How To Care For Your Winter Clothes

Caring for winter clothes can be a bit time consuming! Gone are the carefree summer days of throwing your cotton t-shirts and rubber flip flops in the washing machine. Now you have materials like wool, cashmere, leather and down to contend with and they don’t always mix well with the spin cycle. The right cashmere sweater, wool coat, or down jacket can certainly be an investment, yet when it comes to learning how to care for winter clothes, there seems to be a great deal of mystery.

Here are the top tips to care for your winter clothes:

  • Despite what it says on the tag, cashmere is best washed by hand in cold water with baby shampoo or Woolite for optimal softness and protection from chemicals (and only about two times a season).
  • Always fold cashmere sweaters in thirds so you don’t get a fold line running down the front of the sweater.
  • Hang wool overcoats on sturdy wood hangers so the weight of the coat doesn’t stretch the shoulder area.
  • Remove light stains on wool by blotting with cold water or club soda using absorbent cloths or paper towel.
  • Use the permanent press cycle on the washer and add the proper amount of soap per directions on the bottle.
  • If your garment is really dirty, stop the machine mid-wash for a hour or so and simply let it soak.
  • Do not wash leather clothes, use only clean cotton cloth or cotton ball dipped with cleaning lotion for leather and rub gently the dirt directly from leather. Dry under the sun before packing. It is best to put a piece of white cloth over your leather clothes. Avoiding direct sunlight as this can lead to lose of shine, damage of skin-fibre and cracks on leather clothing.
  • In case of fibre clothing, to avoid fluff, do not over brush or rub your clothing. Do not use hot water to wash; as fibre is susceptible to heat, hot water can lead to contraction and deformation of your clothing. Wash gently and rinse thoroughly to avoid soap residue. Dry it in a ventilated area but not under excessive sunlight as UV rays may damage the fibres.
  • Always read labels, as some velvet fabrics must be dry cleaned, but others such as crushed velvet can be machine washed.
  • You can use a steamer to remove mild wrinkles from velvet if you turn the garment inside out.
  • Never iron velvet, as the fibres will get crushed and the iron will leave an imprint.
  • Velvet gets flattened easily, so never press or blot. If you spill something, shake out moisture and, if it leaves a stain, follow cleaning instructions.
  • Always clean cashmere before storing it for the winter, as moths are attracted to our everyday scents, such as perfume, food, deodorant, and smoke.
  • Wool coats should be dry cleaned at the beginning and at the end of the season. Why at the end? Because moths are attracted to everyday human scents like perfume, smoke, and food.

Keep the above mentioned tips to care for your winter clothes and keep them looking clean in a long run.

Hand wash hand-knitted sweaters or scarfs with a few drops of gentle dish soap

Fill your kitchen or bathroom sink with cold water, add soap and swish the sweater around (refrain from twisting, this may hurt the material). Empty the sink, fill the sink again with cool water and swish repeatedly until the sweater is thoroughly rinsed. Repeat this process until there is no soap left.

Machine wash down jackets or alternative coats about twice during the winter

Run your down coat in your washer with cold water and natural laundry detergent for a half an hour on the gentle cycle. Squish out excess liquid, but be careful not to twist the jacket in the process. Dry your jacket on a low setting, and to help re-fluff, add a few tennis balls to the dryer.

Re-wear sweaters, jeans and pajamas

In the colder winter season, you are less prone to sweating and your outer layers can be worn multiple times without washing (if they don’t smell and don’t have any stains of course). You can put them on low in your dryer with a dryer sheet for five minutes to freshen between wears.

Wear an extra layer underneath your sweater

A light camisole or t-shirt won’t warm you up, but it can help keep your sweater or top layers clean, so you won’t need to wash them as much.

Treat slush, mud and salt stains right away

It may be convenient to hold out until the season ends to deal with stains, but once they have set, they are much more difficult to remove. Instead, spray unsightly blemishes with a stain remover and treat spots as soon as they come to your attention.

Help sweaters retain their shape

Prior to washing, lay the sweater out and trace the outline of the sweater on a big sheet of paper. After washing, wrap the sweater in a towel to soak up the excess water, then lay the sweater on the parchment and reshape it to fit the outline. Allow it to dry flat.

Put hats, beanies, scarves, mittens and gloves in a sealable, netted laundry bag

Throw these pieces of winter apparel in to wash once a month, then lay flat to dry. The bag will keep pairs of gloves from becoming separated and stop scarves from getting caught up in other laundry items.

Wash winter sports wear like long johns and fleece jackets with normal detergent

But don’t use fabric softener – it can keep these fabrics from wicking moisture correctly.

Deodorize smelly snow boots

Fill a bucket with cold water, one half cup of vinegar, and one capful of laundry detergent. Remove the boot inserts, soak them in this mixture for thirty minutes, then rinse completely and hang to dry. Swab the exterior of the boots with a wet rag and add a small amount of baking soda in the boot before putting the inserts back where they belong.

“Line dry” in the winter

Suspend clothes over a towel bar or the rod for your shower curtain or any collapsible racks. These can serve as a “line dry” in the winter. As an added bonus, the wet attire will help increase the level of moisture in the dry winter air.

Keep air-dried clothes from getting crunchy

Add one half cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle, which helps keep clothes soft and gets rid of leftover detergent. Shake out your clothes, then hang them up to dry. If your clothes are still rigid, place them in the dryer for five minutes with a slightly moist rag.

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