Top 10 Tips – How to Care for Your Wardrobe (Part I)
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Ladies, let’s face it: your wardrobe is like a car! In order to keep running, it needs regular care, attention, and just some good ‘ole TLC! More than likely, over the years, you’ve probably invested a pretty penny in some key pieces for your wardrobe. So doesn’t it make sense to take the best care of your clothes and have them last a lifetime? Here are my first 5 tips to help keep your clothes refreshed and ready to wear!
Tips on How to Care for Your Wardrobe
1. Properly Prep Your Clothes for Laundry Day
We all know the basics of laundry care – separate whites from colors, pre-treat stains, wash ‘like' fabrics together, and so on. But here’s another useful tip when prepping your clothes for a wash. Turn your clothes inside out! This is more of a preventive measure to minimize tiny lint baubles from forming on the right side of the fabric. Also be sure to close the zippers on any tops and jackets so that your clothes don’t end up stretched out of shape.
2. Pay Attention to Your Clothing’s Care Labels
Care labels are attached to your clothing for a reason! If the label says Dry Clean Only, please do not put your clothing in the washing machine (even on the delicate cycle). If you do so, you can end up ruining the fabric and you may even shrink or discolor the clothing. Also, follow the care label guides to determine the appropriate temperature you should use to wash your clothes. Don’t forget to pay attention to the drying instructions, being careful to air dry when required.
And on that note, the last thing you want to do is take great care in washing your clothes only to ruin them when it’s time for drying. I own a standard drying rack for clothes that need to be air-dried and a nifty over-the-door drying rack for those special items that must be laid flat to dry. Take a peek below for my recommendations on some great foldable drying racks and 0ver-the-door drying racks available at Amazon. For the over-the-door drying rack, I use and really love the Greenco 3-tier rack because it's perfect for those special items that need to be laid flat to dry.
3. Wash Your Socks Separately
I’m sure the last thing you want is to have yet ANOTHER pile of laundry to wash, but this is a great tip that will help minimize lint baubles on your clothes as well. Most socks have ‘fuzzy’ insides which can easily end up on your other clothes during the wash and dry cycles. Washing them separately will help extend the life of your clothing.
4. Don’t Keep Your Clothes in Plastic Garment Bags!
Whether you buy new clothes or pick up freshly dry-cleaned clothes that are wrapped in plastic or vinyl garment bags, you want to be sure to remove them as soon as you get them into your closet. Fabrics should always be able to breathe. If you leave them hanging in plastic bags long-term, they will eventually discolor and may even develop a stale scent – yuck, who wants that? (With that being said, you can certainly use plastic garment bags for quick transport of clothing – you won’t have any problems here). If you need a garment bag for long-term storage or travel, I recommend using a fabric garment bag that is breathable. Your clothes will stay protected, wrinkle-free, and remain fresh! Check out my recommendations just below!
3. You've Got Options When It Comes to Laundry Detergent, Fabric Softeners, and Whiteners
As consumers, we have access to dozens of laundry detergents in the marketplace. Detergent options include stain-fighting power, color retention, brightening agents, and much more. Personally, I like to keep things simple. I recommend that you steer clear of detergents that have color dyes and artificial enhancements because, in the long run, these harsh ingredients can actually fade your clothing. Eventually, the detergent actually does the opposite of what you want it to do. I recommend gentle detergents such as 7th Generation because it's free from chemicals and dyes. I especially love their natural lavender-scented detergent!
Another quick tip is to avoid using ‘traditional' fabric softeners – yes, fabric softeners! I know it sounds almost blasphemous…we all grew up with the cute, snuggly Downy bear commercials which made us feel that using fabric softener was a must-have for our laundry rituals. I admit, though, that I do love the scent of Downy! Anyhow, most fabric softeners (liquid or dryer sheets) are actually made of some of the harshest chemicals out there. They actually put an artificial film on your clothing to make it smell fresh and feel soft. Have you ever noticed that towels aren’t as absorbent when you use fabric softener?? That’s the reason why!
But no worries, you can still achieve freshness and softness through natural means that are much gentler on your fabrics while being eco-friendly.
First, I'd like to share a really cool alternative to traditional fabric softeners – sheep wool dryer balls. Yes, I know that sounds crazy and you're probably wondering what the heck that is! They are soft balls made of sheep's wool that are roughly the same size as tennis balls, and they go in the clothes dryer right along with your wet laundry! The action of the wool balls tumbling with your clothing naturally softens the fabric. Oh, and they're totally reusable too! Pretty neat, huh? See below for my recommendation on this awesome product!
Another eco-friendly option for softening your laundry is natural baking soda. With each wash, you can add a scoopful of baking soda (like Arm & Hammer) to your load. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer, softener, and whitener – what a gift from nature! Definitely give it a try! 😉
You can also use household white vinegar to help neutralize tougher odors – just add about a cup or so to your washing machine’s fabric softener tray and you’ll be good to go! (Don’t worry, the vinegar scent doesn’t linger – I promise!).
Lastly, a natural whitener that’s easily available to you in dual-action form are lemon juice and sunshine! For whites that seem a bit dull, spray freshly clean wet clothes with a diluted mixture of lemon juice and water (one part lemon juice, three parts water) and hang them out to dry in the sun – once your clothes are dry you will have gleaming whites!
I'd love to hear what tips you may have to extend the life of your wardrobe. Feel free to comment below! Also, here are the next 5 Tips on How to Care for Your Wardrobe!
Love style tips like this? Check out my article on some awesome style hacks that you can use today!
Roxanne Carne is a recognized Personal Stylist the DC metro area styling women in Northern Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, and virtually! Visit www.roxannecarne.com to discover how she can help you define your style!
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