The fashion industry is a multi-billion dollar field, but it can be intimidating to even the most seasoned shopper. In the age of social media and online shopping, knowing how to care for your clothes has become more critical than ever before.
Whether you’ve just bought a piece from your favorite store or an old article of clothing that has been languishing in your closet for years, here are some quick steps that will take any item from drab to fab.
Check the tags for the proper care instructions
Always read all labels thoroughly before laundering any garment. Most modern articles of clothing will list the type of fabric and any special care that it may require. Always play it safe and choose a cold or warm gentle cycle with mild detergent if you’re unsure.
If your clothes seem to attract lint like nobody’s business, it could be that they’ve collected a buildup of fabric softener. If that is the case, the best way to revive them is by taking them to the dry cleaners. These professionals are knowledgeable in stripping away any residue, allowing your clothes to regain their original texture.
Turn your clothes inside out before laundering them
This technique will help prevent fading and reduce the buildup of oils along the seams. It also applies to any delicate pieces you might have, as it will keep them from becoming stretched out or misshapen.
Most clothing experts say this method works best for dark colors, as it may cause the lighter hues to bleed.
Use a vacuum to clean up spills on clothes
A portable handheld or canister vac will do the trick just fine. This step is best done outdoors. For tougher stains, consider using an old toothbrush to lightly scrub any residue before throwing your garment in with the rest of your laundry.
Spot-treating spills on clothes can be a handy way to keep them looking fresh and clean. Just make sure to use a damp cloth and mild detergent, as any harsh chemicals could cause discoloration or damage your garment.
Wash dark colors with like colors
It’s best to keep dark-colored items away from light-colored pieces, as the color from the latter could transfer onto the former.
Always wash similar hues together and separate your lights and darks for a more thorough cleaning. Be aware of any hand-painted or hand-dyed garments, as those may bleed and fade even faster than other clothes.
Although the temperature of your water may not seem like a big deal, it can affect how long your clothes last. Warm or hot water causes dyes in dark colors to dissolve and fade, while cold water inhibits the shade from bonding with your garment.
Drying in the sun can revive dull clothes
All clothes can benefit from a trip in the sun, even if it is just for an hour or two. The light exposure will brighten up any fabric, removing the dull sheen that can come from frequent washing.
However, it’s essential to check the manufacturer’s label before doing so. Some materials cannot handle too much heat, so you should either air dry or use the low heat setting on your dryer if possible.
Match your iron’s heat settings to the material you’re working with
Ironing cotton or linen? You should set the temperature between medium and low. These materials are somewhat porous, so the latter is recommended whenever possible.
On the other hand, wool or silk will require a higher heat setting. These materials are less porous but are more delicate, so you have to take care not to scorch or brown them.
Store your clothes properly
Between uses, make sure to keep your garments neatly folded or hung. Doing so will help them retain their original shape and texture and prevent any wrinkles from forming. You can place sweaters on hangers with wide necks to reduce the chances of stretching out knits over time.
Bear in mind that some fabrics are more likely to crease than others. Wool is especially challenging to store because it needs to be smoothed down with a protective layer between it and the hanger.
Lastly, never keep your clothes in plastic containers, as it will cause moisture to build up, leading to wrinkling or mildewing.
Now that you have the basics of clothing maintenance down, it’s time to put those tips into practice. Your clothes will stay looking their best for longer by following the advice above. So go ahead and get started on keeping your wardrobe in excellent condition!