They give your home a special allure: furnishings in velvet – either plain or dévoré – are the real trend this winter for cushions, bedspreads and curtains. They are not only beautiful to look at, but also to live with, because they convey a unique, enveloping warmth to the body (and the eye!), which is often the result of the clever matching of colour and types of velvet. As soon as you take them out of the wardrobe, they will change the look of your home in a really dramatic way: while in summer the trend was for white linen cushions on leather sofas, in winter the colour for cushions is scarlet or navy, which alone will change the entire look of the room. Also, if you are lucky enough to have curtain valances, choosing them in velvet helps give the living room a more classic, refined look and also gives elegance and makes the room extremely cosy, in contrast to the low light of winter.

Velvet is a magical fabric – its changing properties make it instantly recognizable, even from a distance. Some people are afraid of this fabric because they do not know how to wash it and they believe they have to resort to dry cleaning it every time – with the resulting investment of time and of money. The good news is that velvet can be washed it at home, by hand or in the washing machine, because it has the same characteristics as a good quality bath towel. First, sort the different types of velvet and learn to recognise them: velvet can be made of silk, wool, linen and cotton. To wash velvet perfectly at home, you first need to know which of these three fibres has been processed to make your velvet and then wash it accordingly, also noting three basic rules.

1 look at the colours and load the washing machine with similar colours only and without overloading the drum. A load of 3 kg in a drum that holds 5 kg is perfect for velvet because it allows an excellent rinse. Set the temperature to 30°C for intense colours and 40°C for whites and pastels.

2 use a suitable detergent that prevents colour transfer (so as not to fade the fabric), such as Lindo by Nuncas. Do not add too much detergent, as the velvet used for furnishings is often just dusty with no major stains. If there are any stains, use a special stain remover (such as Nuncas’ Smackia) or add a stain remover for coloured fabrics to the wash: Nuncas’ Vitacolor respects both fabrics and colours, effectively eliminating any stains. If your washing machine has a delicates programme with a reduced spin speed, select it to prevent the velvet from compressing - 800 rpm is sufficient but 600 rpm is ideal! For velvet made of wool and silk, you should use specific detergents: Wool 1 and Wool 2 for wool (with the appropriate wash programme) and Silk & Delicates for silk (with the appropriate delicates wash programme). In these two cases, you should wash your velvet in the same way as you would wool and silk (see articles on the topic in the archive section).

3 once the wash has finished, shake the fabric thoroughly to lift the fibres, just as you would do with a towel. It is also important not to hang the velvet on a clothes line (as it will leave a mark) or using clothes pegs in places that are too obvious. For perfect drying conditions, stretch the fabric flat as this will leave no traces. Finally, a note on ironing: always iron on the reverse so as not to crush the fibres and do not rub the fabric. Use a hot iron with plenty of steam for heavy linen velvet.