Friday, September 7, 2012

Make Your Clothes Last Longer

I guess I should start with the obvious - watch your weight. Yep, sadly some of us have put on a few pounds and so the old pants don't zip. But since we all know eat more veggies and exercise ( walking to the frig during commercials isn't exercise), let's move on to more dare I say practical ideas.

The Drycleaning and Laundry Institute has a few simple things that you can do to extend the life of  your clothes.

1. Do not hang wet or moist clothes in your closet. Most closets do not have air circulation. So wet or damp clothes just hang there mildewing and possibly spreading that mold to adjacent clothes. Wet clothes can have the dye fade from them unto neighboring articles or vice versa. So hang those wet or damp clothes somewhere with good air circulation until they are dry.

2. Mend all rips or tears immediately.Why? Well, unless you were bending over in room full of people when that seat seam did a blow out - you will probably forget. So the button you put away to sew on later is where? Oops forgot - but hey it is somewhere safe. Or you wash or clean the garment and forgot that small hole or rip and then what was a minor repair is now major reconstructive surgery. Can't sew - neither can I ( well I a "D" in it in 8th grade). But put the button on safety pin on your garments tags, put a safety pin and note on those small rips. That way when you bring it in - it's there for all to see what needs to be done.

3.Do not store dirty clothing from one season to the next. On natural fibers ,i.e cotton, wool, rayon - the stains are invitation to bugs. Most garments ruined by moths etc were attracted first by a leftover. Plus there are some stains ( sugar) that as they oxidize get darker and eventually become dang near if not truly impossible to get out.

4. Treat and remove all stains as soon as possible after spillage. I say this with a word of warning - if it is an oil based stain - leave it alone and get your drycleaner to do it. And for heaven sakes - please don't experiment with the stain like hairspray on ink before you bring to the cleaners. But if it is a washable garment - get out what can with water first. Never Never Never - rub silk to get out a stain . Always Always test your fabric and dye with whatever you use. It is so much easier to bring me a stain than ask me fix a stain removal experiment gone awry.

5. Follow care instructions and DO NOT REMOVE CARE LABELS. You need to know exactly how the manufacturer wants that garment cleaned. You will not remember if that dress or shirt is the one that is supposed to dry cleaned or hand washed. I wasn't with you when you bought it - so trust me I don't know. Some designers make the same items but one is washable and one is not - so you really need to read and keep those care labels. If you follow the label and there is a problem - then you can and should return it where you bought it. But if you decide to wash a dry clean only garment and something goes wrong - sorry but you will be stuck with it. Buy the clothes you can afford to maintain properly.

6. Do not allow perfumes. hair spray, or lotions  to come in contact with any wearing apparel. The alcohol in these items can cause color loss. So you ask - how I do I put this stuff on - well folks that is what a robe or your birthday suit is for. And make sure if you use those self-tanning lotions - it is completely dry before putting anything on. They are dyes for your skin and thus they are dyes for your clothes.

7.Do not store or allow garments to be in prolonged or direct contact with artificial or direct light. Light fades clothes. You have all seen the the faded awnings etc from the sun. The same thing holds true with the lights in your house. If your closet has a window - get some heavy duty drapes or blinds. Closets should be dark - and you just turn on the light to find what you need and then off it goes and out you go. Think of clothes as vampires and you need to keep them away from the light so they don't turn to dust ( OK they won't turn to dust but they will fade)

So these simple things will help your clothes last longer. And if you do this - then do the diet and exercise think just how many things you can wear in your closet. Those jeans from high school? Naw, as I recall that was the bell bottom era . But, it might make a good Halloween costume . Hmmm.