How to care for your clothes

Building a sleek wardrobe that makes you look sharp and feel confident can be expensive. Like any investment, you need to be able to take care of your clothing. No matter how much money you have spent on a designer suit or shirt, it’ll soon show signs of wear and tear if you don’t know how to take proper care of it.

Taking good care of your clothes mean that they can last longer and you can maximise them better, helping you save on wardrobe costs in the long run. Here are some simple (and oftentimes overlooked) tips on how you can take care of your clothes.

Sort your laundry

Resist the urge to dump all your dirty clothes in the wash. Instead, take the time to sort your laundry according to the type of material, colour and washing instructions. Set aside any dry-clean only clothes. Separate dark coloured clothes from light coloured clothes.

Sorting your laundry is important because each piece of clothing has specific washing instructions that you should follow. For example, clothing made of more delicate materials such as silk or cashmere require hand washing in cold water while cottons are more durable and can be washed in the machine in warm water. Washing dark clothes separately from white clothes can also protect the colour of your clothes and prevent white items from getting any stains should the darker coloured clothes bleed during washing.

Pay attention to washing instructions

Your clothes will have a tag containing the garment’s washing instructions, which will ensure that the clothing will stay in good shape. Read the fabric care label and follow it. In addition, here are general techniques to keep in mind when washing your clothes.

  • Wash dark clothing inside-out – Dark wash jeans and dark coloured shirts can become faded in the wash as it rubs up against other clothes. Washing dark coloured garments inside out will help them maintain their colour.
  • Hang your clothes immediately after washing – This will give your clothes the time they need to properly “rest”. You may also want to consider hanging your garments to dry if possible instead of putting them in the dryer. Hanging them to dry prevents shrinkage, not to mention that drying clothes in natural sunlight and air is usually best.
  • Wash your clothes less – Frequent washing can be tough on clothes, leading them to become faded, stretched and damaged. Unless your clothes are truly dirty, you don’t need to wash it after each time you wear it. See if you can wear your clothes twice before tossing it in the laundry.

Iron with care

Ironing uses heat to loosen fabric fibres and press them flat. If you do it incorrectly, for example use too much heat on delicate material, you’ll end up ruining your clothes. Here are the recommended temperature settings for each type of fabric.

  • Linen: 230 ¬∞C (445 ¬∞F)
  • Triacetate: 200 ¬∞C (390 ¬∞F)
  • Cotton: 204 ¬∞C (400 ¬∞F)
  • Viscose/Rayon: 190 ¬∞C (375 ¬∞F)
  • Wool: 148 ¬∞C (300 ¬∞F)
  • Polyester: 148 ¬∞C (300 ¬∞F)
  • Silk: 148 ¬∞C (300 ¬∞F)
  • Acetate: 143 ¬∞C (290 ¬∞F)
  • Acrylic: 135 ¬∞C (275 ¬∞F)
  • Lycra/Spandex: 135 ¬∞C (275 ¬∞F)
  • Nylon: 135 ¬∞C (275 ¬∞F)

You might also like to consider getting a steamer, which uses moisture and heat to straighten wrinkles while your clothes are on a hanger. It can save you a lot of time and can protect your clothes from ironing burns.

Store your clothes properly

Finally, the way you store your clothes can make them last for years or damage them in just a short amount of time. Here are some good storage habits that can protect your clothes from damage and ensure they last for as long as possible.

  • Invest in better hangers – Wire and plastic hangers stretch out the shoulders of your clothes, which changes their shape and the way they fit you. Choose hangers made of wood or with plush arms as these can help garments retain their shape. For trousers, you can hang them from the waistband using single or double clamp hangers.
  • Fold heavy jumpers – Heavier garments such as wool jumpers can stretch out if you hang them in your closet. For heavier items of clothing, it is best to have them folded neatly on a shelf where they can keep their shape. Plus, you also get more hanger space for other clothes.
  • Give your clothes room to breathe – Having clothes tightly packed together in a full closet can result in wrinkling and colours fading as the fabrics are constantly mashed and rubbing against each other. If you need to squeeze in your clothes into a too-full closet, consider other storage options such as a standalone armoire.
  • Keep your closet cool and dry – Excess moisture and heat can encourage mould to grow on your clothes.

Remember that you’ve made an investment to look your best. It shouldn’t take too much effort to keep your clothes looking their best too. In most cases, it simply requires a small change in behavior such as paying more attention to labels or practicing good habits. The better you can take care of your clothes, the better and longer they can serve you.