Anyone who knows me would tell you that I am the queen of taking care of my clothes. Nothing irks me more than when I throw my clothes in the washer or dryer and they come out faded in color, distorted from having been stretched in the washer, torn (especially underwear), shrunk, or aged from the dryer. This becomes more annoying still when you have spent a pretty penny on those jeans, or that blouse, etc. All the more reason to take special care of something you spent hard earned money on, right?
Unfortunately, we live in a society that loves disposable clothing. We are used to that idea. The mentality is that it doesn’t matter if we care for our clothes or not, buying another shirt will only cost $10-$20, no big deal, right? What harm will it do? I can just donate it or throw it away… In my opinion it is a big deal. For one, I don’t want to spend extra money on a top that may go in the trash again, in a month. My hard earned money is to be invested, in whatever I consider an investment, but I do consider clothes just that. Two, I don’t want to add to the stress planet Earth is under. Three, not to be selfish, but if there is a possibility of making back some of my investment by selling my well taken care of clothing, I will. Four, if I do decide to donate, which I do, I don’t want to give away 100% crap.
Let me express that caring for your clothes is simple and doesn’t require much more effort than going to the store to pick out another replacement top, skirt, or pair of pants would. The first rule of thumb to keeping your clothes for years to come is to treat them as an investment, because it really is an investment of hard earned cash, unless, of course, you are filthy rich and can buy your heart’s desires. Few of us are; therefore, you must start with taking care of your clothes from the moment you get them.
Below are five ways to do this:
1. Buy yourself a pair of thread clippers.
Understand this, it doesn’t matter how much money you spend on your clothes, if you buy an article of clothing that has thread hanging from every seam, it is going to look cheap. Sorry, but this is the truth. Do yourself a favor and buy a pair of thread clippers. I have a link here for the clippers similar to the one in the featured photo if you don’t have a sewing supply store near you. The second reason for clipping your thread, because sometimes they get caught in the wash around a hook, maybe on your bra, or pair of slacks. If it gets caught, I guarantee the thread will be pulled. You may find your bra in a knot due to loose thread, or your thread may just pop causing a domino effect of a loose seam or hem down the road. Prevent this early on by taking care of these loose threads the day of purchase.
2. Invest in a lingerie bag, or what are now called “wash bags.”
I am not talking about the cheap kind with draw strings. Trust me, those never worked for me. I had some that I would double tie and they still came undone in the wash. Oh, how that used to irritate me. So, I spent a little more money on wash bags that I could zip close. I also have a link for a set of those bags here. I should mention, I have not ordered this particular wash bag, but if you look at the picture, that is what I am referring to when I write “wash bag,” although, it does look like a great option to try out. I have six of these and I purchased mines at Wal-Mart in the laundry section from Tide. The ones I purchased are actually called “Tide Wash Bag,” which are made out of mesh and protect against “snagging, ripping, or tearing,” as it says in the description. It does just that. I LOVE THEM. You may still be able to find the Tide bags at Wal-Mart, but as of now, it doesn’t look like you can order them anymore through their website. Check out this link to see what the Tide Wash Bags look like. Try other discount stores if all else fails.
My Tide wash bags have protected my underwear from falling apart and my clothes from being stretched out in the wash. I put all of my delicates in these bags. I personally put items that have washing instructions that say to “handwash” in these bags, anything made out of rayon or lower quality material, anything that is thin, and especially anything that was poorly constructed (which is very rare for me). I should mention, that I absolutely place in these bags all of my quality clothing and my underwear (including bras), no question about it.
3. Use white distilled vinegar in your wash.
To set the dye on your clothes so that they do not fade and look vibrant for years to come, make sure you add distilled white vinegar to your wash (use cold water). You can get this at your local super market. Half a cup will do, and no, it will not make your clothes stink. Yes, please also add your normal detergent. You will never know you washed it in vinegar. I have been doing this since I was a teenager, over 10 years and it works. If you think about it, some liquid dye companies instruct you to use vinegar as part of the mixing solution when dying fabrics. I have also used vinegar for dyeing eggs during Easter. I would say, this is the same idea, though they suggest it for certain fabrics.
I can say that I have used vinegar on your typical fabrics like cotton, polyester, etc. I don’t own silk anymore, but when I made my high school prom dress, it was made out of what was called Shantung Silk, and when I washed it I added vinegar, which did not damage the fabric at all. Test it out on a couple of articles of clothing that maybe you aren’t in love with anymore just to test it first. If you like the results you can try on other items, but this works best when you wash your brand new clothing for the first time. I have been doing this for years, but my disclaimer here is that if you do try this, you do so at your own risk. I would only do this with real fabric, nothing that has plastic lining, like a backpack, or something along those lines.
4. Buy yourself a drying rack.
Please do not dry your good clothes in the dryer. This is a disaster waiting to happen. Have you ever dried a pair of jeans or black pants, and have taken them out of the dryer to find that they look like they have aged 5 years? When I write “aged” I mean that they look worn and faded. If it were a sweater for example, the fabric would probably already have little balls forming on the fabric after the first drying. It would no longer look smooth and new like it did an hour before. The heat of a drying machine can destroy your clothes. To prevent this, buy yourself a drying rack. I own one and I love it. Pretty much all of my clothing, except my underwear (personal preference) and sleepwear, are laid on a drying rack. I dare express that this is probably the number one reason why my clothes have lasted me so long. I purchased mine at Home Goods for $20, or you can check out the link here to one that is similar to the drying rack in the featured photo.
5. Purchase a press cloth.
Do you own a press cloth? No? If you iron your clothes at all, you should have one. It acts as a shield to your clothes from the hot iron. You can also wet it and steam your clothes this way with a hot iron, which helps prevent scorching delicate fabric and leaving ugly iron marks on your clothes. Over the years I have used a press cloth for my suits, like the kind you would wear to an interview, and to some of my dresses that tend to wrinkle a lot. I also have a few button ups that I use a press cloth on. This is definitely something that everyone should have just in case, and is not very expensive at all. If you don’t know where to find one, check out Jo-Ann’s Fabric Store or Hancock Fabrics, and of course here is a link for the press cloth that I own.
Well, there you have it! You now know five ways to care for your clothes. I hope you all found these tips helpful. Tell me, do you do any of the above already and how has it worked for you?
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