You need to take care of your clothes if you want them to last and look great for a long time. Most people wash their clothes even though they aren't dirty. Unnecessary washing and drying tends to wear out clothes more quickly, making them lose their shape and look sad and tired. Spending a bit more time taking care of your clothes can not only save you money, but also benefit the environment.
You need to take extra care of jewellery to keep it shiny and sparkling. It's always best to put on jewellery last, after you've used hairspray or perfume. Then, make sure it's the first thing you take off at the end of the night so that you avoid getting any cleansers or face cream on your jewellery.
Sudsy lukewarm water (use dish soap) is the best way to clean jewellery. Polish gently with a soft toothbrush to make sure you get into all the nooks and crannies.
Store your jewellery in separate little cloth bags to avoid scratches and to keep it from getting dusty.
Shoes and bags
You need to prepare your new shoes and bags before exposing them to the elements. Even old products need treatment from time to time in order to keep them looking great for a long time.
One classic tip is to always use a shoehorn when taking off or putting on your shoes. This is a good way to make sure that they keep their shape. Also, try not to wear the same pair every day. Alternate, so that each pair gets a period of rest between each use.
Shoes and bags that get dirty should be cleaned right away so that the dirt doesn't seep in and dry. Usually,
you can remove most types of dirt with a soft brush and lukewarm water. However, there are special cleaning products that you can use for very stubborn stains. Make sure that you never wash shoes or bags in the washing machine.
It's important to always hang up accessories and allow them to drip dry. In other words, don't ever try to speed up the process by using direct heat. You should also stuff your bags with newspaper so that they keep their shape. You can do the same with shoes - either stuff them with newspaper or use special shoe trees. Rolled-up newspapers can be used to help keep the shape of high boots. If you're not going to use certain items for a while, it's a good idea to store them in cloth bags. This helps keep them free of dust, scratches and other types of damage.
After the items have been cleaned and dried, a bit of preventive care is required. Leather products should be polished with shoe cream and you should use a special impregnation spray for suede products. Imitation leather and lacquered items only need to be cleaned and dried before use. Also, you get very nice, shiny results when using a bit of unwhipped cream to polish lacquered products.
Treat stains immediately
You need to act fast if you wind up with a stain on your clothes. It's much easier to remove a fresh stain, so make sure to treat it right away. Wet wipes are surprisingly good for removing stains, particularly make-up. It's worth a try. Read more about how to remove stains in our stain guide.
Hang up your clothes
Don't throw your clothes in a pile on the floor. If you do that, there's a risk that they'll wind up in the laundry basket when you finally get around to picking them up, even though they might not have been dirty. If you hang up your clothes after you've worn them, there's a greater likelihood that you'll be able to wear them several times between each wash. It's a good idea to use a large, sturdy hanger. For heavy knit sweaters, simply hang them over the back of a chair.
Airing, brushing and steaming
Hanging your clothes outside in the fresh air does wonders for both wrinkles and bad smells. If it's not possible for you to hang you clothes outside, you might want to try hanging them up in the bathroom while you shower. Steam from the warm water is great for smoothing out wrinkles. It's a fantastic tip to remember while travelling. Investing in a good clothes brush is another good idea. Use it to remove dirt and dust. It's especially good to brush off outdoor clothes, jackets and other sturdy garments. Try airing and brushing your outdoor clothes. It will help you save money on dry cleaning!
Washing and ironing
When your clothes do get dirty and need to be washed, there are several smart ways of going about it. Try turning your clothes inside-out before putting them in the washing machine. This is a particularly good idea for cotton items, since they have a tendency to fade when washed. Sort your clothes according to colour and don't use too much detergent. You can usually wash clothes in lower temperatures using a shorter cycle. It's better for the environment and in most cases, your clothes will get just as clean. Avoid using the dryer whenever possible. It consumes a tremendous amount of energy and is hard on your clothes. The fluff that you remove from the lint screen afterwards is fibres from your clothes! It's a much better idea to hang your clothes to dry. However, the best way to dry heavy sweaters is to lay them flat on a towel.
If you iron your freshly cleaned clothes they will retain their shape better. Also, the smooth, slightly shiny surface that results from ironing makes your clothes more dirt resistant. Check the label to find out what temperature your clothes can withstand. Be careful and test on an inside seam first if you're not sure about which temperature to use. You need to be extra careful if you have a garment with decals, applique or other decorations. It's a good idea to use a teflon iron plate cover when ironing delicate fabrics.