Looking your best might be easy when you have a new outfit straight from the department store, but keeping them looking like new can prove to be a challenge. Your wardrobe is more than the clothes off your back - it's a defining part of who you are. We've compiled some great tips and tricks to help keep your family looking their best, wash after wash.
- Begin by sorting laundry by color, durability and degree of soiling. By separating out lint-producing fabrics, such as terry cloth or flannel from dark and lint-attracting ones, such as corduroy will help prevent lint bunnies. If you also consider drying time, you'll help prevent over drying by separating t-shirts and permanent press items from your towels.
- Got stripes and unsure which load to put them in? Use Liquid Tide with Bleach Alternative, it's not only safe on colors, it helps them stay true and whites look brilliant too.
- Mending any tears before washing will help prevent damage from becoming worse. Undo buttons on collars to help minimize wear along folds, and turn dark clothes inside out to help prevent fading. Washable sweaters should also be turned inside out to reduce the chance of pilling. Make sure to read your care label for the proper washing instructions.
- If you've read our article on how to read laundry symbols you probably have a general idea of what they mean. You may have even printed out our laundry care symbols guide, but there is more to caring for your garments than just reading the label. For more in-depth information, check out Long Live Your Clothes a comprehensive guide to how labeling really works.
- Don't wash your clothing more often than necessary. There is no reason to wash a garment every time it's worn, unless there is visible dirt.
- Pretreat any stains before washing with Tide Liquid. If the stain isn't gone after the wash cycle, retreat and rewash. Soak dirty clothes overnight rather than washing them on a longer cycle to get them clean.
- If you're washing a piece of clothing with a zipper, make sure you zip it up before putting it in the washing machine because it may damage the more delicate pieces in that same load.
- To care for knits, wash inside out to avoid surfaces from rubbing against other pieces. That will help minimize pilling and pulling of yarn.
- Do you enjoy the benefits of washing in cold water? Use Tide Coldwater. Tide Coldwater provides a deep clean in the care of cold water, making it the coolest way to clean. When used in a cold water wash, Tide Coldwater can remove even stubborn stains better than the leading competitive liquid detergent in warm water; save energy and money by lowering your heating bills.
- Shake out items taken from the washer before placing them in the dryer to prevent them from balling up and wrinkling. Overdrying some clothes could make them heat up and shrink. It's better to remove clothes that have a tendency to shrink when they are still slightly damp and hang them on hangers or a clothes rack to air dry.
- Dry fuzzy stuff separately, and separate lint shedders, such as fuzzy sweatshirts, chenille robes, flannels and towels, from lint keepers, such as knits, corduroys and permanent press and synthetic fabrics.
- To help reduce wrinkling, fold or hang clothes as soon as possible after the dryer cycle ends. If this is not possible, slightly dampen a cloth, add it to the load and then run the dryer for a few minutes. The moisture and heat will help the wrinkles fall out. It's also a good idea to run a cool-down cycle at the end of the drying time. All laundry items are more prone to wrinkling if left sitting in a pile when they are hot.
- Still have wrinkles, but hate ironing? Try Downy Wrinkle Releaser. Using the simple spray-tug-smooth system, you can skip the iron and take your casual clothes right to the closet! (You can also spray it while ironing for a finished look without the stiffness of starch.)
- Got Dry Clean Only clothes? Dryel allows you to care for dry clean only and special care clothes at home. It also works to help remove stains and odors and help minimize wrinkles. Most garments are ready to wear with little to no ironing.
- You may not like to iron, but ironing gives you the chance to notice loose buttons, loose seam stitches and worn areas that need to be taken care of before they get worse.
- Do not iron garments that are dirty or stained. The iron's heat can set the stain. Iron clothes, especially those made of cotton, rayon and silk, while they are still damp by removing them from the dryer before they are completely dry. If that's not convenient, dampen dried clothes with a steam iron or sprinkle with warm water. Allow the moisture to permeate the fabric. Iron fabric on the wrong side or use a pressing cloth on the right side to help avoid shine marks. Hang newly ironed items immediately. Do not wear or pack them for several hours. Newly ironed garments tend to wrinkle again quickly.
- Set aside clothing that needs mending when you iron and fix them before they're worn again. This will save more work on ruined garments.
Hanging and folding
- Remove the clothes from the dryer and hang them up immediately. Button the top button on shirts, and hang blouses neatly on the hanger. Slacks should go on a special pants hanger that clips over the top of the waist.
- Hang your clothes in the closet, and make sure they are not all crowded or crushed together. They need breathing room or they could become wrinkled.
- Fold all other garments neatly and place in the dresser drawers. Don't let any piece of clothing lie around all crumpled up this could create unwanted creases or worse your item can warp its shape. Air them out on the hanger for a night then put them back into your closet to help prevent odors from being absorbed permanently.
- Before you put your wardrobe away for the coming season, inspect all clothing closely and under bright light for stains, especially underarm stains. Inspect each garment for minor repairs; loose hems and buttons, open seams and holes in pockets. Empty the pockets of money, candy, gum and sharp, heavy items. If you have jewelry or stick pins on a blouse or lapel, remove them because they can oxidize and deposit a nasty black stain that can be difficult to remove.
- Avoid wet or musty basements and attics and never store clothing directly on the floor. Plastic and nylon garment bags should also be avoided. If you can't avoid the basement, keep your clothing storage off the floor and make sure that you do a cursory examination every few weeks: smell it, touch it and look at a few pieces. By doing this, you can help avoid mildew, dye-bleed and water damage.
- If you have space limitations, consider using a professional storage facility. Most quality dry cleaners offer temperature-controlled storage for clean clothing on hangers or folded boxes - at a reasonable price.
- Regardless of where you store your clothing, remember that all clothing must be washed or dry cleaned beforehand. Garments that have been worn, even for five minutes, may contain body oil, perspiration, perfume or food particles, and can easily become "insect bait" or set a stain.