Simple tips to your garments always looking perfect (and yourself,too!)

Americans spend millions on clothing each year.  From top designer gowns to the used t-shirt found at the local thrift shop, we are constantly purchasing clothes either to update our wardrobe (some more frequently than others), to follow our expanding or shrinking figures, or to just feel better with a brand new sweater.  Regardless of the reason why or how often, we all want to keep our clothes looking as new as the day we purchased it.  The best ways to keep clothes looking their best are to be aware of the fabric care label, to properly maintain and treat stains, and to launder it well.

1. Always check the fabric care label for proper clothing care

Read the fabric care tag to keep new clothes looking greatCredit: JCmb

In the United States, clothes are required to have a fabric care label.  The purpose of the label to keep the consumer informed as to the best method of care for the item purchased.  Detailed on any care label are the fabric makeup of the garment, the preferred way to wash and dry the article, any ironing recommendations, and (sometimes) identification numbers and catalog information more pertaining to the commercial aspect of the item.  The label will detail whether the piece should be washed in cold, warm, or hot water and with which type of load to include.  Since clothes need to be dry to properly wear, this information is usually detailed as well.  Wrinkling is inevitable, even with clothes marketed as "wrinkle-free" or "non-ironing" so care in that respect is usually recommended.  Any other special care requirements, such as "Dry clean only," "Hand wash only," or "Gentle cycle" as recommended by the manufacturer will be spelled out on the care label.  All guidelines should be followed based on the information on this usually multilingual label.  Resist the urge to remove this label so that it can be referred to later by yourself or someone else you've entrusted to care for your clothing.  This little label has a big responsibility in keeping your clothing looking perfect.

2. Maintain clothes and treat stains proactively to keep clothes in excellent working order

Taking the time for which to care for your clothing and treat things like stains is a worthy time investment in keeping garments in great condition.  There aren't many things worse than having to discard a favorite shirt that has a large stain on and is rendered unwearable.  Even the most careful person can spill food and not notice until after clothes have been through the wash.  Checking buttons, zippers, and snaps regularly can prevent embarrassing mishaps at the most inopportune times.  When you undress, take a minute to check your clothing for any food stains.  Always have a stain treatment product handy where you disrobe as well as with your laundry equipment.  Many products are available on the market, including some that can be discreetly packed in a purse or pocket.  Even if they don't remove the stain immediately, the cleansing agent will reside in the fibers to loosen dirt and stains in the wash cycle.  A needle always threaded with neutral string will make tightening a loose button quick and easy.  Wax from an old candle can keep pants zippers operating perfectly forever.  Investing in these easy utilities to properly maintain and treat your clothes will definitely help in keeping them looking their best.

3. Proper washing and drying to keep garments in pristine condition

In addition to reading and understanding the care label and keeping clothes properly maintained, the more important aspect in keeping new clothes perfect is your laundry routine.  The steps outlined above both lead to this point where clothing must be cleaned for hygienic purposes and proper appearance.  Washing clothes removes skin residue, biological stains and odors, and natural dirt.  But this process can actually weaken your fabric and fade the appearance of your clothes.  To prevent these from occurring, be sure to use the proper water temperature, use a mild detergent at the right quantity, and be wary of the other clothes in the washer.  A general rule of thumb is darker clothes of similar materials can go in the same load, such as blue jeans and dark sweatshirts  in cold water or white cotton socks and light colored cotton undergarments in warm/hot.  If any clothes are detailed with a graphical print or accessorized with jewelry, use care to turn those garments inside out and possibly in smaller special loads.  In actuality, many clothes can be turned inside out as the process of washing creates a lot of friction between the clothes in the washer, which can fade the outward appearance.  This is suggested especially if there are no pretreated stains or blemishes that need to be removed laundering.  After the wash cycle, dry clothes in the least amount of dryer time you can tolerate.  If you are able to line dry certain delicate items, this will greatly assist in keeping the clothes in good shape and prevent shrinking.  A happy medium would be to add clothes to a tumble dryer for 5-10 minutes at low or medium heat and then transfer to an air hanger to dry during the day or overnight.  Taking some extra steps and time in the wash and dry cycle of your clothing will greatly help in maintaining a clean and top-quality look to your clothes. 

We all need our clothes to be taken care of.  Good clothing quality makes us look good, feel good, and makes the money spent on our clothes a worthy investment.  Further investment in time to understand how to maintain our clothes based on the supplied care label is an important first step.  Keeping a vigilant eye on dirt, stains, and the hardware of your clothes is necessary to keep the garment in great condition as well as prevent any serious flaws from showing up at unexpected times.  The importance of proper washing and drying can never be understated, as this process is required to keep clothes and ourselves healthy.  Following these simple steps routinely will surely keep your clothes lasting for months or years to come... and keep you happy and looking great!



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