How To Care For Your Clothes
Hi friends! Welcome back! So recently a friend of mine reached out to me to share that she was considering purchasing more quality pieces for her wardrobe, but wasn't sure about how to properly care for her clothes. She asked if I would consider sharing some tips on how to do that and I jumped at this opportunity. I am by no means an expert, but I am someone who reads all of the washing instructions before I wash anything, stores my clothes the way they're "supposed" to be stored, and puts my clothes back the exact way I found them when I'm done wearing them, etc. I thought this was just a natural thing that everyone did (except for my husband. Men...am I right ladies?), but then I realized I do treat my clothes like my children and that's probably not at the top of everyone else's priorities. So here am I am. If you're someone who has also avoided splurging on certain items of clothing because you're scared of ruining them due to lack of care, I'm here to change your life. Okay, that's a bit dramatic, but I am here to help! Keep reading for some of the tips I have used over the years to take care of my babies...I mean clothes. I'll try not to overwhelm you too much.
1) ALWAYS read and follow the washing instructions on your clothes.
I know washing instructions can be annoying, time consuming and confusing, but trust me on this. If you wash your clothes properly, you'll be saving yourself a world of frustration. Imagine spending $100 on a top that you considered purchasing for months before you finally pulled the trigger, only to then take it out of the washing machine and see permanent stains, rendering the top unwearable? Tragic. We're regular people that work hard for our money. Don't waste that hard earned cash by being careless with your laundry.
Separate colors from whites and lighter colors from darker colors. For example, never wash your dark wash denim with a light pink or yellow top. You're asking for a disaster there.
Wash your delicates separately from everything else. This is super important. They're labeled as delicate for a reason. That precious silky dress will be something else completely when it comes out of the machine if you decide to take the lazy route and throw it in with everything else in the regular cycle.
Never overload your washing machine or dryer. I know it's tempting to just dump everything in at once (trust me I am guilty of this), but you're causing more damage to your clothes than you think by doing that. Also, stuffing a bunch of clothes in together creates more wrinkles, which means more time wasted steaming. Personally, I despise steaming/ironing my clothes so the less I have to do that, the better.
Invest in some mesh laundry bags. I use these. They're perfect for protecting those extra special pieces that you feel like you would just die if they ever got ruined. You just throw them right into the machine with the items inside, use your detergent of choice and follow the washing instructions the same way you would without the bag.
Wash your jeans inside out and no more than every 5-10 wears. Obviously this doesn't include spills or accidents that require you to wash them right away, which brings me to my next tip.
2) Take care of spills and stains IMMEDIATELY
I wouldn't consider myself a particularly clumsy person, but I am definitely prone to a food spill here and there. Some foods are harder to get out than others, but nothing is impossible to get out. I spilled red wine on my white satin rehearsal dinner dress and thanks to a little club soda and a Tide to Go Pen, I was able to get it out before anyone even really noticed.
If you're not able to tend to the stain right away, try keeping the stain wet until you're able to take care of it.
Pro tip: If you happen to spill food on yourself while you're at home, put a little dish soap on a wet paper towel and rub it into the stain. Then, rub the soapy fabric together against itself. I know they say to "dab" instead of "rub," but in my personal experience, rubbing soap into your stain almost always gets the stain out, or at least most of it. Throw it into the wash as soon as possible and 9 times out of 10 the stain will be completely gone. Thank me later.
3) STORE your items correctly
This is also extremely important to maintain the longevity of your clothes. I'm going to do this by category of clothes so bear with me here.
Sweaters/Knits: Always fold your sweaters. Never hang them. If you absolutely have to hang them, invest in thick padded hangers to maintain the shape of the shoulders. This is especially important when it comes to fine/hand knit sweaters. When you use thin or wired hangers, you risk the shoulders getting that unsightly bulge at the top when you put it on which makes the sweater look a little, for lack of a better word, sloppy. This includes sweater dresses and all long sleeve dresses as well.
Jeans/Trousers: I have tried folding and stacking my jeans and I have also tried hanging them by folding them over the hanger. Personally, I like hanging them better than stacking because it's just easier to see what's there when they're hung. If you're like me and have multiple pairs of jeans that are similar washes and they're all stacked on top of each other, it's hard to tell which pair is which so you'll end up making a mess trying to find the pair you're looking for. As for trousers, hanging them helps to prevent as many creases as folding/stacking would create. I wouldn't attempt to stack your trousers unless you want to waste time steaming them every time you wear them. I told you, I do NOT enjoy steaming. At all.
Coats: I spent the last couple of years curating a coat collection that I can be proud of and wear forever. I can finally say that I'm officially there. Now that I have all of my dream coats, it's extremely important for me to preserve them and prevent them from moths and whatever other elements can possibly damage them. When hanging my coats, I try to use thick hangers with rounded ends, but since those take up a lot of space, I do end up using regular velvet hangers for a lot of them and that seems to work too. During the off season (spring/summer), store your coats in garment bags and if you can, add some cedar wood planks/balls to keep moths and other insects away. They're also helpful for absorbing moisture and odors that develop over time from lack of use. I use these.
Dresses: For most of my dresses, I simply just hang them using velvet hangers. If they're knit or long sleeves, I tend to fold and stack those the same as my sweaters. Gotta preserve those shoulders!
Shoes: I realize that shoes can be super hard to store especially if you're low on closet space, so the best thing to do is to invest in a good shoe organizer or shoe storage bins. Another way I like to store my shoes (and I usually save this for my absolute favorite shoes) is to store them in dust bags specified for shoes. I use these. If you're someone who walks a lot in a specific pair of shoes you own, you can consider taking them to a cobbler/repair place and having the soles protected. Brooklyn Blonde has a really helpful post on this if this is something you're interested in. I personally haven't done this yet, but I'm definitely considering it.
Bags: When it comes to designer bags, most of them come with a dust bag. To preserve the quality and longevity of your bag, always store them in their designated dust bags when you're not using them. If you don't have dust bags, Amazon sells a bunch of them. I use these. I will be the first to admit that I am not the best at keeping my bags as organized as I should, due to the fact that I have a million bags and not a huge amount of closet space, but because of this, I do my best to utilize dust bags as much as I can.
Okay guys! That's it for now! Hopefully this guide was helpful for you. It's a fun challenge for me to write blog posts about topics other than just my personal outfits so if you have any suggestions, feel free to send them my way. Until next time, tootles sugar plums! Xoxo.