Proper fabric care involves more than just good washing and drying. To help keep clothes looking their best, it may be time to de-clutter your closet. Storing clothes properly can affect the life of your fabrics and the value you receive from them. Learn to look after your clothes to help preserve their original appearance and condition.
Clothes closet maintenance basics
Clothes should be stored in total darkness with a relative humidity of 50–55% and a temperature of 54–64ºF. Your closet should be clean, well ventilated and pest free. And ideally, you should have matching hangers and a place for everything. Few of us have these ideal conditions — and most of us have more clothes than space to keep them! But there are some basic things you can regularly do for better fabric care:
- Less is more. Assign only current-season clothing that both fits and flatters a home in your closet.
- Rethink your storage strategy. If you always have a hard time finding what you want to wear, change how you store items. Perhaps some foldables should become hangables or vice versa.
- Clean annually. Go through your closet at least once a year. Wash and clean unworn items and perhaps move them to long-term storage. If you've not worn something in two years, consider donating or consigning it.
Using Tide and Downy® together in the wash can help garments LOOK NEWER 50% LONGER*!
*Versus the leading national, low-priced detergent on cotton/polycotton clothes.
Protect your investment
Clothes can be expensive! Here are some tips to help keep them looking their best:
- Make sure clothes are completely clean and dry before storing.
- If you keep worn clothing and clean clothing in the same space, separate them. Even the smallest crumb can beckon pests.
- Use your favorite formula of Tide to pretreat stains and clean washable items. Add Bounce® sheets in envelopes for added freshness.
A neat stack of folded garments allows you to instantly assess your wardrobe (not to mention makes you look impressively organized).
- Fold knit tops and sweaters to avoid stretching, misshapen shoulders and indentations.
- To prevent crushing and keep the pile stable, stack the bulkiest sweaters on the bottom.
- To further protect knits and reduce wrinkling, fold in the "arms-tucked-behind" manner (not the "in-half-down-the-front" method).
- Button all buttons and zip all zippers before folding. This simple task helps hold clothes together, reduces wear and preserves garment shape.
- Use acid-free tissue paper among folded items (both between items and within the garment itself) when storing long term.
A little thought and hanger investment goes a long way toward protecting your clothes and allows you to more easily see your outfit options.
- Use uniform hangers to hang clothes at the same level. This way you will see all your choices and won't "lose" a favorite piece.
- Use padded hangers for jackets and other structured items to retain shape.
- To prevent shirts from sliding off the hanger and help retain collar shape, fasten at least the top two buttons and a middle one.
- To avoid fiber breakdown, remove plastic bags from dry-cleaned items.
- Hang flat-fronted pants evenly suspended by the outermost sides of the waistband. Fold creased pants along the crease and clip at the edges of the waistband. Never overstretch a waistband between clips because it stresses the seams and may permanently stretch fabric.
By following these simple tips and timesavers, you can effectively extend the life and look of your favorite clothes. And you'll triumph at maintaining organization in at least one small space in the house!
Building blocks for a well-organized closet
Best hangers for the investment:
- Plastic tubular or wooden hangers (with grooves for shoulder straps)
- Basic clip hangers (with rubber-lined clips)
- Clamp hangers (may leave marks and some not wide enough)
- Tiered hangers (can cause too much bulk and clutter)