4 Clothing Care Tips, Style File Friday

I think that everyone can agree that the quality of clothing has declined steadily over the years, and that although that $5 t-shirt seems like a good deal at the time, when it is unravelling and/or shrinking within a month, it’s actually not (for you or the planet). I understand that most of us (me included) cannot afford to purchase only luxury cashmere and linen clothing, but taking the time to properly care for clothing can extend its lifespan and allows you the full value of the clothing. Yes, you may have to put a little bit more time into caring for your clothing, but I can promise it will pay off in the long run. These 5 clothing care tips will help you maximise your wardrobe!

4 Clothing Care Tips

1) Purchase Clothing You Can Care For

Every piece of clothing has it’s own wash and dry instructions that need to be followed. I recognise that I am not willing to dry clean clothing on a regular basis. Not only do I not want to budget the money and time to frequent a dry cleaner, I also don’t want to have the by-products of dry cleaning directly on my skin. So, I only purchase items that require dry cleaning if necessary, and hopefully only outerwear. It makes complete sense to me to dry clean my wool pea coat, as that is how it is meant to be cleaned, I wear it to more formal events where I need to look polished, and it doesn’t sit on my skin directly. In the same vein, if you never want to have to hand wash clothing, you should probably skip wool and like fibres.

Get into the habit of checking every garment’s tag for care and cleaning instructions before even trying it on or putting it into your cart- if you aren’t going to care for it in the proper manner, it’s not a great deal. This isn’t to say that you can’t learn how to hand wash pieces when needed or make the time to take something in for dry cleaning, but it’s time to be realistic with yourself and your commitment to garment care.

clothing care tag

2) Wash and Dry According to Instructions

For some reason, proper clothing and garment care has been one of the biggest areas that seems to have been left behind in the twenty first century. I’m nearing thirty, so I’m not too old in the grand scheme of life, but my parents taught us from the time we were knee high that if something is supposed to be washed in cold water that it is washed in cold water, that if something is meant to be hung to dry that it is hung to dry, and that if it is dry clean only that it is only dry cleaned.  They had three small children who were up to their eyeballs in shenanigans and craziness, and still managed to fit in hanging clothing to dry.

The biggest “time saver” that I hear and see people using is putting clothing in the dryer that should be hung to dry- in the long run, taking an extra 5 minutes to hang your clothing is possible for literally 99% of us, and will actually save you time in many cases because there will be no wrinkles to iron out. (I know that some people will say they just wear things wrinkled but I’m not going to touch that…) Manufacturers have not told you to hang your clothing to be assholes and steal your time, they have done so because it is needed for the fibres in your clothing. The heat and friction from a dryer will break down the fibres that literally hold the piece together, and can also contribute to fading.

Hanging clothing to dry

3) Wash When Needed

I used to be in the bad habit of leaving some clothing far too long to be washed- there wasn’t an incredible amount of dirt/sweat on them, but they were lighter coloured shirts that didn’t necessarily fit into my other loads of laundry that I figured could wait a few weeks before washing. Well, removing the dirt/sweat was no problem, but it took an extra two spin cycles to actually get the wrinkles and creases out… Lesson learned. If something is needing a wash, just get it done- you may either need the piece, or you may not be able to “rescue” it when you do wash it.

Also, take a few moments and get to know when which garments need to be washed- for example, tops should be washed every one to two wears, but jeans should be washed every five to seven wears (if not longer, depending on who you ask). Washing every piece of clothing after one wear when it isn’t needed is actually incredibly hard on fibres, and once again, cuts down on the lifespan of the garment. If it is too much to remember off the top of your head, you may want to print off a chart to keep near your laundry hamper or washing machine.

How Often to Wash ClothingVia Pinterest

4) Store Appropriately

Much in the vein of washing clothing appropriately, ensure that you are storing clothing appropriately. You can save yourself a lot of time and energy by hanging your shirts and blouses- you don’t typically have to iron a shirt that has been hanging since washing. On the flip side, hanging a wool sweater instead of folding it and laying it flat will leave the garment stretched out and sagging because of the weight of it. Those skirt and pant hangers can be a god-send depending on the fabric of the skirt/pant, too. Unfortunately, most garments don’t always include specific storage instructions but they typically match the drying instructions! Hang to dry? Hang to store. Lay flat to dry? Lay flat to store. Tumble dry on low? Fold and place in drawer. Once you are more comfortable with fabrics and washing instructions, the storage piece becomes second nature!

Skirt HangerFolded flat sweater

4) Repair Clothing

I am going to guess that for most people, clothing repair is the most foreign aspect of this post- very few people actually know how to repair their clothing if something happens to it. My number one recommendation is to purchase a small sewing kit and watch a few basic sewing tutorials on YouTube. Things like hemming pants or applying a patch to a hole might best be left to a tailor who professionally sews, but minor fixes like re-sewing a button, sewing up a ripped seam, or removing pills are easy enough for anyone to learn and successfully do with a little bit of practice.

When you receive extra buttons with clothing, KEEP THEM. Preferably all in the same place with a small piece of tape identifying which garment it is from when you get there. And try to buy multi-coloured packs of thread, because when you absolutely need to quickly sew a button on or fix a seam, you very well may not have the colour that you need and those things are actually very noticeable. These are very small and easy fixes that once again extend the life of your clothing with less than ten minutes of your time and minimal effort. How many garments have you thrown away because of a missing button or two or a small tear?

Turns out that de-pilling a sweater can be as easy as 2 minutes with a 50c razor!

I am going to share some of my repair tricks in the next few months to hopefully make your life a little easier- I promise that most repairs take 5 minutes or less, and become habit in no time.

What is the hardest part of clothing care for you? 

Until tomorrow,
The Historian
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41 thoughts on “4 Clothing Care Tips, Style File Friday

  1. lady sarah in london February 23, 2018 / 3:14 am

    All very good points – if you don’t mind I am borrowing the chart about how often we should wash clothes. Like you, I hate dry cleaning. Only ever dry clean outwear/coats and even that as rarely as possible. Cashmere jumpers don’t do well with dry cleaning in any case, pure cashmere Improves with washing.


  2. thebeasley February 23, 2018 / 5:34 am

    Oh my god, I never thought of using a razor to de-pile a jumper! That is genius. Looking forward to your repair tricks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • anhistorianabouttown February 24, 2018 / 6:40 am

      It is my secret weapon trick!! I mean, you can buy an actual de-piller but if you need something fixed ASAP, a razor is the answer!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hannah February 23, 2018 / 6:17 am

    We used to have so many disagreements in second year of uni about washing XD One of my flatmates would have literally 7 pairs of trousers, 7 pairs of underwear, 7 tops etc. and do washing once a week. Washing everything after one wear. It made me feel such a slob wearing my jeans/jumper for basically a whole week without changing them, but after reading this I realise I’m not! I don’t understand why people feel the need to change clothes every day 😦


    • anhistorianabouttown February 24, 2018 / 6:42 am

      Uhhhhhh, that seems incredibly excessive for washing!!!! I think that people don’t really have a good feeling on how clean/ dirty we actually are as humans- to wash trousers after one wear would mean that I rolled I’m mud haha. You are completely normal, and it’s actually better for your clothing!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. englishwithkirsty February 23, 2018 / 7:23 am

    I agree about the dry-cleaning. I don’t do it unless I have to, and have hand-washed a couple of dry-clean only garments, which came out fine. I wouldn’t do this with everything, but when the dry-cleaner said they couldn’t guarantee not ruining one of my dresses, I chose to take the risk myself! Looking forward to more of your tips on care and repair.


    • anhistorianabouttown February 24, 2018 / 6:43 am

      If a dry-cleaner can’t guarantee keeping it safe, I would certainly do a hand wash with a gentle soap- if a dry cleaner ruins your clothing, I can almost 100% guarantee there is no saving it!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. josypheen February 23, 2018 / 12:23 pm

    Excellent tips Hannah!
    I was soo happy when I first discovered that trick with razors! I do normally repair my clothes – although sometimes they sit around for a month before I get around to it!!
    Having said that, i do have a bad habit of leaving clothes in the dryer for a couple of days before I take them out and fold them. Ooops.


    • anhistorianabouttown February 23, 2018 / 7:27 pm

      Having to use a laundromat in Dublin largely kicked that habit for me haha. It is really easy and convenient to throw the dryer on for however long when you are walking out- we do have a wrinkle free setting on our dryer but that does keep the dryer going periodically until you turn it off.

      I love those little repair tricks!! And I also sometimes leave them for a few weeks… if I don’t have the energy, I don’t want to do a terrible job!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. rachaelstray February 23, 2018 / 2:45 pm

    Helpful post – they should teach us things like this in school!


    • anhistorianabouttown February 24, 2018 / 6:43 am

      Right?! We all had to take a “Life Skills” class in high school- never ONCE was laundry mentioned, yet we allllllll have to do it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. tahenryauthoress February 23, 2018 / 3:51 pm

    Ironing. I hate it. My hubs used to work in a horribly over heated office. I night him lots of think linen/cotton blend shirts, but they all required ironing. Murder, I tell you.


    • anhistorianabouttown February 24, 2018 / 6:45 am

      Hahaha, I find ironing relaxing but I can see how it could be enraging. I personally HATE making my lunches, But I have friends who love doing food prep and will spend a few hours or more doing it 😣

      Liked by 1 person

          • tahenryauthoress February 24, 2018 / 9:49 am

            I find really well designed lunch boxes help with that. If I don’t have to go searching for something for this and that, I can just grab a lunch box, fill and move on, lunches are easy. I make three a day. It’s one of the things I splurge on.


          • anhistorianabouttown February 25, 2018 / 9:40 pm

            I’m considering getting the sectioned lunch boxes, to make my life that little bit easier. I don’t eat a huge amount, so I think they would be perfect for me! My only slight hiccup is finding some that are dishwasher friendly- I thought I found a great deal until they were hand wash only!

            Liked by 1 person

          • tahenryauthoress February 26, 2018 / 9:02 am

            I buy the sistema because they are top shelf dishwasher safe. Not that I think they are amazing, or the best, they just go in my dishwasher and meet most of my family’s lunch needs. LOL


  8. Kelsey @ There's Something About KM February 24, 2018 / 5:57 am

    These are such great tips! #3 is the one I definitely need to work on – I only have convenient access to the shared laundry room in my apartment building, so doing laundry takes strategic planning that I’m usually never in the mood for. 😉 After reading Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, my outlook on how I treat my clothes changed drastically – I care for my books, pillows, rugs with such care, why wouldn’t I apply similar practices to my clothes? Also, learning that jeans don’t need to, or shouldn’t be washed after every wear was life-changing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • anhistorianabouttown February 24, 2018 / 6:18 am

      Laundry definitely gets more complicated when you are dealing with shared laundry space – in Dublin I got handy at washing a shirt or two in the sink if I needed it before the machines were available.

      It is so easy to forget that clothing lays directly on our skin, the largest organ in our body, and to forget that those fibres are different than rise bigger ticket items that we are so careful with!! And yes haha- my mind was blown when I learned about jeans but I was also horrified by how much I apparently had overwashed them already!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. arv! February 24, 2018 / 7:16 am

    Awesome tips! with these tips, one can be sure that clothes will last longer. If you care about something, it pays you back!


  10. Carol Cassara (@ccassara) February 24, 2018 / 8:21 am

    This may well be the most practical and useful post I’ve read so far this year. I love the chart!


  11. gemmaorton February 24, 2018 / 10:35 am

    Very good points and a useful chart thanks. I’d never even considered using a razor to de fluff. Handy post!


  12. Ritu February 24, 2018 / 11:59 am

    Great tips here! Thank you! I shall definitely be using them!


  13. You Can Always Start Now February 24, 2018 / 12:13 pm

    Great post. I try and not use the dryer for some work clothes. Have rack similar to yours to dry.


    • anhistorianabouttown February 24, 2018 / 6:47 am

      They are one of the best investments you can make- you can save so much money in electricity bills, as well as paying to replace clothing when it wears out!!


  14. Lana February 24, 2018 / 12:26 pm

    I don’t wash my hand towels daily! Who has the time for that? 😀


    • anhistorianabouttown February 24, 2018 / 7:37 pm

      That was my only question-how dirty do people’s hand towels get that they need to be washed daily?? Letting them dry properly helps extend use!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. fancypaperblog February 24, 2018 / 3:50 pm

    I am only ok with looking after my clothes. I saved this pin though, very helpful. Great tips!


    • anhistorianabouttown February 25, 2018 / 9:41 pm

      Thank you, Orla!! I will admit, it took probably 2 full years for me to get to where I’m at and I still take some short cuts that I shouldn’t. I’m finally seeing a difference, though!!


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