Clothing Care Tips

clothing care tips
Let’s share some unusual and useful clothing and accessory care tips! Here are mine:

When my white socks get super dingy or start to wear thin, I set them aside for leather polishing. Less mess than an actual rag since you can slip your hand inside the sock before applying your cleaner, conditioner, or polish.

I’ve had bags meant for delicates shred my delicates, so I wash them inside tied-shut pillowcases on the delicate cycle. Both items get clean, and the pillowcase is a softer shield for the delicate item.

If you prefer to hang your leather skirts and pants and don’t want to leave indentations from pant hanger clips, use a dry cleaner pant hanger with cardboard tubing across the bottom. BUT! Be sure to cover it with a paper towel or scrap of cloth first, as those tubes generally have a little adhesive and you don’t want that getting on your leather.

Keep old toothbrushes. Use them to gently scrub dirt off your shoes, polish jewelry, spot-treat stains or odors … you can even use them to exfoliate your lips!

Palmolive dish liquid – the traditional green stuff – is still my go-to for stain removal. So long as you’re not dealing with something dry-cleanable or super delicate, dab the stain with cold water then cover with Palmolive. Let it sit overnight if possible, then wash. I think it’s failed me twice in the past 15 years.

Deodorant mark on your clothes? Rub with a clean piece of the same garment to remove.

Some garments that are supposed to be machine washed and dried flat come out with ridiculous wrinkles. If you’re willing to gamble a little, popping these items in the dryer for five minutes generally gets the worst wrinkles out without causing shrinkage. Dry flat after that.

If you buy a handbag that comes with a dust bag, save it even if you don’t store the bag inside. Pack a pair of shoes inside it before popping into your suitcase. Protects the shoes from getting banged up, and means you can nestle them right in the middle of your clothes without worrying about dirty soles soiling them.

Now you! Got any clothing care tips to share?

Image courtesy Nordstrom

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Originally posted 2015-01-26 06:47:04.

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11 Responses to “Clothing Care Tips”

  1. janejetson

    Yes to tied-shut pillowcases. Two of my bras were ruined because the hooks were trapped and twisted to a mesh bag. But how do you tie them?

    • Sally McGraw

      Right? I got a delicates bag FROM Eileen Fisher that tore apart my Eileen Fisher sweater!

      I drop my delicates into the pillowcase, grab one of the corners at the open end, and tie it into a knot that goes far enough down the body of the pillowcase to seal shut the entire opening. You can also grab the two corners at the open end of the pillowcase and tie them in a square knot together, but depending on the size/shape of the pillowcase it may knot awkwardly and come open in the wash. Alternately, cut a few strips from scrap cloth or buy some ribbon, and tie the open end shut with one of those! Hope that helps, Jane.

  2. chilibrarian

    I’ve used pillow cases that zip shut, too.

    I’ve done the same as you recommend, but also sort of do the opposite for wrinkly “lay flat to dry” items. I let them dry, and then the next time I dry a load on the “low” setting, I toss those items in. The steam from the other wet items drying takes out the wrinkles, but so far has never shrunk the dry items. This works also with items that have creases from hanging. If I don’t have something to dry, I sometime use a wet washcloth and part of a dryer sheet to refresh items I’m too lazy to iron before work.

  3. Cynthia Peterson

    Rather than iron wrinkled T-shirts or other cotton or cotton blend garments, I hang them up in the bathroom, spray them lightly with water, and leave overnight. Much gentler than the iron.

  4. Justine

    Hi Sally and readers, my tip is: baby wipes are excellent at cleaning up marks on clothing, from accidental spills to deodorant marks. I keep buying small travel packs of these (unscented and the alcohol free ones) even though my son doesn’t need them any longer, as they are so excellent for cleaning and tidying my clothes. The only problem I ever have with using these is the occasional white fibre left on black clothes. These just wipe off though. I recently saw a shop assistant use a baby wipe on a dress a customer noticed a mark on.

  5. ALvB

    I’m also a fan of the pillowcase technique! I had actually never thought to use the dust bags I get shoes, though, but I love it. So much nicer than grabbing a plastic bag out of your clothes. My only “tip” is the one for those little wool balls that sweaters or cardigans tend to get. I just grab a razor and shave them off.

    Sort of clothing care related too, someone told me that you shouldn’t wash your jeans before you’ve broken them in as they change shape to fit your body a bit. Is this true or some sort of jeans urban legend?

  6. Joanne Michaelsen

    Shower caps from hotels are great for packing slightly dirty shoes (I always have runners with me) or protecting any garment in your suitcase.

  7. Splashing In Puddles

    Anyone have good tips for dealing with dog/cat hair ? The sticky lint rollers don’t work that great for me.

    • Marcy Holmes

      I’ve found that slightly wetting my hands before running them over my clothes is way more effective than a sticky lint roller. I have a long haired dog which means the hairs aren’t barbed – so I don’t know how well it works for other dog/cat hair.