As well-intentioned as we may be there are 10 common mistakes most of us make that are killing our clothes. We take care to have our clothing cleaned regularly at our favorite eco friendly cleaners. In addition, we painstakingly put our jackets, pants, shirts and skirts back in the closet exactly where they are supposed to be after each wear. Here’s what we can do about it.
~Stop dry cleaning so much. Dry cleaning can be very harsh on your clothing and it can even be the culprit in turning your white clothes into a sad state of yellow and grey. Yes, even your cherished green cleaners use chemicals that can be harsh on your clothes. Instead try spritzing them with a little diluted vodka. Take a clean spray bottle and add 1 part vodka to 3 parts water, spray onto clothing. and then let it air out in your bathroom when you shower. The vodka will kill the bacteria and the steam will air out residual odors.
~Take the plastic off. Leaving your clothes in a plastic bag can wreak havoc. It is important for fabric to breathe because moisture can get trapped inside the bag creating mildew. Consider ripping the plastic off your clothing the minute you get home. If you need to store your clothes place them in a zip garment bag made of muslin.
~Leather (unless it has been treated) should never be worn in the rain. Using your leather jacket as a raincoat or your nice leather boots as rain boots is a big mistake! Water can actually dry out your leather leading to cracking. In addition water can leave marks and stain your very expensive pieces. One more thing—don’t ever place anything adhesive on your leather jacket like one of those “Hello” name tags you are required to wear for conventions and meetings.
~Stop using Woolite on your delicates. Woolite is a detergent and detergents are hard on your delicates like your lingerie and wool/ cashmere sweaters. There are any number of fantastic liquid soaps for your good stuff. Try Laundress, Tocca or Forever New.
~Never ever hang your clothing on wire hangers. Those wire hangers will destroy the shoulders of your shirts. Any other hanger that is coated, shaped or smooth with round edges will work.
~Never hang your sweaters on hangers with a hard edge. Some experts will recommend that you never hang your sweaters—I disagree. If you want to hang your sweater use a lingerie hanger. However, hangers with an edge will ruin the shoulder of your sweaters.
~Stop putting your workout wear, or, for that matter, anything with lycra in the dryer. The heat from your dryer will kill the memory of clothing made with lycra. In effect heat will breakdown the lycra creating a half-life for your workout wear. Therefore, it’s best to wash in warm water and hang to dry.
~Clean clothing immediately when grease, wine, blood or any unsightly stain appears. Stains set very quickly. The sooner you take care of your stain the more likely the stain will disappear after a cleaning. Once you notice a stain hit it with cold water or seltzer and then take it immediately to the cleaners or wash.
~Be careful how you iron. It is best to use a pressing cloth (a piece of smooth white cotton fabric will do) when you are ironing your fancy duds.
~Read the care label. Always read the care label. And unless you know a lot about the consequences of laundering different types of fabric follow the instructions!
Your clothes will stay looking new longer just by making a few tweaks in the way you care for them. You made an investment in your wardrobe and now your investment will pay off.