We all know that there are some general tried-and-tested tips and techniques that everyone, including their mothers! Have come up with. These techniques have evolved over time, but their true essence had always been kept the same just because they work so well. Today in this article, I have come up with almost 101 tips that I have tried and tested that would help you protect almost everything that is there in your closet today. Not saying that you can’t add another item into your wardrobe, heck you may even have 102 things kept into your closet, but am sure after reading through till the end of this page; you would find that these hard-fast tips are a diamond in the rough.
YOUR FINE SILK
- Dry-cleaning is the way to go for almost any fabric out there in existence. But honestly, you should always opt-in to hand wash the silk for better sustainability and longevity of the product itself.
- When handwashing your expensive silk products, ensure always to use cool or lukewarm water. Do not go overboard with detergents as they are equally hazardous to your health and so for the silk. Use some mild detergents such as Woolite, Ivory soap or get hold of a hand-cup full of shampoo and dilute it into water and then submerge the silk into it.
- Just like any other natural fibres, silk as well doesn’t tolerate the change in temperature when washing it. Therefore stick to either cold or lukewarm water throughout the washing process.
- Do not even think about wringing it. This won’t dry the fabric, instead would wreck it completely. In its place, make sure that you roll it up in a dry towel and gently put pressure on the sheet to make it dry.
- If your particular silk product has a label on it that says “WASHABLE SILK”, then throw it into a mesh bag and toss it into the washing machine, ensuring you use GENTLE CYCLE only to wash clear the fabric. Use a padded hanger made of sea-foam to dry the silk. This is applicable mostly on underwater, tank tops etc.
- This one is a golden nugget! Now to protect your silk product from discolouration, add about three tablespoons of white vinegar for every two-quarter of water while washing.
- To press your silk product, use the iron at its lowest setting. Silk should always be ironed out when it is damp. STEER CLEAR from using an iron with the steam setting, as steam can leave watermarks on your expensive product.
- Just like us humans, silk needs to breathe as well. No pun intended!
Make sure to always keep silk in the dark place and not covered in any plastic bags as silk does need to breathe.
- Diehard and connoisseurs of Denim very well know that it can take anywhere between 6 to 8 months for it to break-in, and thus these super stiff, no-wash and fade jeans; should not be washed till then. I am sure you would want to know why? This is because jeans are super comfortable and are designed to fit our body shape. Washing them take away that architecture and thus giving us nothing but a flimsy-looking pair.
- You should only absolutely wash jeans when it has been soiled or stained. Other than that, there is no reason to wash your expensive denim. Most of the manufacturers of jeans nowadays make sure that they pre-wash them to achieve the faded look and do not necessarily need a break-in period.
- Ever heard someone steaming or freezing their favourite pair of jeans.
Here is why!
Jeans can be steamed in a bathroom where you take a shower. Just hang them into the bathroom where you are about to take a steamy shower. This would help them stay fresh and keep you away from washing them over and over, spoiling their look. An even better tip is to toss them into a plastic bag and place it into a freezer for a day or two. Ah! Nothing beats frozen jeans, ready to be worn looking all fresh and healthy.
- Never ever wash your jeans in warm water. Always wash it in cold water and that too with its inside out. Use a lite detergent such as Woolite. I personally still prefer to wash my Denim by hand instead of resorting to cleaning them in a washing machine. But if you absolutely mush wash it in the machine, then ensure to use GENTLE CYCLE settings.
If you want to destroy your jeans by submitting it to FADE quickly, then wash it in warm water. Bye-bye Denims!
- In the final rinse cycle of the washing machine, try putting in ½ a cup of distilled white vinegar into it. This helps preserve the colour of your Dark Denim Jeans.
- It is always recommended not to use the drying option of the machine to dry-out your favourite jeans. If you absolutely must, then turn down the heat setting on the device to the lowest possible and remove it from the dryer right before it is about to dry out completely. Then lay it flat in an open area or hang it upside down to give it its final touches of uniqueness and ambiguity.
- Today you will know how to fold your jeans like a PRO! Lay them straight on a flat surface and start by folding it in half from left to right. Grab the stacked pair of your jean legs and now gently fold them in half, so that the hem of the jeans aligns with the waistband. Now the final step is to wrap the jeans into half one last time.
- Denim, just like our friend Silk, needs to breathe! Hence never stack up too many clothes on top of your jeans and always keep them away from cluttered stacks.
- This marvellous piece of clothing requires a significant amount of TLC (Tender Love & Caring) to survive. Despite what others say that you should wash it just like any other ordinary cloth, Cashmere should always and only be washed in cold water with either baby shampoo or a lite detergent such as Woolite. This is to ensure it remains soft and comfy.
- Never ever hold the cashmere sweater from its shoulders after you wash it! It is bound to stretch out in no time and would leave you with a bad investment. In fact, I always try keeping it in lump whenever you go to pick it up when it is wet.
- Got a salad spinner at home? Get one if you are into Cashmere sweaters. Toss your sweater into the salad spinner, and voila! You have removed all the excess water from it. What if you are reading this article when you are just planning on washing your cashmere sweater and do not have access to the salad spinner! Oh no, then to make it dry; throw it on a flat surface and use a dry towel to squeeze out water from the sweater gently.
- Always, I repeat ever! Make sure that you fold the cashmere sweater into three folds. This is to ensure that you don’t get that ugly looking crease line in the front of your sweater when you unfold and trot away.
- Always ensure that you clean your cashmere products before storing them for winter. As you never know the uninvited guests and cashmere killers, namely “MOTHS” can get attracted to it and beat the heck out of it.
- If you do decide to get your cashmere dry-cleaned, then as soon as you receive it to make sure you remove it from the plastic bags and wrap them into tissue paper while placing it in a cedar scented bags. Wow, the wonders!
- Our long-lasting friend, the “COTTON”. Cotton has high durability and hence can be washed in any detergent with the inclusion of a cloth friendly bleach. Cotton can take on the beating from a washing machine with great ease.
- For the optimum results, always wash cotton in warm water with a standard to medium wash cycle setting on your washing machine.
- This is a tricky one, make sure you always tumble dry on a low setting.
- If your cotton product is white, then you can very well use it with bleach in a warm water setting of the machine.
- If you are like me and always prefer your cotton be soft and fluffy, always use half the quantity of detergent you usually use for other fabrics in a machine setting. And run the cotton in a new cycle of warm water. This is especially applicable when you are washing your bathrobes, towels and other fluffy mushy cotton products. You can definitely see my love for cotton there!
- Cotton tends to wrinkle a lot quicker than any other fabric. But fret not, you can always iron out cloth at the highest heat setting.
- Viscose rayon is structurally similar to cotton and is produced from a plant such as that of soy, bamboo and even the sugar canes. It is lightweight, can easily be draped and it indeed breathes like a cotton product. On the other than, it too wrinkles quite easily, therefore, you would need to use an iron at its medium-heat setting paired with STEAM to make sure you do not wreck the product while removing any crease from it.
- If you know that your viscose is a special one and has intricate draping, then avoid washing it in a machine. Instead wash it in a cool to a warm water setting.
- Never think about wringing out the viscose garment. As soon as you are done with washing it, take it out as wet as it is; and hang it soaking in an open-air environment. This helps remove creasing while washing and also maintains its shape.
- Before you even think about washing your leather jacket, get your hands on a scotch guard fabric protector and spray it all over the jacket. This helps to reduce water ingress into the leather, thus protecting it from damage.
- The only way known to clean a leather jacket while preserving its shape and quality is by using a damp cloth for cleaning it.
- Whenever you remove your jacket, or when not in use; always hang the jacket in a closet making sure the hanger is either a wooden one with a decent frame size; or at least a hanger with sea-foam as its bedding.
- Just like any other leather product, a leather jacket also stains easily when taken out and worn during a rainy day. It is always important to wipe your jacket with a dry towel as soon as you are done wearing it and hang it in a dry well-ventilated closet.
- Always apply leather conditioner on the areas of your jacket which have gone dry or are beginning to. One additional tip here is that salt tends to stain any leather product. So if your jacket or any your other leather goods have got salt on it, make sure to remove it with a damp cloth and then dry it out thoroughly before re-using them.
To top it all, you must hand in your leather jacket to a professional leather cleaner at least once a year to ensure your jacket stays top-notch. This not only protects your jacket but also extends the life on it.
- Stay far away from hair blow-dryers. These should not be brought close to your leather jacket.
- Polyester is known for its cling-effect. So almost all of your products that are made up of or have the composition of polyester in it, always wash them in the machine with a fabric softener and in WARM WATER. This is a must! There are however specific polyester blends that need to be dry cleaned hence it is always advised to check the label on the particular product before you proceed with washing them at home.
- Always dry your polyester garment in a low-heat setting of the machine. You may also use a moderately warm iron to iron out the clothing.
- Unlike other fabrics, polyester is easy to take care of. But you must know that it locks in the dirt quite quickly. Therefore before you resort to washing it, it is always advisable to use a stain remover on the garment for 15 to 20 minutes before washing.
- Now God forbid if your garment is white in colour; then it is best to soak the garment in a gallon of water mixed with 1/3 cup of automatic dishwashing soap before you toss it into the washing machine for a good wash.
- This is more of a hygiene tip rather than a washing one, to be honest. You should not always toss your swimwear into the washing machine loaded with other clothing and detergents, but it is always advised to make sure you rinse it under COLD running water after you take it off. This is so that any chlorine, sweat, dirt, sunscreen lotions get washed away after a long swim or sun’ing.
- If it has been a few times that you have worn your particular swimwear, then you may wash it in cold water filled in a sink with one tablespoon of liquid detergent. Swish away for a few minutes and then rinse it thoroughly under running water.
- Do not, I repeat do not wring or twist your favourite swimwear. It won’t be left being so fancy if you extract it to dry. Always lay it flat to dry.
- On the contrary, there has been a common practice adopted throughout the world to dry out the swimwear by laying them flat under the sun. Well, that is a big no! Since sun can easily break down the fibres in your suit. So always dry your swimwear by laying them flat indoors or in shades.
- You should never, and I mean never use a washing machine to wash your swimwear. However, there is yet one teeny.. Tiny.. Exception to it! You may wash them in your machine if you are at the end of the summer or your vacation. In this scenario, you may wash them in lingerie bags and that too on the machine’s lowest and gentlest cycle. Add in a bit of Woolite to give it that pleasant softening fragrance. Only resort to doing this if your swimsuit has been worn many times before the wash.
VESTS & DOWN COATS & YOUR FAVORITE BLANKETS
- For down-items, it is best to use a front-loading machine as opposed to a top-loading setting. The latter can easily damage the down items.
- Always stick to using the permanent press cycle for down-items. Use a proper amount of soap as per the directions on the bottle.
- Adding more soap into the washing machine to wash your down-items doesn’t help! Extra soap leaves its residues which in result destroys the fluffiness of your product.
- If your garment is actually filthy, then instead of adding more soap into the machine. Stop the machine mid-way into the wash, and leave the clothing to soak in the water for an hour. Then turn on the machine to let it continue with the rest of the roll.
- To ensure that the fabric is thoroughly washed and to ensure all the extra residue from the soap has been cleared, run the machine with a new cycle of pure water and no detergent.
- Drying such garments in a machine is a painful and a long process. It also wrecks the product if high heat is used to dry them out.
- But drying is necessary as it would take ages if not dried using a machine.
- On a standard dryer, use the low temperate setting and leave it in for some time.
- Frustration should be at its peak now since low-heat setting doesn’t dry out the down-items completely. But fret not, run it in the machine again; and this time back on the low-heat configuration. This is to avoid any unnecessary damage to the fabric that would otherwise be possible if you run it on a high-temperature.
- Got some tennis balls laying around? Toss them into the dryer along with the fabric. This dramatically helps to break the clumps from the material.
- After a few minutes into drying, stop the dryer and take out the product. Try to unclutter and break the clumps with your hands to give it that extra boost while drying.
- Lingerie made primarily out of silk, satin and lace should never be machine washed. These delicate fabrics become severely damaged if not hand-washed.
- Fill your sink with cold water and throw in one to two cup full of mild liquid detergent. Give it a foamy texture.
- Toss your delicate into the water and gently swirl it around in the soapy water. Now individually rinse each product separately.
- Always ensure to rinse out the detergent from the fabric as any excess left could damage the materials present in the delicate fibre.
- Lightly wring out the water from the fabric, and lay them flat on a dry towel. Let them sit till they are dry.
- If your dark-coloured lingerie is tagged “HAND DYED” make sure you wash them separately as bleeding is a normal thing with such products. And always wash the light-coloured products in a separate batch. This is to ensure the colours don’t overlap the ones that are light-toned.
- For your delicate bras and camis, do not just fold them up and chuck them into the drawer. Make sure you fold them in nicely and organise them in your drawers to ensure the cups don’t get pressed.
- For the bras that have got an extra bit of padding or underwiring, ensure to fold them in half with their straps tucked firmly under the cups.
- Almost each of your undergarments should be replaced every six to eight months. This is the period after use when your delicate start wearing out and lose their shape and support.
- Always keep an extra pair of bras with you, since wearing one bra two days in a row isn’t healthy. Bra on its own requires time to regain its shape after it has been used.
- The same rule applies to the underwears and camis.
WORKOUT CLOTHING & SHOES
- After a long workout and a sweaty session at the gym, your sneakers need time to rest and recover too. So shake in two to three tablespoon of Baking soda into each of the pairs and leave them aside for a day. Ideally, you should have more than 1 pair of shoes for your workout and gym use.
- The lifespan on a sneaker dramatically varies from one brand to another. We have discussed this extensively in another article on WalkOnFoam.com. Realistically, a person who is an active exerciser should replace their shoes every three to six months max.
- Never leave your sweaty gear lying around on your couch or left hanging in the bathroom. Almost immediately when you have removed your workout clothes, was them immediately. If access to a washing machine is not possible at the setting, then resort to washing them in running water to avoid them from staining and draining our lousy smell from the kit.
- Always resort to washing your workout gear after your workout. But in worst-case scenarios, if you are not able to do either, then it is best to hang them for some time instead of bunching them up and throwing them into the hamper, as this would create mildew which is both eeky and disgusting.
- Once you are at home, and this tip is mainly for my lady readers; wash your sports bras and clothing in running water. Soak them straight into the sink filled with water. Toss in a concoction of one part vinegar with four parts of water and let them soak in the solution for some time. You may also use a cup of borax powder with water instead of the vinegar. Either way, leave your bras and clothes soaked in for a good one hour and then regularly wash them.
- For technical workout clothing, it is ok to wash them in a machine setting. But always ensure to wash them in cold water to preserve their life.
- Lycra and spandex should be air-dried to maintain and prolong their elasticity. But if you absolutely have no choice then to resort to a standard dryer, then make sure it’s kept to the lowest setting.
- You can also follow a universal rule to turn every workout garment inside out before washing. This is so to protect the colours and the fabric from the beating of your washing machine.
WOOL COATS, SWEATERS & YOUR FAVORITE PANTS
- Especially during winter’s, you should always use lint or suede brush to treat your wool coats after wearing. This is to ensure that you remove any surface oils and dust.
- Always hang the woollen coats on wooden framed hangers, so to avoid the weight of the coat itself from destroying the shoulders of the coat if hung on a metal hanger.
- Blotting should be the only way to clear your coat from any marks and blemishes. This should be done using cold water. Do not ever think about rubbing your coat with water. Use an absorbent piece of cloth and soak it with water and do the blotting. You may also substitute water with soda-water.
- Before the beginning of winter’s, you should always have your favourite wool coats dry-cleaned.
- After removing your coat and pants, always ensure that you remove excessive items from it; to ensure the fabric doesn’t lose its shape when not being in use.
- Some of the light-woollen sweaters are labelled as “HAND WASH”. If that’s the case with your sweater, then always ensure to wash them by hand. You may also in such cases, use the “HANDWASH” or “WOOL-CYCLE” option of your machine to get away with washing them. But if it says HANDWASH, then I would never toss them into a washing machine.
- If you are like me and have followed the point above religiously, then the only honest way of washing your expensive sweat by hands is by soaking the garment in a lukewarm warm filled in a sink with a mild detergent. Let the fabric dipped into the solution in your sink for ten to fifteen minutes before rinsing it in cold water. To dry out the garment, gently wring it and lay it flat on the surface and wait!
- Steer clear from scalding hot water and never think about using bleach on your woollen items. EVER!
- Hanging is never an option in drying out woollen products. Just squeeze them gently after a gentle wash, and lay them flat on the ground or any clear and clean surface.
- Once you are done wearing your favourite sweater, coat or in fact any other woollen product that you admire the most; it is best advised to leave the garment rest for 24 hours at minimum. This allows the wrinkles to dissipate and the elasticity of the fabric bounces back naturally. Winner tip isn’t it!
- You wouldn’t want your shoes to be scuffed and damaged just because you weren’t careful enough when they were not being worn. To prolong their life and quality, it is better and always a best practice to keep your shoes in your closet. Whether you keep them up on the floor in the closet or kept safely in pairs slid into the shoe-sleeve hangers, shoes should always have a special place in your wardrobe. Whatever the case may be, never jumble up your boots and chuck them into big bins or big bags when not in use. I know I would get a mini heart attack if my favourite “Ecco” shoes end up getting damaged just because I wasn’t careful.
- When a particular pair of your shoes is not going to be used for more extended periods, always tuck in a handful of tissue papers into them. This is especially applicable to lose leather and suede leather shoes.
- You should not be using your dress shoes for walking around in your home or going out into the supermarket to pick up a grocery. Dress shoes are delicate shoes and to prolong their life, heel and shape; they are best advised to be used for the purpose they were bought for.
- Never keep your leather and suede shoes out under the direct sunlight. You can kiss your favourite pair goodbye after they are done taking a beating from the sun. Always keep in a cool dry place.
- After wearing your favourite leather pair, it is best advised to keep them aside for a full day. No, not for them to take rest! But for the shoes to dry out completely as the sweat from the feet tends to build moisture into the shoe. Prolong use of the same pair without a break in the middle can severely damage the pump.
- Use a damp cloth with a touch of ivory soap on it to wipe clean the leather shoes. Using SOAP on the shoes directly will damage the shoe.
- Make it a regular practice to always take your expensive leather shoes to a professional shoe cleaner and have them perform their magic on them. This should be done every six to eight months. A professional shoe cleaner has access to all the products that we usually don’t at our home and would ensure that your boots or shoes do not die at the hands of cracks and drying.
- Do not run after fancy kits to polish your shoes. A regular shoe polish at your local store is enough to keep your elegant shoes spiffy.
- If you know that it is going to be a wet day out, then let me be the bearer of bad news here for your suede shoes. Its one and only arch-enemy is the WATER! So if you are confident your shoes are going to get wet, always spray them with silicon-based protecting sprays.
- Ah, the beautiful velvet! Always ensure that you read the label on each individual velvet product before you resort to washing or cleaning them. Some velvet fabrics are labelled as “DRY-CLEAN ONLY”, and some velvet products, such as “crushed velvet” can be washed at home in your regular machine setting.
- Never ever iron your velvet garment. The heat from the iron crushes the fibres and is bound to leave imprints on your favourite fabric.
- If you have access to a steamer at home, then use that instead of the iron to wrinkle out the garment. But be wary, this should only be done with your velvet garment turned inside out.
- One other tip that has worked wonders for me is to hang the creased velvet garment in a steamy bathroom. This helps to remove the wrinkles and creases with ease.
- Do not think about folding your favourite velvet garment when storing them. Instead, you should tuck tissue papers into the clothing and gently nestle them away in garment boxes to preserve the life of the product.
- Velvet garments tend to get pressed easily, ending up in a de-shaped product. So best is to avoid pressing it. If it gets stained, always try to shake off the excess and clean it with a damp cloth. If the stain is a major one, then resort to the cleaning instructions as labelled on the garment.
SOME BONUS TIPS
If your clothes get stained with red-wine, then worry not! Throw white-wine on it. And watch the magic.
Got some vintage and thrift-clothing? Fret not! Spritz them with a concoction of one part vodka with two parts water. And voila!
This one is a golden nugget! If you have got deodorant stains on your shirts, then rubbing the stained part with the protective foam used on the hangers will clear them off.
The best Do It Yourself (DIY) for cleaning your beloved “Diamonds” at home is liquid dishwasher liquid and an old toothbrush.
After ironing out your favourite clothing, never wear it on immediately. Since this would cause the garment to yet again form creases. Instead, leave it for a good five to ten minutes to rest, and then put them on.
To clean your suede in a smidgen, remove the crust from a piece of bread in your fridge and let it stale outside. Now gently rub the dirt and the stains that are on your suede pair using the edge of the stale bread and voila! They’ll disappear. Now to de-scuff your suede, use a regular eraser to do the job.
How to care for fur at home? You must have a hairbrush at home! Use that regularly on the product. Then use a steamer on it for an added bounce, volume and a perfect shine!