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Refresh Your Wardrobe: Clothing and Shoe Care Tips

March 3, 2024
Refresh Your Wardrobe: Clothing and Shoe Care Tips

Introduction

Keeping your clothes and shoes in good condition is important for extending their lifespan and maintaining a put-together look. With some simple maintenance and care, you can refresh your wardrobe and make it feel new again. In this article, I will share my best tips for caring for your garments and footwear. From laundering to storage, these easy methods will help you get the most out of your closet staples.

Washing Clothes

Follow Care Instructions

The first rule of washing clothes is to always follow the care instructions on the garment tag. This will indicate if the item is machine washable or must be dry cleaned. For machine washable items, the tag specifies water temperature and any special instructions like wash separately or line dry. Adhering to these guidelines prevents shrinking, color loss, or damage to fabrics.

Wash in Cold Water

Whenever possible, wash clothes in cold water. Hot water can cause fabrics to shrink or fade. Stains also set more permanently in hot water. Washing in cold water is gentler on fabrics and helps clothes retain their fit, color, and softness. For heavy soiling, pre-treat stains before washing.

Use Gentle Cycle for Delicates

Delicate fabrics like silks and lace should be washed on a gentle or hand wash cycle. This uses a slower spin speed and less agitation to prevent tearing and snagging. Placing delicates in a mesh bag provides further protection. For extra care, hand wash delicates and lay flat to dry.

Sort by Color

Sort laundry into lights, darks, and colors before washing. This prevents dye transfer which can discolor lighter items. Reds and blues are likely to bleed, so avoid mixing them with pastels like pink or yellow. For first-time wears, wash colored garments separately.

Clean Out Lint Filter

Clean the lint filter in your washing machine before each load. Built-up lint causes excess wear on clothes and prevents proper cleaning. Use a toothbrush to scrub the filter screen clean under running water. This improves spinning and drying efficiency.

Drying Clothes

Shake Out Items

Before placing wash in the dryer, shake out each item to smooth wrinkles. Clothes drying in bunched shapes can hold lasting creases. Hang or lay flat delicate fabrics to prevent heat damage in the dryer.

Use Low Heat

High heat can degrade elastic and cause excess shrinkage. For most loads, drying on low heat is sufficient and puts less wear on fabrics. Delicates and synthetics like spandex should be air dried. High heat can even damage metal zippers and buttons.

Clean Lint Trap

As with the washing machine, clean out the lint trap before each load. Built-up lint reduces airflow and makes the dryer work harder. Use a dry towel to wipe away any lingering lint inside the drum. Avoid overloading as it increases drying time.

Steam or Iron If Needed

If clothes are wrinkled from the dryer, use the steam cycle on your iron or iron on low heat. Avoid over-ironing synthetic fabrics as it can damage their texture. For easier ironing, remove clothes from the dryer immediately. The heat helps relax wrinkles.

Fold and Put Away

Don’t leave laundry sitting in baskets. Folding and putting away clothes right after drying keeps them looking neat. Waiting too long allows wrinkles to set. Most clothes stay fresher longer when properly stored versus left crumpled up.

Removing Stains

Pretreat With Stain Remover

Liquid stain removers help break down staining agents before washing. Apply them to fresh stains as soon as possible and let sit 15-30 minutes before washing. This prevents set-in stains that are harder to remove. Check care labels first since some removers can damage delicate fabrics.

Use Laundry Booster on Old Stains

For dried or set-in stains, apply a laundry booster stick or spray gel directly on the spot before washing. Rub it in to help lift out discoloration. Laundry boosters contain active enzymes that help break down stubborn stains. Allow it to work 15 minutes before washing.

Make a DIY Stain Remover

For light stains, a homemade pretreater can be effective. Mix equal parts dish soap and hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle. Spritz over stains, let sit 5-10 minutes, then launder as usual. The peroxide helps lift staining while the soap emulsifies it away. Rinse well after washing.

Know Your Fabrics

Certain stains require special care based on the fabric. Oil-based stains like grease are tough to remove from cotton but easier on synthetics. Mud and clay are more difficult on delicate silk. Research the best stain removal method for your fabric type. Don’t scrub harshly or you may damage the clothing.

Caring for Shoes

Use Shoe Trees

Shoe trees absorb moisture and help shoes maintain their shape between wears. They prevent creasing of leather and pull heels back to upright. Insert them after each use and store shoes with trees inside. For antibacterial benefits, use cedar shoe trees.

Clean Soles Regularly

A quick wipe of the soles removes grit that can scratch floors or dull leather. For deep cleaning, use an old toothbrush and soapy water to scrub away grime. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Clean soles prevent slips and keep shoe exteriors looking nice.

Apply Protective Spray

Spray leather shoes with a waterproofer or conditioner every few months. This nourishes the material to prevent cracking and acts as a barrier against water damage or stains. Avoid spray-on products for suede, which require special care. Test new cleaners in an inconspicuous spot first.

Use Shoe Shapers For Storage

Shaper inserts help shoes hold their form when not being worn. They absorb moisture and maintain toe shape. Pair with shoe trees for maximum effect. Alternate wears between two pairs of shaper inserts to allow full drying between uses. Store cleaned shoes on wood or cloth shoe racks.

Take to Professionals If Needed

For extensive cleaning or repairs like resoling, take shoes to a professional cobbler. They have specialized products and equipment to handle problems like excessive scuffing, stretched leathers, or worn heels. Timely servicing can significantly extend the lifespan of quality shoes.

Storing Clothing

Use Wooden Or Velvet Hangers

Plastic hangers strain fabric and can leave permanent indentations on shoulders. Wooden or velvet hangers distribute weight evenly. Place silk or cashmere sweaters folded in a drawer, not hanging. Hanging pulls their shape out of form over time.

Put Off-Season Items In Storage

Rotate seasonal clothing in and out of main closet space. Use garment bags, trunks or bins to store off-season items under beds or on closet shelves. This keeps closets organized and clothes free of dust and grime during storage. It also helps prevent stretched fibers from weight hanging long-term.

Use Cedar In Storage Areas

Cedar blocks or cedar closet lining repels moths and other insects that can damage natural fabrics like wool and silk. The cedar smell also lends a fresh scent. Place cedar pieces in storage containers or use cedar hangers for items remaining in closets during off-seasons.

Store Items By Type

Group closet items by type—all shirts together, all pants together, etc. Use shelf dividers or separate bins for categories like underwear, socks, accessories. Designate drawers for activewear and sleepwear. Organized storage makes clothes easy to find and maintain. It also helps prevent overcrowding.

Leave Space Between Hung Items

Closet rods should only have enough clothes to allow space between each hanger. Overstuffed closets lead to wrinkling and misshaping. Use sectioned off or differently sized hangers to hang multiple pieces on one rod space. Install double closet rods for double hanging capacity.

Conclusion

With some basic care and maintenance, you can keep your clothes and shoes looking their best. Follow fabric-specific care instructions, launder using gentle cycles, and properly store garments when not in use. Quick spot cleaning for stains and shine touch-ups for shoes go a long way. Implementing these wardrobe refresh tips will extend the lifespan of your favorite pieces and make them feel like new again.

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