With our advice you have now chosen your pair of braces and you wear them regularly? But are you taking proper care of them so that you will still be able to use them for a long time? We often hear the same answer to this question: “Oh - you have to look after braces?"... perhaps you are asking yourself the same question? Don't panic - we've got some tips to guide you.
But first, let's try to answer this question: do you really need to take care of your braces? Let's use a little analogy here: you wouldn't think of wearing a shirt, jumper or jacket on a regular basis without washing them, would you? So why not give the same favourable treatment to your braces, after all, they spend a lot of time close to your torso, shoulders and back... It is highly recommended to take care of them regularly and to wash them from time to time.
Hand or machine wash?
To give a good answer to this question, let's start by detailing the composition of your pair of Bertelles: elastic, leather and metal parts. The answer becomes more obvious now - machine washing is not recommended, particularly because leather does not like prolonged exposure to water - machine washing will prematurely age the leather parts of your braces. Therefore, opt for a hand wash as much as you can.
Why look after an elastic band?
The main component of a pair of Bertelles is the elastic, which is one of the reasons for their renowned comfort. These elastics are produced in Belgium and Spain and are designed to last for years - a well-maintained elastic can last for decades. However, these elastics can age prematurely if they are not cared for properly and regularly.
One of the main sources of elastic ageing is dirt, and it's quite simple to understand: when an elastic is stretched, micro-holes form in its structure to allow it to expand. These micro-holes have the unfortunate tendency to "fill up" with micro-particles that can come from ambient dust or even your sweat. This is why regular cleaning is necessary, especially if you wear your braces in very dusty environments or if you sweat a lot.
Note: Elastic bands can also age if exposed to high heat or prolonged direct sunlight, in which case the band may gradually dry out and lose its primary function: elasticity. This is why Bertelles recommends that you always store your braces carefully when you are not wearing them.
How do I care for and wash my braces?
At Bertelles we recommend regular maintenance and occasional thorough washing of your braces. The frequency obviously depends on how often you wear your braces - the more often you wear them the more often they need to be maintained and washed.
For regular maintenance take a slightly damp cloth with a little mild soap and wipe over the elastic without stretching it. Wipe both sides of the elastic band, then rinse your cloth and repeat the same operation to remove any soap that remains on the straps. Leave to dry in the open air and avoid direct sunlight or proximity to a source of heat such as a radiator.
For thorough cleaning, hand washing is highly recommended to ensure that you can enjoy your Bertelles for as long as possible. Use warm water and mild soap. Swirl the straps around in the water for a short time and do not hesitate to use a soft brush to scrub the elastic, especially if it is stained. Once this is done, rinse thoroughly with clean water and wipe off any excess water. Then let the straps air dry - again, avoid the sun or radiator.
Note: If you are a little lazy and decide to put your braces in the washing machine, here are some suggestions for you: put them in at a low temperature to preserve the leather and the elastic, use a short program so that the leather is not exposed to water for too long and use a mesh wash bag to avoid the elastic being stretched during the washing and the metal parts making a drumming noise during the washing program. Then for drying, let the straps air dry - absolutely avoid the machine dryer or a radiator.
Any other points of attention?
The leather of your Bertelles obviously deserves some attention but very occasional care should normally suffice unless your straps are heavily exposed to the elements or the leather has been exposed to water for a long time (via a trip to the washing machine for example). But nothing too technical here: use a colourless leather nourishing product and wipe it over the various leather parts of your braces in small quantities with a cloth.
Note: for braces as for shoes or any other part of your wardrobe, it is advisable to let them "breathe" and not to wear them every day. If you wear braces regularly, you probably already have several pairs in your drawers anyway.
If you follow these few tips your favourite pair of Bertelles should last you a long time and that's all we wish for! And if you have any questions or need specific advice, don't hesitate to contact us at [email protected]