How to care for your wardrobe.

My last post talked about having the wardrobe of your dreams and this one tells you how to take care of it.In the next few weeks you will be taking your Fall pieces out of storage and putting your Spring and Summer clothes into storage.You will need to make sure that when you do this they are well cared for.Caring for your clothes is simple with these tips:

Equipment

Invest in a top of the line washer and dryer;you will be surprised at how much money it will save you in the long run.Read care labels and follow instructions as closely as possible.Some current models can clean garments that you normally dry clean and are energy efficient.

Stains

Take care of stains ASAP! Time is the enemy here.Over 100 items can stain clothing and each one needs to be treated differently.Find a good stain removing guide and hand it in your laundry room.I use this one from Real Simple magazine and it is on the inside of my laundry room door.It eliminates the guesswork.Create a small box with all the products you need to lift stains.Carry a stain removal pen or wipe in your handbag at all times for quick pre-treating.Stains are the number one reason people have to get rid of their clothing.

 

Ready-Set-Wash

Wash delicates on a gentle cycle; use a mesh bag with a floating disc.If you do not have a gentle cycle,use a large salad spinner specially for silk scarves and lace tops.Just add a mild detergent to cold water,spin gently,empty,add water to rinse and lay flat to dry on a towel.

Go with the mildest detergent possible.If your clothes are not heavily soiled use half the amount of recommended detergent.I recommend staying away from heavily scented detergents.Avoid fabric softener sheets as it can cause a residue to build up.

Goes without saying always wash whites,lights and darks separately.Always wash denim jeans separately,they can bleed and the metal trims can damage knit garments specially sweaters.

I recommend not using a chlorine bleach on whites;look for a gentler bleach alternative.

Turn all garments inside out before you wash them and close all zippers.

When washing cashmere,merino or other delicate knits,use a detergent formulated for delicates or in a pinch a baby laundry detergent,use cold water as much as possible,not only is it good for your clothes it also great for the environment and your budget.

Dryer Begone

Try not to use the dryer as much as possible,heat is the biggest enemy of spandex.Many new dryers have a cool setting and do not shrink your clothing,I once saw a woman’s sweater come out of the dryer as a kids,that process is irreversible.Never completely crisp dry your clothes.Remove them when they are 95% dry and hang at once.If something fits you just right make sure you always lay it flat on a towel to air dry.

Folds

Make sure you fold your laundry as soon as possible with the right folds,use the seams as a guide if you are not sure.

Into the Closet

Ideally keep a space of one hanger width between each piece,I know this is hard but it is important for each piece of clothing to hang correctly.This is very important specially for suede,leather and shearling.Invest in good hangers that do not create points on your clothing.Make sure your closet is cool and dry.Humidity and light can damage clothing so keep your closet door closed when you are not picking out your clothing.I have seen many one sleeve faded garments when people leave their closets open all the time.Never hang knits specially sweaters always keep them folded.

Storage

Properly store off season items in a nice cool basement if you have it.Avoid storing garments in plastic bags especially if they have just been dry cleaned.Use sealed plastic containers for sweaters to avoid moths and breathable garment bags for others.

Ironing

Never iron the face of a fabric always the back.Use brown paper or a pressing cloth to prevent the color from changing.Make sure your iron is always clean and on the right setting for the fabric.Never iron fabrics with a pile,velvet in particular.

Dry Cleaning

I avoid it as much as possible specially with fragile fabric,there are now eco cleaners that use gentler processes and chemicals.I usually prefer to hand wash or spot clean only dry cleaning when absolutely needed,not only does it save money it increases the life of your clothing.

Fast Freshening

Only wash clothes when they are dirty.Our natural tendency is to wash clothes more often than actually needed.My habit is to put something in the laundry basket as soon as I take it off even if I have had it on for 5 minutes.Try some of these quick,wash free garment fresheners.

  • If you are planning to wear something again,get in on a hanger as soon as you take it off and put it in an airy space.
  • Invest in a steamer,a lint brush and a pill shaver use them to quickly freshen up a garment.
  • Keep a small mister with water handy.Spray your garment a couple of times(add a touch of lavender if you like)and toss in the dryer on a fluff cycle.You can also use a wrinkle release spray if your garment is crushed.
  • Hang your clothes behind your bathroom door while you shower as it will steam away the wrinkles.This works great for knit jersey fabrics.

All of these tips are my personal observations throughout out the years and many of you have better methods so feel free to share in the comments.I believe to buy the best you can afford and take good care of it.In the long run that turns out to be more economical than constantly replacing items that are of a poor quality.This is true for the items that are the backbone of your wardrobe like tanks,camis and leggings.

A bonus tip invest in 3 of them in the basic colors like black one to wear,one to wash and one to have(at rest) spandex fits better and last longer when it has time to recover.