March 1, 2018

Gentle Cycle to Dry Cleaning: Closet Care Tips


Regardless of whether you are a fashion diva or if you just stick to the basics, you have likely made a significant investment in your wardrobe.

Everyday wear and tear is hard on your clothes. Knowing how to care for and store your clothing correctly can prolong the life of your favorite items.
The tag found on the neck or down the side seam of your shirt provides your garment’s laundering instructions. Follow the directions to get the best from your clothing.
Also get to know the settings on your washing machine. Delicate settings, for example, help to preserve clothes and aren’t just for lingerie!
Overwashing means you’re shortening the lifespan of your clothing, but stains can break down the fabric just as quickly. Don’t let your dirty clothes linger in the laundry hamper.
Avoid the dryer if possible. High heat shrinks and fades material. Heat breaks down the elastic fibers in clothes causing the garment to stretch. Did you know the lint you remove from yourdryer is fibers from your clothes?
Also, avoid dry cleaning. It is costly, and the harsh chemicals used in dry cleaning can harm fabrics. 
Here are some basic closet care tips for specific fabrics to help extend the lifespan of your wardrobe.

1. Denim
Denim is the staple of just about every wardrobe, and although denim is famed for its durability, wearing it and making it last requires some care.
When washing, turn it inside out and wash it in cold water, and on the gentle or delicate cycle or even by hand, to prevent the color from fading.
Drying your jeans or any other denim products at high heat can wear out the fabric and shrink them. Hang-dry denim by laying it flat or hanging it upside down.
To fold your jeans, lay them on a flat surface and fold in half from left to right. Take the legs and fold them in half, so the hem of the legs is in alignment with the waistband. Fold them in half one more time before storing.

2. Cotton
Cotton is a universal favorite when it comes to comfortable, conforming clothing. It is a natural fiber and can be found in everything from cheap t shirts to elegant gowns.
Because cotton is super-durable, it can be washed in a washing machine with any detergent, and bleach can be used if necessary. Wash cotton in warm water on a normal cycle.
When drying, tumble dry on a low setting. Heat from the dryer tends to take the natural moisture out of the cotton. If your dryer does not have moisture sensors, remove the item while it is still slightly damp and allow it to air dry.
Cotton wrinkles easily. You can add a liquid starch to the final rinse cycle or iron it on the highest iron setting.
To store your cotton article, fold it and stack or hang it on a hanger in your closet.

3. Moisture-Wicking
Just like your denim and cotton, your moisture-wicking clothing, office uniform and gym gear also need some TLC when it comes to laundering. Garment performance and the life of the clothing depend on how you care for them.
Wicking fabrics are state-of-the-art technical fabrics which draw moisture away from the body, so they need a little more care than cotton. Moisture-wicking clothing, such as shirts, is made from high-tech polyester and is designed to absorb very little moisture, allowing the wearer to stay cool and dry.
Moisture-wicking fabrics also include synthetically made fibers such as polyester, nylon or any other fabric that has been treated with a solution that prevents water absorption. Throwing this type of apparel in with the rest of our household laundry and 100 percent cotton polyblends can break down its fabric, clog up the fibers and wreck the material’s antimicrobial properties.
Don’t put them in a hamper. Performance fabrics can be high maintenance, whether they are sweat-wicking, compression, polyblends or UPF fabrics. The garment will deteriorate quickly if it is left in an enclosed space. If you can’t immediately wash your items, let them air dry before you put them in the laundry bag or the hamper.
The best way to wash wicking shirts is to either machine wash them in cold water or hand wash them. Check the tag. If it states to hand wash, this means the fabric is delicate or has been treated in a specific way.
Never use a fabric softener. It leaves behind a layer that makes it hard for water and any other cleaning aid to penetrate the fibers.
The best way to dry this type of garment is to let it air dry. When air drying, dry them on a rack to avoid any wrinkles.
Hang on a hanger in your closet to prevent any wrinkling.

4. Cashmere
Soft, luxurious and very high maintenance, cashmere is a tricky item to care for. This exceptionally soft wool is a winter-time staple. The delicate, natural fiber is eight times warmer than sheep’s wool, offering maximum warmth with minimal bulkiness.
Cashmere is one of the longest-lasting fibers around, and garments made from this material can last longer than 25 years if cared for properly.
Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to dry clean your cashmere. Regardless of what the tag says, it is best to hand wash it with baby shampoo or Woolite and only two times in a season.
Never hold it by the shoulders, as this will stretch it out. In fact, when washing, leave it in a ball when you pick it up.
To dry, lay it flat, pressing it gently with a towel. If the item is small enough, you can use a salad spinner to get most of the water out. Then lay it flat to dry.
Try not to wear cashmere against your bare skin. This prevents oils from your skin, lotions or perfumes from affecting the fibers, resulting in less washing. Wear a layer in between, such as a comfortable cotton t-shirt.
Fold your cashmere in thirds to avoid a line running down the front of the sweater.
Store vertically in a dresser, wrapped in tissue paper, and use cedar balls or blocks to help protect it from moths.

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