Care & Maintenance

Care for your washable clothing is essential to long life and color vitality. Let’s get our hands wet!

Washing after every wear is a myth. Unless your working out and sweating you can wear your clothes up to 3 times before washing is needed. Of course, you should wash your clothes if you wear them all day at work or do intense, sweat-generating workouts. Fold or hang your clothes after short-term use. The exception are undergarments and socks. These should be washed after single use.

Wash your clothes in cold water! Clothes washed in warm water, especially bright colored clothing, fade quickly in repeated warm water washings. Detergents today are optimized to clean your clothes in cold water. The soaps and, especially, the surfactants separate dirt and oils very easily from your clothes in cold or tepid, room temperature water. Should you spill wine, ketchup or other stain tending items on your clothes, immediately soak them in cold water with a little detergent to avoid the stain from setting. Keep the material wet until you can wash under a standard or delicate cycle in your washing machine. Never wash clothes in hot water especially if staining contaminants as aforementioned are on the clothing. Hot water expedites color fading, fabric breakdown, and permanent setting of stains. Discoloring of white fabrics may also occur.

Keep the bleach to a minimum. We all think of bleach as a heaven-sent tool for getting stains out and disinfecting our clothes…and everything else. Yes, bleach is good. But bleach has some downsides too. Typically, a teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water as all we need to disinfect clothing and surfaces. The same is true for getting out light staining. Too much bleach can cause yellowing of fabrics, cultured marble and even porcelain. Bleach advances the breakdown of fibers as well, shortening the life of you clothing. Got tough stains? Soak the affected area in hydrogen peroxide and detergent. Use an oxide containing detergent in your wash afterward. The oxide instantly fades stains and loosens them from the fabric. It will also make white whiter and all colored clothing more vibrant.

Do not overdry! We all like to get our clothes nice and dry hanged and folded ASAP. Overdrying any fabric does two detrimental things. First, it fades clothing more quickly. Second, it ages and breaks down clothing fibers more rapidly. Finally it wrinkles clothing. The best thing we can do is dry clothing until they are mostly dry. Hang them or lay them out to finish drying au naturel, in the air (away from direct sunlight). Adding a fabric softening sheet to the dryer is also helpful. It helps protect clothing from damaging heat as well as preventing wrinkes.

There are many more things you can do to protect your clothes colors and extend their life. These are the essentials. We’ll address cotton and synthetics in our blog this spring or summer. Visit often for tips, tricks and advice.

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