Garment Care 101: How to Keep Your Clothes in Great Shape

Remember when you were a kid and collected baseball cards? You were so careful, putting them in those plastic cases and then you put all the plastic cases in a shoe box, which lived under your bed? As an adult, you need to apply the same kind of care to your clothes. From doing laundry the correct way, to handwashing, and dry cleaning, here is the best way to maintain your wardrobe for years to come.

No more wire hangers

Looking for garment care 101? Read on

Looking for garment care 101? Read on | iStock.com

Get rid of your wire hangers. They are horrible for your clothing. I prefer velvet hangers because your garments don’t slide off of them very easily. Wood hangers are also nice, but take up a lot of space in your closet and tend to be pricey. However, wood is best for items like heavy coats. For an inexpensive alternative, try plastic hangers. You can even find them at your local dollar store.

If you are the kind of guy who has trouble folding his pants properly on hangers, buy pant hangers with clips. It will save you a lot of frustration and keep your pants wrinkle-free.

Laundry

laundry, smelly clothes

A man doing laundry | iStock.com

If you aren’t sure how to wash a particular garment, just read the label. But in general, you should wash white items in hot water and colors in cold water. However, if your colors are particularly soiled, like a pile of sweaty gym clothes, it’s OK to wash them in warm water.

Always buy good quality laundry detergent. I think Tide Pods are best because you don’t have to worry about measuring. They’re also much better for the environment than traditional liquids or powders because they use significantly less packaging. While detergent is supposed to clean your clothes, too much can make actually make them dirtier because it won’t rinse completely.

Handwashing

Man wearing a shirt

Man wearing a shirt | iStock.com

Your experience with handwashing might be limited, but men must handwash certain items. Sweaters, especially wool and cashmere, should always be handwashed. Use a detergent formulated specifically for handwashing such as Ecover. You can also try Soak, which is rinse-free.

You don’t need to wash your delicates every single time they are worn. Cotton, silk, and cashmere should be washed every two to three times you wear them. Synthetic fibers like acrylic and polyester as well as wool can be washed every five wearings.

To handwash your sweaters, fill the sink with cold water, add the proper amount of detergent and swish it a bit. Put your sweaters in and let them sit for ten minutes. Drain the sink and fill with fresh water. Repeat this until the cold water stops getting soapy. Then, place the sweater in a towel and roll it to release the water. Let dry on a towel or sweater rack.

When your sweaters dry, you should fold them instead of hanging.

Dry cleaning

Suits hung up

Once dry cleaned, get those suits out of the plastic pronto | iStock.com

Some garments need professional cleaning such as suits, dress shirts, etc. We all know when your garments are returned, they come in those plastic disposable garment bags. After you get home, remove your clothing from those bags immediately. They can trap dry cleaning chemicals and their odors in the fabric.

For some sweaters, shirts, and pants, you can also use Dryel, which is a home dry cleaning kit you use in your dryer. I wouldn’t use it for anything very expensive like coats or suits, but if your clothes just need a freshening and you want to save time and money, Dryel is worth a try. Just remember to take everything out of the dryer as soon as it is finished to prevent wrinkling.