Caring for Cork 101: Tips for Keeping Cork Products Beautiful - Texas Cork Company

Caring for Cork 101: Tips for Keeping Cork Products Beautiful

Cork products, including purses, wallets, coasters, and placemats, have gained immense popularity for their sustainability, versatility, and unique aesthetic appeal. If you're a proud owner of these eco-friendly items, it's crucial to understand how to care for them to ensure their longevity. In this guide, we'll share some expert tips on maintaining your cork products, so they can stand the test of time and continue to be a stylish and sustainable addition to your life.

Before we jump into care tips, let's take a moment to understand why cork is an exceptional material for various products. Cork is harvested from the bark of cork oak trees, a process that doesn't harm the tree. This renewable resource is not only environmentally friendly but also possesses unique characteristics such as water resistance, stain resistance, buoyancy, and a distinctive texture.

To clean cork products, wipe with damp cloth. Top right image shows a cork purse being wiped off. Bottom right image shows a cork floor mat being cleaned. Image in star frame on left shows a dishcloth getting wet.

Care Tips for Items Made with Cork Fabrics

  1. Avoid Overstuffing: Cork fabric is durable, but overloading your purse or wallet can lead to unnecessary wear and tear over long periods of time. Keep the essentials and declutter regularly to maintain the shape and integrity of your items.

  2. Protect from Moisture: While cork is naturally resistant to water, prolonged exposure can still lead to damage. If your purse or wallet gets wet, gently dab it dry with a soft cloth and allow it to air dry completely. Do not use high heat to speed drying.

  3. Store Properly: When not in use, store your cork fabric products in a cool, dry place. Avoid leaving them in direct sunlight for extended periods, as this can cause fading over time. If you need to store the product for longer periods, place it in a breathable bag to avoid build up of dust on the surface.

  4. Clean with Mild Soap: To remove dirt, oils from skin, or some stains, use a damp cloth with mild soap. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage the cork's surface. In some cases, isopropyl alcohol can be used to remove more stubborn stains. Test a small spot in an inconspicuous location on your specific item to be certain this will not remove any color or pattern that may be in the cork fabric.

Left image shows a cork bag being stuffed with a towel. Right image shows a cork purse being ironed with a towel between the iron and the cork.

Caring for Cork Home Goods

  1. Wipe Spills Promptly: Cork coasters and placemats are excellent at repelling moisture, but it's essential to wipe spills promptly to prevent any potential staining. As you might expect, red wine is one of the few things that we know for certain can stain cork; however, prompt wiping of a wine spill can typically prevent stains. Use a damp cloth to clean and allow products to air dry.

  2. Avoid Prolonged Exposure to Extreme Heat: While cork is naturally heat-resistant, exposing it to high temperatures for extended periods can affect its appearance, mainly by darkening its color. There are also sometimes adhesives within cork products that can be damaged by extreme heat. This is why cork products should never be placed in the microwave, dishwasher, or dryer. Consider placing exceptionally hot pans or dishes on other surfaces until they have cooled slightly. 

  3. Rotate Placemats Regularly: If you frequently use placemats, rotate them regularly to ensure even wear. This helps maintain a consistent look and prevents specific areas from fading due to continuous exposure to light or spills.

  4. Use Gentle Cleaning Methods: For stubborn stains on cork home goods, clean with a mixture of mild soap and water. Gently rub the stain with a soft cloth, avoiding excessive pressure. Always test in an inconspicuous area first.

Top left image shows a cork purse that has been soiled on the bottom edges. Bottom left image shows the same area of that purse after cleaning. Top right image shows the purse air drying.

Cork products, whether in the form of personal accessories crafted with cork fabrics or home goods made with cork aggregates, bring a touch of nature and sustainability into our daily lives. By following these simple care tips, you can ensure that your cork treasures remain as vibrant and functional as the day you brought them home. Embrace the unique beauty of cork while contributing to a more eco-conscious lifestyle.

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