A couple weeks ago, I put out the call for guest entries and the mysterious Heather replied. She commented anonymously, just that first name and a billion (well, nine) excellent clothing care suggestions. Wherever you are, Heather, I salute you and your fly-by-night informative way. Pay attention to her words, that you, too, may have nice things. Heather?
1. If it says “dry clean only” and you don’t know what it’s made of, or it’s made of wool or silk, do not put it in the washing machine. If it’s cotton or rayon or some blend of something, you can probably wash it on delicate but do not under any circumstances put it in the dryer. When in doubt, go ask the dry cleaning professional what they think. If they say dry clean it, do not assume they are trying to take your money.
2. Buy the nicest steamer you can afford. If you use an iron, do not, under any circumstances, iron at a higher temperature than listed on the iron for the type of fabric you are ironing. If you are ironing satin, silk, or blends, iron inside out. If the iron seems to ‘stick’ to the fabric, remove it immediately - the iron is too hot, or the plate is too dirty.
3. Do not put those clothes “with 3% spandex” in the dryer. The heat will break down the spandex, and your garment will soon look like a rag. Not the first time, but the 15th time, you will wonder why you bought it.
4. Do not use Tide. Tide keeps colors bright by eating off the ends of the threads in your garment. Keep your colors bright by washing like colors together and in cold water. Use liquid detergent, powder leaves streaks in cold water, especially noticeable on dark colors.
5. Let your deodorant completely dry before you get dressed. Do not put it on after your shirt is on, it will get all over your clothes and leave those horrible pit stains. When you remove your shirt at the end of the day and it is all sweaty, put some stain lifter (like oxyclean stick) in the pits before you toss it in the hamper. Do this to all the stains on your clothes before you toss them in - you will not remember later, and the stain will have set.
6. Speaking of stains, look up a product called Carbona. Buy the right one, it matters. Be cautious on dry clean only clothes - it is best to let the cleaner handle the stain. Don’t wait a month to take it in.
7. Unless you send your shirts to the cleaners and they come back folded, hang them up. Hang up slacks, skirts and jackets. Fold t-shirts, sweaters, and undergarments. Fold your underwear, socks (do not wad them up and fold them over, they stretch out) slips, and gym clothes.
8. Polish your shoes at least twice a year. Look up how to do this by type.
9. Ladies (and gentlemen if you swing this way) do not put your bras and panties in the dryer. Put these things, and tights and stockings, in a little mesh zipper bag before you wash these on delicate. Better yet, do not put bras in the washer at all. Go to Nordstroms, buy the soap the lingerie lady recommends. You know how much you paid for them, and if you wash and dry them, they will fall apart much faster.
Thank you, Heather … wherever you are.