Laundry tips to keep your wardrobe in check

As I am getting older, I find myself drooling over more expensive brands of clothing and shoes. I want to have a sophisticated look, but I also want to stay within my college student budget.

However, every now and then, I will splurge and purchase a quality item for my wardrobe. Before I go into buyer’s remorse, I know that if I take good care of it, it will last a long time. Sometimes I think of my clothing as my pets that need to be properly taken care of, I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Here are some tips that I use to make sure I am getting the most bang for my buck:

Avoid over washing– This tip is generally geared towards jeans. Get out of the habit of washing your denim after every wear. This may sound weird, but trust me! Over washing your jeans will cause the material to break down, which will make them loose and, not to mention, super faded. As a girl who practically lives in black or colored denim, the last thing I want to do is over wash my jeans.

Do’s and don’t’s of dry cleaning– It is very important to read all tags for proper care of clothing. For example, don’t think that a shirt will be fine on a delicate wash cycle just to save some money at the dry cleaners. There is a reason why the tag says “Dry Clean Only.” I have made this mistake one too many times. Even on delicate, the washer is too rough and may cause rips, not to mention what the water and soap will do to the fabric. However, even if the item does not say DCO, but is a bright print that may bleed in the washer, your best bet would be to leave it to the professionals. A few bucks to dry clean a blouse is well worth not ruining a whole batch of clothing in the washing machine.

Now, when you have done the right thing and have taken your clothing to the cleaners, the work isn’t over. When you get home, take the item out of the bag and off the wire hanger. The bag may trap moisture and grow mold. The wire hanger will pull the fabric, leaving you with stretched-out shoulders. To quote the 1981 classic movie “Mommie Dearest,” “NO WIRE HANGERS!” You don’t want Joan Crawford after you.

No rips, tears or tugs– Please, do yourself a favor. Do not rip off the price tag once you get a new item. Use scissors to properly cut the tags off. Too many times have I put on a brand new blouse and reached behind my head to rip the tag out before running to class. And more than once, I would hear, “Amanda, umm, there is a hole in the back of your shirt.” Talk about embarrassing.

Also, while you have the scissors out, cut any loose treads on pants or tops, this way when it heads to the washer, the loose threads won’t get caught and make a nasty pull or hole in the item.


Lets Talk Laundry

Nothing bothers me more than washing my favorite pair of black jeans and having them come out faded. The discoloration was getting so bad that I would go weeks without washing my pants. I could not go around much longer with dirty jeans; I knew something needed to change.

Over winter break I did some research. There are many theories circulating about how to keep your clothing from fading. I realized blacks are not the only problem. Our whites our picking up colors from other shades in the washer, and our brights and colors are bleeding in the rinse cycle. Here are some tricks I learned to keep your clothes lasting longer.

Dark/Blacks – Turn your black jeans or other dark garments inside out and set the washer on the cold cycle. There are some special detergents that prevent blacks from fading, however it can be a little expensive, such as Woolite Extra Dark, which is about $13 in stores. However, my grandmother taught me a trick many years ago. She would use a cap full of vinegar into the cold wash cycle along with regular detergent. The vinegar prevents the colors from fading and help stay vivid.

Whites – It is important to wash whites separately to prevent colors mixing. I am not a fan of bleach, I feel that it is a harsh chemical and I find that it irritates my skin after I wash my clothes with it. I found a better solution. After sorting your clothes, add your whites to the washer on a hot or warm cycle. Along with your regular detergent, add ½ cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle, the lemon juice will lightly bleach the clothing. When cycle is complete, be sure to hang dry the whites on a clothesline.

Brights/Colors – When tackling the brights from your laundry basket, it is important to separate brights from pastels. Wash new brights on their own for the first few cycles, when the dye most likely to bleed. Always turn the clothes inside out. Choose the shortest cycle and use a regular detergent on a warm or cold cycle.

Delicates – I like wash all my delicates separately. Delicates include anything with lace, beading, sequins or any other garment with lots of detail. Always turn the item inside out; this will prevent direct damage to the detail of the clothing. Depending on how dirty the item is, is how I measure the temperature of the wash cycle. If I spilled food or drink on it, then I would choose a warm cycle. If I wore it all day and it just needs to be washed, then I would go with the cold cycle. Never put your delicates in the dryer, it will most likely ruin the item. Your best bet is to hang dry your delicates.

These are just some of my tricks I have learned over the years to help further the life of my clothes. It is important to properly treat and launder your clothes to avoid repeatedly having to buy the basics for your wardrobe. Do you have a great laundry tip that I missed? Tell me and write to willis46@students.rowan.edu.