Tip to Caring for You Clothing / Investment
Most people would describe me as a go-getter! My motto, “why wait when I can get it done today” carries me through my career, motherhood as well as my volunteer work. There is one nemesis that puts a kink in my mojo – that is laundry! Oh the gathering from multiple rooms, the sorting, the stain treating, the folding and then the putting away – for whatever reasons this task just exhausts me!
My only caveat to this daunting chore is I know the end result, properly cleaned clothing, protects and elongates my investment. We invest in stocks, retirement plans, college savings plans, we should also consider our wardrobes as an important investment too. Our clothing is a key component to establishing business or casual relationships. Our clothing emanates signs of personality, detail and care for oneself.
Crisp, ironed shirts paired with stylish slacks or jeans sends a completely different message than that same person wearing his/her shirt wrinkled with stains and unkempt slacks. How you would perceive each look? The first look as someone who pays attention to detail and has confidence versus that latter as someone lacking confidence and possibly lazy.
Here are some of my top tips to caring for your clothing:
- Look at the label – I know this sounds basic but how many times have you tie-died your favorite t-shirt because you did not read the label on the other garment that said “wash with like colors” or “prewash” before wear or “dry clean only.”
Tip: A way to test for “bleeding” is to dampen one area of the article in question. Take a cotton ball and rub it over the wet spot and see if the color transfers. If it does – wash separately or risk turning your wardrobe back in time to the 1960’s!
Tip: Be Aware – Keep an eye out for a label that says “Spot Clean Only” usually found in high-end, handmade or delicate lace items. This means you only clean specific areas of the garment. Most dry-cleaners will not attempt to clean this type of garment as it can leave a spot or a stain on the treated area. So purchase cautiously.
- Don’t lament over lint! – Terry cloth towels have an uncanny way of leaving their mark all over the laundry if not washed separately! After reading the care labels, take the time to separate your laundry based on fabrics and colors. Your piles should consist of lights (pastels), whites, bright colors and darks. The same goes for gentle cycle items. Be sure to wash towels separately or risk spending the day attached to your lint brush swiping away lots of little specks!
- Starch Sparingly – There is nothing more professional and presentable for a man than a crisp, well-ironed shirt. That same starch that gives the shirt the finished look, can also stiffen the fibers of your shirt and cause them to damage and fray. My suggestion, if you must starch save it for dressier occasions.
- Protect by Press – “Don’t over launder your suits, sport coats or Trousers…take them for periodic pressing instead.” Suggested Marc Streisand from Marc Allen Fine Clothiers in Providence.
- Dry cleaning bags are only good for one thing: vacations! Your clothing needs to breathe. Plastic bags hold in condensation that can cause unwanted stains. When you pick up your clothing from your dry cleaner, immediately remove the plastic bag. Recycle the plastic by wrapping your clothing in it when packing for your next trip.
- Stubborn Stains – It happens – a drop of salad dressing on a shirt or a drip of red wine on a dress. For oil – pretreating is key! Once you pretreat with your favorite cleaner – stain spray, laundry detergent, or eco-friendly option such as corn starch or salt, let the agent set for at least 10 minutes before laundering (based on care labels!). Do not put in dryer machine! High heat can set the stain deeper into the garment.
Tip: Acidic Stains such as fruit juice or wine need the same treatment as oil. Try “Wine Away” found at The Savory Grape in East Greenwich, RI. Patrick Barberet, Manager of The Savory Grape told me this product has also worked in removing an ink stain. There is also a handy “to-go” Wine Away kit. So enjoy your next glass of Merlot, worry free!
- A word about storage: Although it is still cold outside, remember it is March; Spring is on the horizon! When you are ready to switch your wardrobe, please wash all of your clothing before storing. Even in the tightest of bins, little critters have an uncanny way of finding even the slightest of crumbs and causing unwanted holes in your favorite wool or cashmere sweater. Adding acid-free paper to the bin will help absorb additional moisture.
Care for your clothing like you would your investments. Each helps you to build your future.