I get a lot of questions regarding the proper care of your beloved clothing. Here is a a quick tutorial on the best way to take care of your clothing and in layman’s lingo simplify the meaning of all of those cryptic icons that are featured on your care labels.
It is important to keep in mind that fabric content and the quality of the fiber is what dictates how to best care for it.
Natural fibers like wool, cotton, linen and cashmere are best when they are hand washed using a mild cleanser, not a detergent. FYI Woolite is a detergent. Heat will kill a garment faster than anything so if you love something wash it in cold water. Otherwise, you will be setting it free before too long.
Here are a few of my favorite delicate wash cleansers.
Wash in Cold & Don’t Ever Use Bleach
Don’t use any temperature but cold when washing your favorite pieces. And never use bleach, not even on your favorite white tee shirt—it’s full of chemicals which are bad for the environment and bad for your skin. The best way to whiten your whites is to line dry them in the sun. If a clothing line is not available you can add 1/2 cup of lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar to your wash.
What About Silk?
Silk can be hand washable but sometimes the darker colors may not be color fast which means they might bleed. I hand wash my lighter colored silks just like my woolens but with colors like red, teal, and purples I send them to the dry cleaner.
The Problem With Dry Cleaning
Which brings me to the dry cleaner—if you can you should avoid taking your clothing to the dry cleaners because like bleach it’s bad for the environment and bad for your skin.
Try This Instead
If your clothes are smelly spray a solution of 1 part vodka to 2 parts water directly onto your clothing and then let your clothing air out. The alcohol will kill the bacteria that causes the odor. You can also place your smelly garment in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer overnight. Like alcohol the freezer will kill the bacteria that causes odor.
If you must dry clean remember to remove your garment from the plastic bag immediately. This way your clothes can air out. Leaving it in that plastic bag can trap moisture or even trap nasty insects inside the plastic that have an appetite for expensive wool and cashmere.
What Is Rayon & Why Do Some Rayon Pieces Launder Beautifully & Others Get Destroyed In The Wash?
Rayons & viscoses can be problematic. I personally love them but some must be dry cleaned and others can be laundered. They are considered a semi-synthetic fiber because they are made using cellulose (wood pulp) but need a great deal of chemicals to convert them to a fiber.
Some can be very sensitive to moisture. Consequently, if you wash them they will lose their shape. What I prefer to do with rayons is spot clean them with a mild soap and cold water. And unless I am sure about the fiber I never immerse it in water.
What Do The Symbols On Care Labels Mean?