Adulting 101: A Guide to Taking Care of Your Clothes

Ok, I'll admit it, I've thrown out more items of clothing than I’d like to own up to. I've let stains sit in my new satin blouse and have let those once perfectly white crisp jeans become a musky yellow shade. I have left scuffs in the boots that I had just bought that season and have let the handles on my leather purse wither apart.

But why do we keep letting this happen? Why are we buying these fabulous items only to make the mistake of thinking they will always look as good as new if we don't put any effort into taking care of them? In part to the fact that many of us were never taught the basic laundry tips, it’s also easy to feel overwhelmed at the thought of figuring out how to take care of each individual piece of clothing properly.

With so much information out there, it can be difficult to figure out where to start, but with these tips you can start to make a change and make sure your wardrobe is perfect from top to bottom. Read on to impress Mom when you no longer have to call her up for laundry advice!

Get Rid of Wrinkles Easily

How many times have you had to ask Mom to show you how to iron your shirt…again? Getting a steamer can get the job done in just a moment. Try a handheld one from Amazon, which is also great for when you’re traveling and your clothes have been stuffed into your suitcase for too long. Another wrinkle trick is to hang your clothes in the bathroom while your showering or while you let the shower run at the hottest setting. The steam in the bathroom will rid your clothes of stubborn wrinkles in no time. When you’re really pressed for time when traveling (or let’s be honest, when you’re really feeling lazy) try the Downy Wrinkle Releaser spray. It’s compact, simple and it gets the basic job done to save you in a pinch.

Shoe Protection Spray

We all love that perfect pair of over the knee suede boots for the fall, but what we don’t love are how easily they get ruined. Water is suede’s natural enemy. To combat this, try a protectant spray before you even wear your coveted suede footwear.

Air Dry Clothes

Over time, using the dryer weakens the fibers in our clothes. This has to be avoided, especially as a young adult with a limited wardrobe. The lint that you have to pick out of the dryer is made up of parts of the fabrics slowly wearing away. When you have quality items, you want them to last as long as possible. If you feel that air drying your clothes makes them stiff, try throwing them into the dryer for a couple of minutes to give them some fluff again.

Take Caution With Washing Jeans

Only wash jeans when they’re stained. You can also wash them when you notice they start to sag. However, try hanging them in shower steam first and see if this freshens them up enough. When it comes time to wash your jeans, always do so inside out and on the cold cycle. Jeans are also an item that is good to air dry (see above).

Preserve Leather

Leather stretches easily and needs to be hung on a well-shaped hanger (think those sturdy wooden ones from the fancy department stores.) When it comes to basic cleaning, try lightly using a damp cloth. For a more serious cleaning, your leather garments should be brought to a professional once a year.

Yes, Clean Your Bathing Suit

Bathing suits should be rinsed in cold water after every wear. Leaving the salty ocean water or chlorine on your piece could highly damage it. After rinsing gently, squeeze water out and lay flat to dry. Don’t throw the bathing suit over the banister on your porch because the sun will cause it to fade, as well as break down fibers. Put a towel down in your house and let it dry on that.

Lightly Wash Lace Lingerie

Lace pieces need to be handled with care. A good rule of thumb to follow is to always hand wash and air dry. This can be done quite easily by filling the sink with cold water and adding one capful of detergent. Then you just swirl the pieces around for few moments before rinsing each individually. Make sure you lightly wring your precious delicates out and lay flat to dry.

Retain Bra Shape

Try not to wear the same bra two days in a row. By doing so you will give the bra time to regain its structured shape.

Wash Workout Clothes Immediately

Right after your super sweat sesh, machine wash your Nike spandex cold. If you don’t have the time to start a load of wash you can hand wash your active wear to stop stains and smells from setting in. Once you’ve finished washing, make sure you leave any spandex pieces to air dry so it can retain its elasticity.

Give Wool Space

Remember those long wool coats (think J. Crew chic) that everyone had last Winter? Be sure to hang these precious pieces on a sturdy wood hanger or the coat will stretch, primarily in the shoulder area. These wool coats also need breathing room in the closet, so please don’t stuff them on top of every other coat you’ve ever owned. If you really want to preserve your coat take it to get dry cleaned at the beginning and end of the season.

Stuff Your Shoes

Stuff shoes with newspaper to keep them in good shape. You can also do this with boots that always flop over, or you can get boot shapers to really keep them in their original form.

Wear More Than Once

Clothes can be worn more than one time. If you throw your clothing in the hamper after every wear then you’ll risk over washing.

Read the Labels

This may seem like the most basic tip, but it is one that is too often overlooked. The labels are there for a reason. Actually take the time to read them and become familiar with how to specifically take care of each item you own. If it says “dry clean only” or “hand wash cold”, then it’s telling you that for a reason. Don’t risk ruining your wardrobe out of laziness.

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