Fill a sink with cold water. Add a tablespoon of delicate soap – choose a plant-based detergent – free of fragrance, optical brighteners, chlorine, and phosphates that are all bad for you and the environment. We recommend brands like Seventh Generation, Meyer’s, Honest Company, Method, or Earth Friendly Products. Place your item into the water and gently swirl it around for a few minutes. Drain and refill the sink with clean, cold water. Rinse your garment by swishing it around once more, and then gently press it to remove excess water. Do not wring or twist your garment, as this can distort its shape. Reshape the garment on a dry towel. Roll up the towel, pressing as you go, to help extract the water still left in the garment. Finally, reshape the garment, and lay it flat on a drying rack or on a fresh towel to air dry.
If you don’t like to wash items by hand, check labels or the website description for cleaning instructions before you purchase garments. By using a lingerie bag and cold or warm water on the gentle cycle, you can successfully machine wash some delicate items.
Wash clothes in cold water, as opposed to warm or hot, and always wait until you have a full load. Choose a plant-based detergent – free of fragrance, optical brighteners, chlorine, and phosphates that are all bad for you and the environment. We recommend brands like Seventh Generation, Meyer’s, Honest Company, Method, or Earth Friendly Products. Hang or lay flat to dry.
Following the cleaning instructions on the garment label or description on our website 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.
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.
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.
Steaming & Ironing
A lot of fabrics can be steamed or ironed on a low setting, but we recommend you test a small area first. 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. Use a dry iron on low for anything structured like a blazer or jacket – do not steam as it may affect the shape. If a fabric is shiny or has embellishments, do not iron.
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. 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.
Jackets need to be brushed with a clothes brush paying particular attention to the shoulders and hung on a padded hanger.
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.
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.