This Is the Worst Thing You Can Do to Your Favorite Clothes

Just because something is classified as clothing doesn’t mean it should be cared for in the same way as your socks or underwear. In fact, that couldn’t be more untrue. Whether you have a lucky T-shirt or a favorite dress, each item should be properly cared for to ensure minimal damage.

Want to know how to properly care for your clothes and make them last longer? From the worst thing you can do to your clothes (page 5) to how to get rid of stains (page 6), we share advice on caring for your favorite garments, ahead.

1. Skip the dry cleaner

Young man working in dry cleaners

Dry clean the items that need it. | IPGGutenbergUKLtd/iStock/Getty Images

While some fabrics — such as linen or silk — can be hand washed instead, skipping out on the dry cleaner for items made of suede or leather can destroy your favorite clothing item. To avoid any mishaps, always dry clean items that say dry clean only.

In addition to fabric, structured pieces (such as blazers and suits) should also always be dry cleaned.

Next: Speaking of following directions …

2. Not follow the laundry instructions

clothing tag

Read your garment tag. | AndreyPopov/iStock/Getty Images

When it comes to making your favorite items last longer, the tags are a must-read — and we don’t mean the garment label. Before washing, look for the tag on the inside of your shirt (typically located near the waistline) and read the laundry instructions thoroughly.

Next: A common laundry mishap.

3. Put laundry detergent directly on your garments

Female Hand Pouring Detergent In The Blue Bottle Cap

Directly applying detergent can be too harsh. | AndreyPopov/iStock/Getty Images

Believe it or not, pouring detergent directly onto garments is a no go. Instead, add your laundry, then water, and then detergent. And, if you’re using bleach, fill the washer up with water first, then clothing, and then soap.

Next: Whatever you do, don’t put these in the dryer.

4. Throw stretchy fabrics in the dryer

Laundry Room

Consider air-drying. | Irina88w/iStock/Getty Images

Whether you splurged on a nice pair of yoga pants or your favorite dress is made of stretchy material, consider air-drying to make them last longer. Over time, stretchy fabrics can lose shape from too many run ins with the dryer.

Next: This is the worst thing you can do to your favorite clothes.

5. Overstuff your closet

Full closet

Overstuffing can wrinkle fabric. | ronstik/iStock/Getty Images

One of the worst things you can do to your favorite clothes? Overstuff your closet. Not only is a stuffed closet overwhelming, squishing clothes together can also make them wrinkled, too. On top of that, if you hang delicate fabrics next to items with zippers and embellishments, they can easily snag.

Next: Have a stain in your favorite shirt? This one’s for you.

6. Scrub out stains

scrubbing stains out of a garment

You might make the stain worse if you’re too aggressive. | FotoDuets/iStock/Getty Images

Another thing to avoid at all costs? Scrubbing a stain out. Aggressively scrubbing a stain can not only ruin certain types of fabrics, it can make stains a lot worse, too. Instead of rubbing the stain, dab it gently and work from the outside in (to avoid any spreading).

Next: This will definitely snag your garments.

7. Leave zippers undone when washing

jeans zipper unzipped

Zippers can damage more delicate fabrics. | matka_Wariatka/iStock/Getty Images

Whatever you do, don’t leave zippers undone when washing — especially if you have other more delicate fabrics in the mix. Leaving a zipper undone can result in a mid-wash snag and nobody wants that.

Next: They sell garment bags for a reason.

8. Leave clothes uncovered

man holding garment bag

Protect clothing with garment bags. | Camrocker/iStock/Getty Images

Whether you collect stunning vintage pieces or have fabrics made of natural fibers, you’ll want to ensure they’re always covered with garment bags. This not only protects the clothing from potential snags and mishaps, it also wards off dust, moths, and other fabric-destroyers.

Next: Love button-ups? Read this.

9. Button shirts

blue shirt

You don’t need to button shirts. | tombaky/iStock/Getty Images

Good news! Unlike zippers, you do not need to button your shirts up before tossing them in the wash. Leaving a shirt buttoned can result in damaged buttons and ripped buttonholes and nobody wants that.

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