How to Take Care of Quality Fabrics
Better quality clothing costs a bit more, but if you care for it correctly, it will last for years. First, be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions. These are not suggestions. The manufacturer knows the fabric better than anyone and their recommendations are there to help you get the most from your garment.
Many companies will ask you to wash the garment inside out in cold water. To avoid pilling (balling of fabric), you will want to make sure not to wash your garment with anything rough such as a towel or a garment with beads, sequins, stones, etc.. For extra protection, you can buy a garment bag. This is essentially a large lingerie bag that is made from a mesh fabric and zips closed. These bags will protect your items from being twisted in the washing machine or from being rubbed by other fabrics. If you don’t have one, we sell these at Fashion Crossroads.
If the manufacturer recommends hand washing, follow the instructions. Usually, if you have a newer washing machine with a hand wash cycle, you can use your machine instead of your sink. Again, you might want to use a garment bag. Buyer beware: washing a garment when it is recommended that you do not wash it, voids the guarantee and most stores will not take it back under these circumstances. There are dead giveaways that an item has been washed in a machine.
You can preserve the color of your clothing by adding a quarter cup of vinegar into the water and turning the garment inside out. The vinegar helps set the color. This is especially helpful with black cotton or denim pants.
The biggest enemy of quality clothing is your dryer. Usually we recommend that you hang higher quality clothing to dry. This will keep it looking its best for much longer. if the garment will stretch on a hanger, lay it flat to dry. You can usually get away with throwing the item into the dryer for a quick 10 minute cycle to soften the fabric and remove the wrinkles. Adopting this practice will also greatly reduce shrinkage and pilling.
Some manufacturer’s do not recommend that you dry clean your clothing so be careful about assuming that this is always okay. Again, read the washing instructions.
To save time, I create a separate laundry basket for my good clothing that requires special care. I can do a whole load of cold water wash at the same time if I make sure to separate out any items that have beads, stones, sequins, etc. that could catch or rub other fabrics and any items that require hand washing. I separate my light and dark colors, turn everything inside out and add a 1/4 cup of vinegar. When the clothing is washed, I hang the items or lay them flat to dry. You can also purchase a wooden drying rack at a home goods store that will fold up when not in use. If necessary, I put some of the items in a wrinkle reduction cycle with steam and then hang them or fold them immediately. Using this method, I am rarely disappointed in how my clothing performs.