How to Keep Clothes Looking Like New
Clothes Last Longer When Cared For
Daily Care and Attention
The secret to keeping clothes looking crisp and new is to give them some regular love and attention. Try to cultivate good habits in caring for your clothes. Use clothes hangers; garments carelessly thrown down will crease and wrinkle. Take a moment to see that your clothes hang straight on the hanger and fasten their top button or snap.
Looking good can help you feel more confident. So, do yourself and your clothes a favor. Follow the tips in this article to extend the life of your clothing (and maybe increase your self-confidence too.)
How to Keep Your Clothes Looking Smart and Fresh
1. Use an iron.
Shirts and blouses look crisp and smooth.
2. Wash clothes at correct temperature.
Follow manufacture's recommendation.
3. Check fabric and care labels.
Examine labels before you buy.
4. Don't ignore stains.
The sooner you treat a stain the easier it is to remove.
5. Check your clothes over before putting them away.
A stitch in time saves nine. A small repair now can save you effort later.
6. Don’t leave your clothes in a pile on the floor
Hang them, fold them or put them in a wash-basket.
7. Keep your closet dry and ventilated.
Prevents condensation mold growing on your clothes.
8. Use plastic, wooden or cloth covered hangers.
Metal ones can rust and stain clothes.
9. Avoid using a dryer.
Dryers shrink clothes, especially wool and cotton fabrics.
10. Wash whites, colours and darks separately.
Avoids color bleed from one item to another.
Correct Washing Temperature is Crucial
If you keep your existing clothes looking like new for longer, then you will need to spend less money on buying more. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has ruined a favorite sweater by washing it at too high a temperature. If only I’d taken the time to read and follow the care label.
You can save on heating bills by washing at 30° C (86° F) if you use the correct detergent. Modern washing detergents are formulated to work at lower temperatures than previously. Many clothes are put through the washing cycle when they are only lightly soiled; there is usually no need to pre-soak or use high temperatures.
Check Garment Care Labels
Examine Care Labels Before You Buy
Care labels on clothing are often hidden away down a side seam. Once you’ve tried a garment on and fallen in love with it, it’s easy to miss this simple step. You should always stop and think about the after-care needed for your clothing before you buy. Make sure that you take time to read the fabric content as well as the maker’s instructions about the best way to care for your new clothes. It surprises me how often a manufacturer puts “dry clean only” on a label. This instruction puts me off buying the garment, as having to dry-clean clothes on a regular basis can work out very expensive.
Delicate fabrics may be labelled “hand wash only” or “wash separately”. Use a gentle fabric care wash if you want to enjoy wearing your favorite sweater a long time. You need to be willing to spend extra time to care for these special garments and separate them from your main wash. Otherwise, you should choose more durable fabrics. If you love delicate embroidery and fine fabrics, then washing clothes by hand is a skill you'll need to master.
Most garments have their care instructions written in symbolic form using International Laundry Symbols. If you shop for clothes on a regular basis you will quickly become familiar with the symbols. If you see one you don't recognize, it's worth asking the store if the item can be put aside for a day while you check online to see what the symbol means.
Read the Label to Avoid Expensive Mistakes
Do you read clothing care labels
Don’t Ignore Stains - Treat Sooner Rather Than Later
Many stains can be removed completely if they are treated quickly. An untreated mark can become “cooked” into the fabric if it is ignored and put through the normal wash cycle. Untreated stains can easily become permanent. The American Cleaning Institute gives advice on its website on how to remove more than 50 different stains from fabrics.
In the video below, Martha Stewart, the American TV personality and author shows how to remove common stains like blood, red wine, or ink. The treatment needed depends on whether it is a protein stain (e.g. blood, vomit, or milk), a tannin stain (e.g. wine or grass) or a dry-side stain (e.g ink).
Home Stain Removal With Martha Stewart and Wayne Edelman
How to Iron a Shirt (or Blouse)
Ironing not only makes your clothes look smart, but it also gives you a chance to examine your wardrobe closely. As you iron, you will quickly notice if there are any loose stitching or tears in the fabric. A missing button or a stain should not get past your careful inspection. If the seams are under strain and being pulled apart, then this is a warning that you may need to lose a few pounds in weight (or your clothes are being shrunk by the tumble dryer).
Before you start, make sure your iron is at the correct temperature for the fabric. It’s best to use either a steam iron or iron the garments when they are slightly damp. You can use a water spray to damp down a shirt if it is bone-dry.
Start by pressing the cuffs and then work up the sleeves. Next iron the yoke before pressing the collar. Use spray starch if you want a crisp finish. The front placket (the strip with the button holes) is ironed next and then the task is finished off by ironing the front and back of the shirt. You should hang the garment on a hanger for at least ten minutes to allow the fabric to cool before wearing.
A Stitch in Time Saves Nine
The old proverb “a stitch in time saves nine” means that if you repair something promptly it only needs one stitch. If you procrastinate and ignore doing minor repairs, you will end up doing nine times as much work. In practical terms this means being observant when you put your clothes away, or when you put them into the washing machine. If you notice something wrong with them like a button missing or a pulled thread, you should attend to it at once.
Make sure your clothes are in good condition before they go in the closet, then you know they are ready for when you want to wear them. A last-minute press with a hot iron is the most that any of your clothes should need when you take them off the hangar. You may not be skilled enough to make a complete garment. However, if you are able to carry out a simple task like sewing on a button, you can save yourself from an embarrassing “wardrobe malfunction”. The video below demonstrates clearly how to sew on a button if you need to learn this skill.
How to Sew on a Button
Keep Your Closet Dry and Ventilated
All your hard work will be wasted if your closet is not kept dry and well ventilated. The closet's micro-climate can affect how long your clothes will last. A damp atmosphere could cause mildew to grow on your clothes. This might be due to condensation from an adjacent poorly ventilated shower room. You can help prevent mildew on your clothes by using a moisture absorber in your closet. They contain tiny crystals that absorb excess water in the air.
Insects may be attracted if there are foodstuffs nearby. For example, you may have hidden a box of chocolates in the closet to stop temptation and then have forgotten all about them. But the insects won’t forget!
If you know you will not be wearing clothes for a several months (for example a heavy winter coat) then old fashioned moth balls can help to deter insects. When you spring clean, check the clothes in your closet for insect and mildew damage.