Over a lifetime men spend approximately £34,497 and women £94,442 on clothes and accessories. If you spent that on your home, you would take care of it right? You’d do regular maintenance on it, buy products to enhance it, mend it, ensure that it doesn’t lose its value. So why don’t we give the same respect, time and care to our clothes?
Clothing should be seen as an investment and we should learn how to properly care for the different types of fabrics we use to ensure our clothes look their best and last as long as possible. Here are some important tips, by fabric, on how to launder, dry and iron our clothes properly. Tip No 1 is to ALWAYS read the garment’s sewn-in care label properly!
Acrylic knit: This material can almost always be machine-washed but you should read the label for instructions on how to dry your garment as some knits are best dried flat in order to retain their shape. If only life was that simple for us. Think about it.
Cashmere: Cashmere is a material I usually steer clear of – it’s often been a very expensive mistake. Wash this stuff wrongly -just once- and it becomes dolly clothing. NEVER put it in the machine, even on a delicate wash. High maintenance is this baby; he needs tender-loving-hand-washing care. With mild detergent or NONE. To dry, gently pat or squeeze the excess soap gently, rinse, then leave alone. DO NOT wring, or squeeze or twist it. Press the excess water out, lay flat on a towel to dry, away from direct heat or even sunlight.
Cotton: The easiest, healthiest and cheapest of materials. You can even dry it in the dryer! Wash on a cotton wash with similar colours and just remember to take out of the dryer as soon as it finishes to stop it from creasing. If you do, simply steam iron it. Only a doughnut could burn cotton. Use spray starch to keep that crisp, freshly laundered look.
Linen: Argh! This is the most infuriating of materials and I generally do not give a toss about ironing this stuff and wear it creased. However, for best results and longer lifespan – DRY CLEAN or hand-wash. You need a lot of steam and patience to iron linen so follow my example and embrace the creased linen look.
Nylon: This man-made material goes on a warm wash, should be tumble-dried at a low temperature and used a warm iron to press, if necessary as it doesn’t crease that easily. To reduce static, tumble-dry with a dryer sheet
Polyester: Machine wash on a cool 30degrees and dry at a low heat. Sometimes air-drying is needed, so check your labels. Never EVER iron hot. This man-made fibre likes it cool.
Silk: Some silks can be washed on a delicate machine wash, or if you have the time, handwashed – rinsed even. Most require dry-cleaning and look their best, and last longer if professionally cleaned.
Wool: Dry-clean lined woollen garments, especially coats, at least once a season. Otherwise use a damp cloth or brush to remove dirt spots. To freshen up, hang in a steamy bathroom and add some of your favourite oils to the steam. Or put on a hanger and hang outside, providing it’s not wet or freezing. A good tip for ironing lined woollen garments is to use a steam iron and move it in an up-and-down motion, instead of sliding the iron along the fabric.
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