strong-hold aerosol hairspray every time you wear or wash the article. Typically, the sparkly bits of plastic are glued to the fabric's surface, and the hairspray acts as a glitter-holder by creating a protective layer that reduces the flaking glitter pieces. 

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To go about applying the traditional hair adhesive to your glitter-laden object, simply spread the garment out on a flat surface, with either a towel or bed sheet underneath it to absorb the stickiness from the hairspray. Make sure that the clothing item is laying completely flat, with no creases, and fasten all closures; i.e., zippers or buttons. Hold the can of aerosol hairspray about 10 inches from the surface and carefully mist away. For extra shiny security, wait for the first coating of hairspray to dry and then add another layer or two. 

Wash sparkly clothes in cold water, on a delicate cycle 

There's always the option of taking your glitter-adorned dress to a dry cleaner, but you can also usually wash it in the comfort of your own home or at a laundromat as long as you try to reduce all potential causes of friction and use cold water. Glitter doesn't do well when washed in warm temperatures, as the heat may melt the adhesive that holds the sparkles on. For a gentle machine wash, use a delicate cycle and throw the shiny article in by itself. However, if you're big on saving water, you can wash the garment with other clothes as long as you turn it inside out to lessen the rubbing of the glitter against other fabrics. 

Use a toothbrush to remove dirt from shiny footwear 

Shoes kiss the dirty ground about a million times a day, and chances are, your new sparkly silver Chanel boots are no exception – unless of course they nest on a shrine over your bed. But for those who make good use of their finest party-girl footwear, you can remove any dirt, champagne spills or unrecognizable marks with a toothbrush and some cold water. 

First, gently wipe down the shoes with a clean, soft cloth to dislodge any dried dirt. Then, prepare a mixture of cold water and soap and pour it into a bowl. Submerge your shoes in the water and very gently scrub the glitter using a toothbrush. Allow the shoes to dry and complete the job with another layer of protective hairspray. 

Store in plastic bags 

Store clothes and shoes adorned with glitter in plastic bags to keep the shiny flecks from falling off and leaving a trail all around your closet and bedroom. Glitter loves to cling to other materials, so containing the masses of sparkles will ensure that your wool knits and furry rugs don't look like they've come in contact with a five-year-old's arts and crafts table.

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