Laundry 101: How to clean your clothes so they last longer & don't get damaged
Do your clothes often develop small holes, lose their shape, and/or original feel?
Do your clothes shrink in the wash?
Do your stretchy jeans get baggy the more you wear them?
Are you concerned about the sustainability of your clothing?
Do you wash your clothes after a few wears?
If yes, you’re washing clothes incorrectly and way too often.
There’s one super simple rule when it comes to washing your clothing.
If it doesn’t smell or have a stain, don’t wash it.
It’s that simple, and it isn’t that gross. Science says we can’t avoid the germs transferred in clothing even when we wash them. Washing clothes is more about managing body odor.
If you bathe daily and don’t slop through mud to get to work, you’re likely in the clear to avoid washing items “because you wore them a bunch of times”.
below is my Stylist’s guide how to Do laundry care Right.
keep clothes lasting longer, looking great, and a smart investment
Choose the coolest water possible. Unless removing icky, gross things (you know what I mean) that require bleaching and more intense cleaning cycles, avoid hot water use.
Use the delicate cycle for pretty much everything. Nothing else to say here.
Use mesh laundry bags. Best for bras, lace, thin fabrics, soft cottons, textured or appliquéd pieces, drape-y tops, or items that could easily be misshaped if pulled on, etc. Mesh bags prevent the agitation to cause holes and other damage. They work wonders in protecting cheaper, fast fashion garments.
The dryer is the devil. Stop using it. The dryer causes clothes to shrink, pill, or deteriorate quicker over time. Hang dry everything or lay flat. If you have to use a dryer sometimes (short on time, a slight softer touch, etc), use the lowest setting and only dry until slightly damp to prevent the most damage.
Read the care labels, please. Some items may inconspicuously require professional cleaning. A quick glance will tell you if you’re about to murder your favorite shirt.
When in doubt, send it out. Some items are not actually labeled dry clean only, but if you are scared you could destroy something, send it to the pros. Is dry cleaning more expensive and worse for the environment? NO. If you’re following my simple rule, you’re not sending it out often!
Get a steamer. A lot of people use the dryer or send items to the dry cleaner to remove wrinkles and get something looking fresh again. A handheld or large standing steamer can do that for you. It’s also faster and doesn’t destroy your clothes.
Full transparency: I am so serious about this I do my own laundry. In NYC, it’s incredibly easy to pay someone else to do this annoying chore, but I worry others won’t keep the same standards as me and ruin items.
If I can do it, you can too!
One more thing before we go…
a common q: What if Something (like jeans) stretches out? Doesn’t the dryer shrink it back to a better fit?
It is not necessary to use a dryer to shrink denim or another elastic item back to its original shape. With proper care and buying the right size, you won’t need to. The more you use it, the more a dryer breaks down the elasticity and material composition of clothes. Then after another wear, items relax to the stretched out version. Hence, repeating the cycle.
Pssst…if an item has no stretch, the dryer still eats away at the material and stitching.
Remember: if it doesn’t smell or have a stain, don’t wash it.
Simply avoid washing and hang dry when you do. Treat your things with gentility and they will last longer!
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Guess what? The information applies to both men and women.
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