Caring For Your Clothes

Jane Ramsay

Posted on March 12 2018

Caring for your Clothes
Taking care of your clothes is part of dressing well. However in a world where domestic tasks are often considered beneath many people, caring for clothing seems to be becoming in many respects a lost art. So in response to the many queries we get re caring for clothes here is my simple starter guide.
Some General Guidelines… 
The better you care for clothing the longer it will last. 
Deal with stains ASAP. Pay attention to areas susceptible to staining from lotions and make-up such as under-arms, inside collars, and sleeve edges. Be sure to wash them as soon as possible so the stains do not build up and become permanent. Never store a dirty shirt.
Avoid over-washing. This may seem like a contradiction to the above, but over-washing and/or over drying can cause garments to age prematurely. Therefore if your clothes are clean enough to warrant another wear do so but only after you have give it an opportunity to be hung or stored in a well aired area. Hanging or storing worn items in a tightly filled closet is what results in sour or musty smelling clothing that even washing often can not remove.
Avoid dryers with delicate fabrics. As a busy working mother of four I LOVE my clothes dryer but even so dryers break down the fibers of the fabric which in turn may lead to issues such as: small holes, premature aging, shrinkage, loss of lustre… So items such as my Silk Cargo Pants or Silk Shirts are a definite no-go in the dryer.
Air dry where possible. The value of fresh air really is wonderfully restorative particularly to natural fibers. If you are really serious avoid clothes pegs too as they may leave difficult to remove marks on delicate fabrics such as Silk and Lyocell. Instead hang on a drying rack or clothes hangers to dry. Be sure to use a hanger that actually ‘fits’ the clothes too. For example hangers that extend beyond the shoulder seam leave marks on the sleeves, and those that are too narrow result in excess creasing. Further to this make sure your item is well shaken or gently pulled or flattened to remove the creases from washing. This will ensure the item dries with minimal wrinkles and make ironing easier.
When storing clothes in a closet ensure clothes are not over-packed. In a perfect world there would be a little space between each hanger, although most people do not have the luxury of closets large enough to achieve this. The best solution in this instance is to ensure you only put away completely clean and well-pressed, smooth clothes.
Always store clothes in a clean, cool, dry environment. Humidity and Damp result in mold.
Wash like colors together. Take the time to separate your clothes – preferably into whites, mid-tones, and darks. Never, ever wash white with any other color!
Wash in COLD water. Not only does it protect the color, it will protect the fibers. 
Wash dark colors inside out to preserve their color longer.
In addition to separating colors you should also separate delicate fabrics. So many delicate items are ruined by washing them with inappropriate items such as those with metal buttons or zippers (or worse still Velcro) which catch and result in snags or holes.
Follow care instructions and aim to hand wash delicates in a mild detergent or shampoo.

Never iron a stain. If you see a stain as you begin to iron stop and wash it again. Ironing a stain almost guarantees it will not be able to be successfully removed.
Discover the magic of steam and water. These are the key to a well-pressed item. Investing in a good steam iron can make such a difference. Not only is it so much easier the results are significantly better too. Natural fibers are better ironed slightly damp. As this is not always possible keep a spray bottle of clean water handy to spray dry clothes lightly.
Iron in the correct order. For a shirt it is – collar, cuffs, and then the rest of the shirt. For pants it is – waistband and pocket bags then the legs one at a time, then fold them together by matching the inside leg seams together from the ankles to iron in the crease.
Get to know your iron so you avoid burning or yellowing. For example too much heat on delicate fabrics can completely ruin them, so make sure you always use the right heat level for the type of fabric you’re ironing. If you are unsure test in an area that is not immediately visible or the underside.
Never iron the shiny side of a fabric as you will lose the lustre.
Always iron a print from the reverse side. Never iron a print directly.
For those who do not like ironing or are not confident in their fabric knowledge I highly recommend investing in a steamer. You do not have to spend a lot of money either as even the basic models do the job well. They are quick, effective, and perfect for most items except those that require the sharp crease that only an iron can give.

***NOTE: The opinions and topics covered in this Blog are intended as a conversation with the reader, and reflect my own personal views and opinions, and are not intended to represent expert knowledge or advice.

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