How to care for your mother of pearl buttons
Mother of pearl buttons can be scratched easily and damaged by harsh cleaning agents such as bleach, ammonia or acid so they need to be treated with care.
Cleaning the buttons
If a mother of pearl button looks a bit dirty, use a soft dry cloth and rub the button in a circular motion to remove any oil or dirt. The natural lustre of the button should start to shine again, but if it does not, wash it in some warm water and mild soap. If the dirt does not come off, scrub the button with a soft bristled brush. Do not scrub too hard in case you damage it. Dry the button to make it shine.
Cleaning an item with the buttons sewn on
The best way to clean an item which has our buttons sewn on them is to hand wash it in warm water with a mild soap or detergent, and then dry it on the washing line. But, if you don’t have the time to hand wash the item – here are some tips.
For items with our smaller sized buttons on them, put it in your washing machine on a cold wash with a gentle cycle. To prevent the buttons chipping on the washing machine’s drum, we recommend that you turn the item inside out.
For the larger buttons, to truly protect them, we recommend that you take off the button and sew it back on after the item has dried. If you don’t want to take the button off an item, wrap the button with cotton and then aluminium foil before washing it. You could also make a protective button cover – have a look at Mary LaCaze instructions on how to make one.
If you are going to get your item dry cleaned, there is still a chance the button can be damaged as they use a high heat. Ask the dry cleaner not to use an oxidizing chemical in the washing process and to use a soft press (with an iron by hand rather a machine).