By Kacey Mya
If you’re like most people, your closet is probably full of clothing, all different materials and styles. Even though you may only actually wear a small portion of that clothing on a regular basis, taking care of all of the different materials you may come across in your closet can get a little tricky.
Every type of material needs to be cared for in different ways, so to help keep your closet in tip-top shape, here is your guide for caring for all of the pieces in your closet.
1. Hand Wash Instead of Dry Clean
Having to dry clean clothing can create a big dent in your wallet and adds an extra errand on your to-do list that you could frankly do without. The good news is that when clothing says “dry clean only”, that actually means that you can hand wash it instead.
Of course, some items do need to be dry cleaned and trying to wash them at home can lead to disasters. Suits, leather, fur, velvet and suede items should all be dry cleaned.
When hand washing clothes, always follow the instructions on the label, spot clean a small area before washing the whole garment and be gentle with the clothing as you handle it. Once you get the technique down, you’ll be saving yourself tons of money and time.
2. Organize Smartly
When organizing your closet, make sure you store your clothing in a way that keeps each garment protected. For example, fold any sweaters or knit items so that the hanger doesn’t stretch out the shoulder area. Hang delicate clothing so that it doesn’t crease. In addition, always keep your clothes in a dark and dry spot, such as a closet or dresser.
3. Read the Label
Pop quiz: what washing instructions are on the tag of the shirt that you’re wearing right now? Chances are, you don’t know. Even though the washing and drying instructions are right on our clothing, sometimes we don’t pay attention to what it’s telling us. But these labels are important.
Each piece of clothing is made differently, so even if you think you know how to care for a certain item, check the tag. Following the instructions on the tag will help you get the most wear out of your clothing.
4. Take Care of Your Accessories
Accessories can make or break an outfit, so taking care of your accessories is a must! Hand wash delicate scarves and run more durable scarves through a delicate cycle if they need to be cleaned. If your purses need to be cleaned, you can spot clean them or run quilted purses through the washing machine. Bring dull leather purses back to life with leather polish. Properly cleaning and storing your accessories is an important step to maintaining a clean and functional closet.
5. Have Good Footing
Does your closet mostly consist of shoes? If so, you’re not alone! Women love their shoes and sometimes they’re quite an investment. Taking proper care of your shoes will help you extend their lifetime and keep them looking new. Surprisingly (and disgustingly), shoes are generally dirtier than your toilet seat, so the importance of cleaning them is obvious.
Protecting your shoes with a protective spray can be helpful to keep them clean and you can also wash your shoelaces in the washing machine if they get dirty. Also, leaving sneakers in the sun for a full day kills odors when needed.
6. Get Rid of Wrinkles
When it comes to making your clothes look crisp and fresh, getting rid of wrinkles is the best way to look professional and presentable. There are two main ways to say goodbye to wrinkles: ironing and steaming.
When choosing between the two, the most important thing to focus on is the fabric. Some garments may be difficult to iron and can be steamed instead, like silk or neck ties. Steaming is a nice alternative to ironing because it takes less time, but ironing may give you a smoother look.
7. Don’t Sweat the Sweat
If you’re someone who likes to work out, caring for your exercise clothes is probably important to you. Our workout clothes go through a lot with us. To clean them, usually wash them in cold water on a gentle cycle as soon as possible after your workout. Don’t use fabric softener, as that is known to clog the fibers and leave you with dirty smelling workout clothes.
8. Know Your Materials
As you may have noticed, the main difference in clothing that dictates how to care for clothing is the material. From silk to cashmere to denim to velvet, clothes come in all types of different materials and each material needs to be cared for a different way.
Learning about the different clothes in your closet is the best way to get the most wear out of your clothes. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to cleaning clothes, so treat each piece as a unique item and clean it according to its material and style.
Taking care of your closet can be quite a job, but once you learn about your unique pieces of clothing and find the best way to take care of everything, you’ll be left with a clean and well-managed closet! Use these tips to get started on your journey to a squeaky-clean closet.