We all spend a lot of time spend a lot of time and money on our clothes and this is particularly true if you've learned to sew your own garments. I was thinking the other day that we sewists may not pay as much attention to how we care for our clothes after we've made them as we do when we're making them. I know I'm certainly guilting of this, so I thought we'd share some clothing care tips from a new contributor to the blog.
A Dozen Clothing Care Tips that Will Save You Money
Clothing, especially your career wardrobe, is an expensive investment, and taking proper care of your clothing can save you considerable money over time, not to mention the time and frustration of having to repair or replace garments unnecessarily.
Excessive cleaning of clothing wears it out sooner. Some garments can be worn more than once before washing or cleaning if you give them just a little care when you remove them. Check the garment when you take it off, looking for spots, tears, lint, or anything else that would send it to the dirty clothes hamper. Garments that appear clean and smell fresh should be hung for wearing again. Jackets especially need to be brushed with a clothes brush paying particular attention to the shoulders and hung on a padded hanger. You can save money on the clothes themselves, as well as on laundry products and wear and tear on your washing machine by wearing garments again that aren’t soiled.
Ben Franklin was right: a stitch in time does save nine. Repair small problems right away. Sewing a few stitches to repair a tiny tear is much easier than having to sew an entire seam and less expensive than replacing the item if it becomes irreparable.
Use good quality hangers that support your clothes. Flimsy wire hangers allow clothes to sag out of shape. Over time they may even cause damage to the shoulders of garments.
Don’t crowd clothes in your closet, as crowding causes wrinkles, which must then be removed. Ironing them again not only wastes your time, but also adds to the wear and tear on your clothes. Storing out of season clothes in another location makes more room in your closet so that your garments aren’t crushed.
Sweaters should be folded and placed in drawers, on shelves, or in storage boxes. Be sure that wool garments, in particular, are clean when stored to deter insects that may smell a banquet on the sleeve of your sweater. It’s disheartening to pull out your favorite sweater and discover a moth hole.
Following the cleaning instructions on the garment label will save your clothes from damage. Hot water will shrink rayon, wool, silk, and other fabrics. It will also fade some colors. Heat from the dryer may also shrink garments. Clothing that has shrunk doesn’t fit properly and must be replaced.
If you don’t like to wash items by hand, check labels for cleaning instructions before you purchase garments. Buy items that say machine washable. Machine washable clothing also saves on dry cleaning costs. By using a lingerie bag and cold or warm water on the gentle cycle, you can successfully machine wash some delicate items.
Treat spots and stains as soon as possible. If you take the article to a dry cleaner, point out any spots so that they can be given extra attention. It also helps if you can identify what caused the stain. If the garment is washable, use a spot remover that is appropriate for the type of stain and the type of fabric. Follow the instructions for stain remover products such as Spray ‘N Wash or Shout. If you’re unsure about color-fastness, test the product on an inside seam before using on the stain.
Sort laundry before washing. Wash fabrics according to light or dark colors. You don’t want dark colors to bleed color onto your light colored clothes. Washing delicate fabrics separate from sturdy fabrics protects the delicate materials, which might be damaged by rubbing against coarse fabrics. Wash items that produce lint, such as terry cloth towels, separately for obvious reasons.
Use an adequate amount of detergent when you wash clothes, but avoid using too much. Check the rinse cycle when the washer is full of water. There should not be an excessive amount of suds in the water. By using the proper amount, you can save on the cost of detergent as well as water for a second rinse. Detergent left in clothing can irritate your skin and weakens the fibers of clothes.
When you iron or press clothes, use the proper heat setting for the type of fabric. An iron that is too hot can ruin fabrics in an instant. Pressing very delicate fabrics should be done with care, and using a press cloth adds another layer of protection.
Protect your clothes by wearing appropriate garments for the occasion. Don’t work on the car in a good dress shirt, for instance. Changing out of your good clothes before attempting dirty tasks will save the clothes from potential damage and will save you time and money in repairing or replacing them.
Thinking of your wardrobe as an investment will reap benefits. Taking proper care of your clothes will make them last longer and stretch your clothing budget. And just think of the time you will save not having to shop for clothes that wear out too soon.
Written by Linda Nelson.
I wash my cashmere sweaters in my front-loading washer on hand-wash using Eucalan wool wash. Then I block them and air dry them.
Perhaps I’m just old but these ideas are basic housekeeping skills as my Mother taught me! One thing is missing – here in the UK I like to line dry my clothes, especially sheets & cotton items, where there is no chance of colour fade). The outdoor freshness is something that no fabric detergent or softener can replicate ! It also saves the cost of a drier & the extra wear & tear on my clothes as they tumble about in the machine.
great tips, thanks
Great tips! Like Deborah, I also turn clothing inside out – especially when you have hard water. It keeps the dark colors longer – check the interior of your dark clothing & notice the difference. Also, if you use a net wash bags (like for sweaters & lingerie) for those slightly delicate items — just ensure it’s large enough. Try not to over-stuff the dryer & hang items that have a lot of lycra or nylon – they will usually lose any wrinkles & will definitely last longer. Lastly, find someone to repair your clothing & learn how to sew on a button.
Another tip I use all the time is turn your clothes inside out when you wash them. Helps prevent pilling in sweaters, t shirts and other knits and preserves any embellishments.
Hi Deborah, excellent tip. Thanks so much for sharing!
This is good information. Some people would not be aware of any of these things. You can keep your clothes in good condition, and keep them longer.