• Susan Padron

Clothing Care 4-1-1: The Dos & Don'ts for Your Favorite Pieces

How do I prevent my jeans from shrinking when I wash them? What can I do to prevent the color of my clothes to stop fading so fast? Why do my sweaters get so pilly? How should I be drying my clothes...should I be drying my clothes?



I am asked these questions by almost all of my clients, because everyone wants to know how to take care of their clothes!


When you invest in yourself, and buy clothes that you love, you want to do what you can to help them live out a full, happy life! Not everything you buy is (nor should be) dry clean only, so that means you have to figure some things out for yourself. That's ok! That's why I'm here!


Most of the questions that I get can be answered by how they're washed or how they're dried. Let's start with washing your clothes.



Should I wash my clothes in warm or cold water?


My response is almost always cold! Washing your clothes in cold water helps to prevent fabrics from fading. This is especially important with dark wash and black jeans! If you really want that denim color to last, wash your jeans inside out and in cold water. You'll be surprised how well the color lasts!


Cold water also prevents your clothes from shrinking! No one wants to buy something that fits perfectly, only to wash it, and completely change the look of it!


My favorite setting on the washing machine: delicates. I do not have the patience to hand wash clothes, even if the washing directions suggest it. I'm not doing it. So, my solution is to wash all of my clothes on the delicates setting! It's basically like the washing machine is hand washing my clothes for me. For the clothes that have "hand wash only" on their care tags, it helps to maintain the quality of the fabric and the shape of the garment. So it's really a win for everyone (mainly me, because I don't have to hand wash my high maintenance clothes).


If you're worried about sanitizing your clothes, spoiler alert: the sanitizing of your clothes doesn't actually happen in the washing machine, unless you're using bleach. The germs and bacteria are actually killed in your dryer! It is recommended that you place potentially infected clothes in the dryer on a high heat setting for at least 28 minutes, in order to kill the germs living on your clothes. But don't worry, you don't have to sanitize all of the clothes you wear. This suggestion is mainly for when you or someone in your household is sick.


Should I be drying my clothes?


Unless the tag says otherwise, my answer is yes. If the tag says "dry clean only", that sweater better NOT end up in the dryer, because... yikes. The care tag might also say "line dry", in which case, do not put that dress in the dryer. It will probably shrink a little, lose its shape, and/or the quality of the fabric will start to diminish a lot faster.


My favorite advice to give about putting your clothes in the dryer: think "low and slow". Set your dryer to a lower heat and allow it to take longer to dry. You can always put your clothes on a drying rack if they're still a little damp.


Fun fact: did you know that the sun's UV rays are a natural disinfectant! So, if you're washing your clothes in cold water, and the care instructions say to line dry, you can put that drying rack outside in the sunshine!



My sweater is fuzzy, what should I do?


If your clothes start to get little balls of fuzz all over it, we typically refer to that as pilling. Pilling occurs from friction. To prevent your clothes from pilling, wash them inside out to reduce the amount of contact they are getting from the other clothes in the washing machine. Separate your heavier weight fabrics, like denim, from your more delicate fabrics, when you do your laundry. You can also avoid putting your sweaters in the dryer. Again, it's all about reducing friction.



What should you do if your sweater gets pilly? You can of course buy a "sweater shaver". However, my personal preference is just a regular razor. That's right. A razor that you use to shave yourself, is a razor you can use to shave a sweater. Using a dry razor, with small motions, very gently shave the part of your sweater that is pilling. I prefer the razor, because I feel like I have more control over the pressure and area that I'm shaving on the clothing item.


Remember "low and slow" - low temperatures, and slow drying times to help your clothes last for as long as you want to enjoy them!



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