Clothing care is often something that people don’t place enough emphasis on. People are so passionate about sustainability yet don’t give their clothes the proper care they need in order to sustain a long life. If we want our wardrobes to last a long time while still looking new, there are many factors that come into play. Although the information I am about to share with you may feel like a lot, once you implement these changes into your lifestyle they will feel effortless. After today you will know how to take care of your clothes properly and therefore will be able to hold onto your favorite clothes for more time. We will be covering how to wash, dry, iron/steam, and even store your articles of clothing. How to keep your clothes looking new doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Stick with me and learn everything you will ever need to know. Let’s go!
Symbols on Clothing Tags
Before we get into the ins and outs of how to wash and dry our clothes, it is important that we know the importance of the symbols on the tags inside our clothes. You know the tags I’m talking about. Perhaps you cut them out because you find them irritating or itchy. A key to how to keep clothes looking new is to read and understand the tags in our clothing. These tags will share important information with us such as:
- The material
- Whether it should be washed, hand-washed, or dry cleaned
- What temperature it should be washed in
- Whether it should be hung to dry or not
If you understand what you are working with, you will be less likely to cut the life of your favorite wool sweater short because it shrunk when you threw it in the dryer. We tried to simplify your search and make this reminder table. Also, you can find an additional list of these symbols and their meanings in many places online.
When washing your clothes there are many things to think about.
Sorting by colour
Sorting by colour is important to ensure that no colours will bleed into one another. For example, fashion care cleaners will stress to never mix reds with whites unless you were wanting that white shirt to turn pink. Avoiding mixing any colours with your whites for that matter is important as well. Mixing whites with colours will hinder the vibrancy potential for your white articles of clothing. It’s best to sort your laundry by colours to ensure the best results.
Sorting by delicacy
Sorting by delicacy is important as you don’t want your heavy and bulky towels to be washing with your dainty lingerie. I always try to wash my towels, blankets and bed sheets separately from my clothing as I like to use different temperatures, cycles and amounts of detergents for these items.
Sorting by temperature
As mentioned before, I like washing my bedding, towels and blankets separately from my clothing as they require different cycles. For these items, I wash them on a longer cycle in hot water. For my clothing, their cycle length depends on their level of soil and I always wash them in cold water to preserve their colour. Washing your clothes with cold water is one of the many great clothing care tips I can offer.
What detergent you are using
What detergent you use is totally up to you and your personal preference. I always use a scent-free or weaker scented detergent as I find it is more gentle on my skin which in turn makes me believe it is more gentle on my clothing. I also always use a natural detergent for the same reasons as well as for the benefit of the environment.
How much detergent you are using
How much detergent you are using depends on the soil of a load of laundry. By this, I mean how dirty your clothes are. If you have a small load of laundry that you only wore for a short duration of time, only a little detergent will be needed as a little goes a long way. Detergent is expensive, why waste it?
It is time we move on to the drying portion of today’s garment care instructions. When it comes time to use your dryer, this is the perfect time to read the tags in your garments if you have not already done so. Clothing care instructions can be pretty serious when it comes to dryer use as some clothes will shrink very easily. I have lost one too many wool sweaters because I chose not to read the tag and throw them in. Don’t make this mistake for yourself. If the tag tells you to hang dry it, do so. After your clothes have hung to dry, if you find they are stiff or crisp, throw them in the dryer on a timed cycle with just air. This will bring some life back into the clothing and make them more comfortable for future use.
How to make clothes look new all comes down to maintenance. Upon washing and drying, nothing gives your clothes a better revival than that of the iron or steamer. If your clothes are wrinkly, applying heat to remove these wrinkles will definitely make your clothes look new. Now, you can head to a clothes care cleaners for this step, or do it successfully on your own.
Storing your clothes away in your closet, whether it be for a few days or an entire season is important while dealing with how to take care of clothes. How to make clothes last longer means taking care of your clothes even when you aren’t wearing them. Here are some tips on how to store some more tricky and fussy items:
Hang from the straps of the dress and ensure the rack is high enough away from the floor. You want your dress to hang freely without any kinks or folds. Storing your dresses this way will prevent wrinkling.
Same goes for long coats. Finding space in a closet which is high enough away from the floor is key. Close your jacket around the hanger as you would around your body. This will allow the jacket to maintain its form no matter how long it’s stowed away.
Always hang, never fold. Collared shirts are sensitive articles of clothing. If folded incorrectly you could ruin the form of the collar. Hanging collared shirts prevents any problems from occurring.
When hanging pants, draping them over a hanger is a great method. However, something important to remember is that when you are folding your jeans in half, fold the two back pockets together. The hem of the pants will fold more naturally in this manner, helping the jeans stay looking new for longer.
I hope you find some of these tips to be helpful. One last thing that I do while storing clothes away for a longer amount of time is fold dryer sheets between them. If they are going to be sitting in the back of my closet for all summer, I like to keep them smelling fresh. Adding some dryer sheets here and there will keep them smelling their best for when you are ready to wear them again.
How to Care for Different Materials
When caring for our clothes, it is essential we remember that clothes come in all different shapes, sizes and materials, therefore they all have different needs. It is important we cater to the needs of each piece of clothing individually rather than assuming they can all be maintained in the same fashion. Here are some examples of different materials and what some of their special requirements may be.
When dealing with clothes care for silk, it is important to remember a few things. Always wash your silk items with like coloured clothing, wash on a delicate cold cycle, use a gentle detergent and avoid the use of fabric softener. If you want to take extra precaution, placing your silk items inside a mesh bag will prevent snagging or catching of the fabric from occurring while it’s in the washing machine. Silk is known for drying extremely fast so leaving it out to hang dry is a great option.
Wool clothing has many desires when it comes to how it is taken care of. Wool stores best when hung on hangers that are padded. If not padded, the hangers will stretch the shoulder of any given wool garment. If dealing with smaller knitted items, folding them neatly into a drawer works as well. Wool items don’t like to be washed regularly, nor do they have to be. A great way to refresh your wool item is to hang it in the bathroom while you take a steamy shower. The steam will assist the wool in losing any wrinkles or smells they may have. Lastly, never dry your wool items in heat. Keep away from heat at all times. Heat will shrink the wool fibers right up. Your oversized sweater will suddenly be the perfect sized sweater for a five year old if you place it in the dryer.
Washing your cotton clothing in cold water is ideal. When removing them from the wash, give them a nice stretch and shake to bring them back to their normal size and shape. Always opt for air drying your cotton items as cotton is prone to shrinking. Honestly, any item of clothing I want to keep looking new for longer, I will not place in the dryer. Air drying on a flat surface is the way to go.
Polyester clothing items aren’t as picky as others. Washing your polyester items in cold water and then placing them into the dryer on a low to no heat should be perfectly fine. I wouldn’t stress the maintenance of these clothes too much as they are quite durable and less fussy.
There is a great article on the spruce which provides some tips on how to care for your bamboo items. Bamboo clothing is less popular than cotton or polyester, so there may be less knowledge surrounding the care for these items. They can be washed on a cold cycle, however, if they are deeply soiled a slightly warmer cycle will work as well. When placing them in the dryer use a low heat cycle, or hang to dry.
When dealing with leather, your best choice is to bring it to a trustworthy clothing care dry cleaners. At the clothing care cleaners they will take the best care of your leather items. Before bringing it in, don’t allow it to become too dirty. You can maintain your own leather by patting it dry if it becomes moist. I always hang my leather items to allow them to air out rather than cramming them into a small drawer in my dresser. Leather is more complicated to take care of, but your apparel care cleaners will know just what to do.
How to Care for Different Materials
Different clothing requires different levels of care.
Undergarments need to be washed daily. These particular pieces of clothing are hugging your body tightly and receiving a lot of bacteria. Washing these items after one use is necessary for protecting the health of the clothing as well as your body. Don’t rewear bras, socks or underwear, give them a wash after one use.
I tend to wash my shirts after one use as well. I find that washing them removes any body odors that may have clung to the fabrics right away. If the shirt is a looser fit, I will sometimes try to wash it after every second of wear, however, this is not always ideal.
Sweaters, especially wool sweaters, should not be washed frequently. If you spill anything on these items, simply spot remove rather than washing the whole entire thing. The less frequently you wash your sweaters, the longer they will stay looking young and new.
Pants, especially jeans, have simple care clothing regimes. Jeans can be worn multiple times before washing, in fact this is ideal. The more times I wear my jeans, the more comfortable they become. Jean tends to stretch out after use, so when you feel they are no longer hugging you in the right places, it may finally be time to throw them in the wash.
I take my jackets to the clothing cleaners just to be safe. Jackets do not have to be washed frequently. Once a season I will bring my jacket to the cleaners and allow them to give it a little freshening up.
Hats, especially beanies, should be washed every now and again. I know this is something that may not cross your mind often and that is okay. However, our heads do release oils that latch onto the fibers of the hat. It is good to throw them in the wash and let them air dry every so often.
Scarves, similar to hats, do not need to be washed often though should be washed every now and again. Scarves pick up a lot of bacteria from the external environment. Giving them a quick wash will only be helpful to you as well as the prolonged life of the scarf.
Happy Clothing Care!
Well there you have it, many great tips on how to keep your clothes lasting as long as possible. The better care you take, the longer they will last, making them more sustainable. It is worth the time it takes to care of your clothes, so start implementing some of these tips into your lifestyle today.
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