Do you love your clothes? How often do you wash your garments? After every wear? Only when they are visibly dirty? Do you follow washing instructions? Have you ever ruined a perfectly good article of clothing because you didn’t read the care instructions? Because I have, and oof did that hurt. I accidentally threw this gorgeous black, asymmetrical, high waisted with button closure, silk skirt in the washing machine without thinking about it, and it came out the other side small enough to fit a Barbie doll. Weep.
I’m sure I am not the only one who has completely ruined their fair share of clothing because I didn’t take the time to read the care instructions or was in a rush and just threw everything in the machine, added detergent, turned the knob, and closed the lid. I had to learn the hard way. So, I am here to help you not make my mistakes and how to keep your clothes looking better for longer. Ready? Let’s do this!
Before we jump in here, I just want to say that all these tips I have are things that have worked for me. If you have a better way, let me know!
If you are anything like me, you really try to take care of your things. When I go shopping and I like an item, I always think about how I am going to take care of it? Does it make sense for my lifestyle? That awesome linen dress might look good now but am I really going to steam/iron it before wearing it every time? Probably not, so back on the rack it goes. It’s a mixture of knowing your habits and being practical.
We spend a lot of money on our clothing whether that’s at a local resale shop, a big box store, or online. According to The Fashion Law, Americans buy on average 59 items of clothing a year. That’s a lot! A little too much if you ask me because at some point some of those items will get lost in the massive collection you have growing in your closet and they aren’t getting the love they deserve. Yes, I am still talking about clothes here. So what is a good alternative? Send them to us, your local Portland consignment shop! Want to make sure you get the most bang for your buck? Bring them to us nicely folded, pre-washed, ironed or steamed, and we will most likely accept them. It does make a difference to see an incoming consignment nicely folded in a tote bag (or hanging on hangers) vs. thrown in a big garbage bag being dragged from the trunk of the car to the front step of the shop. If you take care of your clothing correctly you may see just how long they can last and how they may even have a second life with someone else.
Without further adieu, here are some tips and tricks to keep your clothing in tip-top shape.
Personally, I prefer my activewear to be made from polyester, nylon, nylon-spandex, polyester-spandex, etc. This is because it dries so much faster than cotton, holds shape, and doesn’t retain that impossible to get rid of sweat smell (ew, david!) that all my other cotton tees eventually suffer from. Because I now take my time when washing, I go over each piece inside and out and pretreat any stain I see, let it sit for a bit, turn it inside-out, and throw it in the machine on a cold, gentle cycle. I also always do an extra rinse just to make sure all that lingering detergent doesn’t stay in the fibers. Once that’s done, I pull it out of the machine and hang dry. I never, ever put activewear in the dryer because it bakes the fibers and they either stretch, break, or lose their elasticity.
Gotta keep those jeans looking right! Machine wash is fine, on a cold cycle, with an extra rinse again to make sure all those suds come out. I also make sure to turn them inside out, pretreat anything that needs it, button buttons, zip zippers, and check the pockets! Have you ever left a tube of lipstick in a pocket to later find it smeared all over? Cause I have and it really sucks. Hang dry.
Please for the love of all that is holy, test your silks before washing them. Nothing hurts more than ruining a silk piece. Remember my story from before? Don’t be like me. If it’s good to go, then fill a clean bucket with cold water, add extra delicate detergent, then throw in the garments one by one. Gently agitate the piece, wring it out, and lay flat to dry over a towel. Viola!
If you are still unsure about washing silk, just take it to the dry cleaner and have that peace of mind.
I do not dare put leather goods in the washing machine. If it’s expensive, wipe clean areas and use a speciality leather cleaner. For suede, I highly recommend using Crep Protect. It’s this awesome shoe cleaner made for all those sneaker heads out there. One time I spilled red wine on my new baby pink sneakers and just when I thought they were donezo my sister popped out this magical cleaner and said to try it. I reluctantly did and guess what, it worked! They looked like nothing ever happened and from that day forward I was a convert. So do yourself a favor and buy it. It’s magic, it works.
Always wash on a delicate cycle or hand wash, with extra gentle detergent (same detergent used for silks), and if you want to throw it in the machine put it in a mesh garment bag. Give it a good rinse and leave it out to dry, never put it in the dryer. Lingerie can be expensive, it wears quickly, and being extra gentle while washing is the best way to make sure it will last.
As far as everything else goes, I usually wash on cold, use either a normal or gentle cycle, pretreat stains etc., and if I love a certain piece it never goes in the dryer. When in doubt, hang it out (unless it’s a knit, lay flat). Another thing, I only wash my clothes when they truly need it. If there's a stain, wash it. If I sweat in it, wash it. Otherwise, they can take a few more wears before going in the basket.
And lastly, when you don’t know what to do, follow the care instructions. The care instructions only have symbols and you don’t know what they mean? Don’t worry I got you, thanks to Pinterest!
So there you have it! A few tips and tricks to help take care of your clothes so you can wear them for as long as possible and when you’re done, confidently send them off to the best consignment shop in Portland! Here We Go Again! wink wink
Till next week,