How to care for your clothes
The average women estimates that the value of her clothes, shoes and handbags is around £1,840, but according to insurance experts, the actual value of a woman’s wardrobe is more like £6,000! So if your wardrobe really is worth all that money, shouldn’t you be doing a little more to take care of it?
Buy quality, not quantity
Vote with your Visa in the backlash against so-called 'disposable' fashion. Buy one gorgeous item from a quality retailer rather than several dodgy items from a cut-price fashion store. Use a website like Shopstyle to create a capsule wardrobe 'moodboard' per season and buy each piece as you can afford to. And don't be tempted by end-of-season sale rails - nobody else wanted it, so why should you?
Use the right amount of the right stuff
You wouldn't clean a Ferrari with a scrubbing brush, so why spoil your clothes with cheap laundry detergent? Whether you go for a powder, liquid or liquitab, buy a quality brand and make sure you use the correct dosage. In a recent experiment carried out by Which?, most people under-dosed between 4% and 58% on laundry detergent. Which? also discovered that using just 20% less than the recommended amount won't affect stain removal but will definitely mean that your whites aren't as white as they should be. If some of your old white favourites have faded, using a quality fabric conditioner like new Comfort Bright Whites fabric conditioner will help make them look fresher by gently enhancing the whiteness. New Comfort Bright Colour fabric conditioner helps in the same way for colours and contains a special pro-bright formula that helps prevent running or fading.
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Dump the dryer
Environmental guilt aside, tumble drying is one of the worst things you can do to your clothes and underwear - especially bras which can be totally destroyed by the heat. Spinning clothes well in the washing machine before hanging them on the washing line makes them dry more quickly and your clothes will smell fresher too. If you have to use a dryer, select a gentle heat programme.
Love your dry cleaner
No, not because it's a great place to take your silk blouses for cleaning, but because it's a great place to take all your clothing for repairs and alterations. If you're not a dab-hand with a sewing machine, a good dry cleaner should be able to do the following jobs and more: replacing zips; resizing jackets or coats; lengthening, shortening and tapering trousers or sleeves; and adding pockets and patches.
Treat stains quickly
The golden rule of treating stains is to attack them as soon as possible and definitely before laundering. Washing normally sets a stain, so pre-treat with a commercial spot remover or oxygen-based bleach which can be used on coloured fabrics. For super-stubborn stains, look for specialised stain removal products for biological stains, greasy stains and stains on dry-clean only fabrics.
Sort your storage
It's a good idea to remove out-of-season clothes from your wardrobe and store them in cotton bags or suitcases with a few cedar balls (available from Amazon) to repel nasties like moths and mildew. This will free up space in your wardrobe and give in-season clothes room to breathe. You'll also be able to see what you have. Replacing wire hangers with quality plastic or wooden ones will keep your clothes in shape too.
Caring for special fabrics
Before washing an unfamiliar fabric, always check the symbols on the care label - if you're unsure as to what any of them mean, the Home Laundering Consultative Council website has a comprehensive list. Some delicate or dry-clean only fabrics can actually be hand-washed; pre-washed silk for example can be washed with mild non-bio suds or laundry detergent liquid especially created for delicate fabrics. Wool jumpers can be hand-washed with a little gentle liquid laundry detergent such as Persil Silk and Wool Liquid and then drained and rolled in a towel to remove any excess water before drying flat.
Comfort Bright Whites and Comfort Bright Colours are RRP £2.15 for 750ml and RRP £3.30 for 1.2l - look out for them on your next supermarket shop or online shop.