Clothes keep us warm, share our sense of style, and are a necessity every day. It’s important to know how to keep your clothes looking new. It’s not too hard or too expensive!
Here are some smart ways to keep your favorite clothes looking new:
Read the garment care tag carefully
This is the most important first step.
One caveat to the chart is that many “dry clean only” garments can be professionally wet cleaned. Wet cleaning is easier on your garments, uses less water, and doesn’t use harsh chemicals. Ask your dry cleaner if they also wet clean.
NOTE: These are ISO care symbols and there are also American care symbols.
Replace lost buttons
You can easily do this yourself with a needle and thread. If you lose a button on your favorite jeans, you can take them to a seamstress or your dry cleaner to have them replace this for you.
Repair holes in sweaters
Whatever you do, don’t pull the loose yarn or try to break it off with your hands. You’ll end up making it worse.
Martha Stewart says, “Instead, use a large blunt needle to gently work it back into its proper place in the fabric. Turn garment inside out. If pulled thread has caused fabric to bunch, gently stretch it back into shape. (Some of the yarn will go back into place.) Use a large blunt needle to tease thread back into position: Pull thread through to the next stitch and then the next, dispersing excess along the row. Repeat on other side of snag.”
Seems too complicated? Find a pro.
Professionally clean your garments
It’s crucial to clean your clothes before storing them for the season so stains, food, and other issues aren’t compounded over time. Caring for wool garments doesn’t seem to be a spring cleaning task but the steps you take now can make all the difference in what you find when you bring out your things next fall: wonderful woolens, or ones peppered with holes.
Your dry cleaner can also pack your sweaters in acid-free tissue so you can store them flat in your closet which will help prevent wrinkles. Make sure to ask about a tissue paper pack when you drop off your garments and tell them that you’re storing garments for the season.
Remove items from plastic
When you bring your freshly cleaned garments home in plastic, make sure to remove the bags before placing your clothes in your closet for storage. The bag can break down over time and trap moisture.
Use lavender to stave off moths
Lavender is a wonderful option if you don’t like the smell or toxicity of mothballs. Mothballs are not safe for your pets. While lavender won’t kill moths or their larvae, it will repel them. Make sure to vacuum your closet using an attachment for the corners to get rid of pests.
Add sachets of lavender to closets and drawers and add lavender essential oil to refresh.
If you do use mothballs, store in your garage or out of your main living area.
You might like to read How to Make Your Sock Drawer Smell Like Heaven which is an easy-to-follow DIY for making your own sachets.
Know when to fold or hang garments
I feel like there’s a Kenny Roger’s joke in there. It’s important to store clothes the right way. Sweaters and t-shirts will stay in better shape and not get stretched out if you fold them. Jeans and heavy-duty fabrics can be folded.
Fabrics like linen, rayon, stain, and silk require hanging. Dress pants should be hung.
Tips for better laundry
- Zip jeans and hoodies before washing so they don’t catch on other garments
- Always sort your items by color to avoid bleeding and dye transfer
- Spot garments before washing [when in doubt, take it to a professional]
- Overfilling the washer and/or dryer can ruin your machine and inhibit cleaning
- Clean the lint trap in your dryer after each load
- Use a drying rack vs. the dryer when possible
When in doubt, bring your garments to your trusted dry cleaner. They’ll be happy to inspect your garments and clean them properly. I hope these ideas to keep your clothes looking brand new will help you take better care of your wardrobe!