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Laundry 101 for Ladies and Gents

by Khui Karanja
24 September 2021

Image Source: Africa Rising

 

Who else finds it utterly frustrating when you can’t rock your favorite pair of jeans or shirt that you bought not so long ago because the fabric faded, it got overstretched or worse, shrunk!

 

After years of struggling with quickly fading jeans and never-ending-stretching-sweaters, I realized the hard way that it all comes down to how we care for our items of clothing, which acts of omission or commission are what make all the difference on the longevity of our garments.

 

Well, I come bearing good news. I bring to you incredible tips on how to care for your outfits so they last longer and stay in mint condition. This will save us a lot of fixing time and money too!

 

Delicates and Lingerie

To begin with, our innerwear are seldom seen by the public but that does not diminish their significance. It is very important to treat our delicates with the care they deserve in order to get maximum service and comfort. Here are a few tips to take care of them.

 

Wash by hand – Always wash your delicates by hand in the shower instead of using the washing machine, which is usually too rough on them. Also, always wash like-colors together to prevent dye staining.

 

 

After a dip, rinse – After having that nice swim at the beach or in the pool, always remember to rinse your swimwear in clean water to mitigate the effects of chlorine and saltwater on the garments’ fibers. Chlorine tends to weaken garments’ fibers, making the fabric break at the slightest provocation.

 

Let everything air out – Since most lingerie are primarily made from elastic material, you need to store them in places with lots of breathing room. Do not just cramp them in a small drawer. (you know you’re guilty of it….)                          

 

Fun Fact: You can always slip in empty perfume bottles into the corners of your lingerie drawers. The idea is they leave a little nice scent behind.

 

Image Source: Pinterest Offer Tolgac

 

Dress Shirts 

Button-down dress shirts and blouses are staple items in the respective genders’ closets. Therefore, it is only prudent to learn how we can keep them looking fresh and crisp. Here are a few tips to look out for.

 

Hangers – Always use hangers when storing shirts, preferably wooden. The width of the hanger should not overpass the width of the shirt’s shoulders because if the hanger is bigger than the shirt’s shoulders, it is going to stretch the shirt and leave ugly hanger marks. Lastly, when storing hangers in your closet, leave space between them to prevent creasing the already pressed shirts.

 

Collars – Take keen note of the inside of the collars because the skincare products and make-up we apply every day may leave stains behind on the shirt. To mitigate this, always wash the shirt immediately on noticing such stains to prevent stubborn stains from becoming permanent.

 

Drying – When we put clothes in the dryer overtime, the dryer tends to break down garment fibers thereby shrinking them, ultimately halving the garments’ life. To mitigate this, alternate using the dryer with air-drying your clothes on hangers after washing them by hanging them inside-out.

 

Image Source: Pinterest Hawkins Woodshop

 

Rewash stains – Before ironing clothes, it would not hurt to double-check for stains. Ironing clothes with stains makes them more difficult to remove, almost permanent. So first rewash the garment, and then you can iron it.

 

Ironing – To achieve crisp-looking shirts, always spritz abot of water over them before ironing. Also, did you know there is an order as to how to iron a shirt? I also just recently found out… start with the collar, then move on to the cuffs and sleeves and finally finish with the rest of your shirt.

 

 

Packing – Most times when we travel, we usually pack clothes but when this is done wrong or haphazardly, it can easily ruin your outfits. To prevent this, always button your shirts completely and fold them nicely at the seams (the areas you can see stitching lines). When piling the shirts in your bag, always alternate their directions; first one face up, next one face down.      

 

Pro-tip: To have wrinkle-free clothes when travelling, it’s all dependent on how you unpack. When unpacking especially your shirts, give them a quick spritz using a spray water bottle, tug (or slightly pull) at the bottom of the shirt and voila! The creases will come off automatically!

 

T-shirts

Taking care of T-shirts is easier compared to dress shirts. All you have to remember is to always fold your T-shirts to keep them fluffy and never hang them on a hanger. Just fold them in the sleeves towards the back and then fold them once crosswise to avoid extra creases. Keep them on a light stack on a shelf. Hanging your tees creates unsightly hanger marks and stretches them.

 

Fun Fact: T-shirts can actually grow an inch longer just from gravity’s effect on cotton.

 

Image Source: Vecteezy

Denim 

We have to agree denim jackets and jeans look good when they are new and crisp but become heartbreakingly unsightly when they start to wear out and lose the unique fit they had. Therefore, to maintain denim in mint condition try the below:

 

Wash less frequently – Denim as a fabric is not meant to be washed every day because the fabric gets weaker with every wash. Not to say that we should wear dirty jeans, but there are alternative ways to keep them crisp. Like folding them along the seams and hang them in the bathroom before you have that hot shower. The steam keeps the denim fabric fresh between washes.

 

Follow care label instructions – Always check the tag attached inside the garment to see how to wash it, what temperatures it can accommodate and so on.

 

 

Image Source: Reliance Digital

 

Buy quality fabric – I am sure I am not the only one who is keen to wash my new jeans last, just in case my laundry water turns blue or whatever color the jeans was, lol. This could be avoided if you buy quality fabric that does not fade or run color with every wash and is actually durable for more than two years.

 

Here are some general care tips

  1. Rotate your jackets and sweaters, just like you should rotate your shoes for them to last longer. This gives them enough time to regain their shape.
  2. Do not leave clothes in the sunlight for too long. Also always hang your clothes inside out. Sunlight will fade fabrics over time just as it does to your curtains and drapes.
  3. Always spray perfume(on your body) before getting dressed. The alcohol in the perfume can fade or even discolor your clothes permanently. (I need to start applying this in my life haha)
  4. Never hang wet or damp clothing in your closet because this attracts mildew.
  5. Also, do not pack clothes in plastic bags because the moisture trapped in there will bring mildew.
  6. Brush off any salt (especially ocean salt) before cleaning your clothes. Salt diminishes the quality of your fabric overtime.
  7. When using a washing machine, wash clothes inside-out to protect the embroidery, beading and appliques.
  8. Learn basic repairs. This will not only save you loads of cash but it can be very instrumental in oddly specific situations like when your pants get ripped at a wedding reception. Clothes can sometimes choose to embarrazzz you!

 

There you have it!

 

 I hope these tips come in handy for y’all. If you take care of the clothes you have, it would consequently mean your clothes would last longer hence saving you money. And reducing your carbon footprint!

 


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