how to take care of your clothes

Here’s How To Take Care of Your Clothes Like an Expert

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It only takes an accidental coffee spill or a missing button to ruin the appearance of your clothing items. But just because your clothes have started to get worn out doesn’t mean you have to replace them with new clothes or throw them away! If cared for properly, the lifespan of your favorite clothes can last for potentially decades, and in doing so, not only do you save money, but you grow a newfound appreciation for your wardrobe. Convinced yet? That’s why your clothes must get all the love and special care they can get! If you need rescue remedies to keep your clothes in good condition, here are tips to help you learn how to properly take care of your clothes.

How To Take Care of Your Clothes: Wash Your Clothes Like an Expert

Sort Your Clothes:

Before you throw all your clothes in the washing machine, take the time to sort out your clothes first. The classic way of doing this is by separating dark colors from whites.

Also, keep in mind that you don’t want to clean your very dirty clothes with your lightly soiled clothes. This helps to stop your other clothes from getting stained. Plus, it stops the smell of heavily soiled clothes from spreading to your other clothes.

Another sorting rule you can follow is grouping your clothes according to fabric care and material. Heavier clothes shouldn’t be washed with delicate fabrics because they can cause damage and abrasion to delicate garments. Another reason is that heavy clothes take longer to dry than lighter clothes.

An easy way to care for these delicate items is by putting your washing machine on a delicate cycle. For your really precious clothing, it’s a good idea to put them in a mesh garment bag.

By the way – have you done a closet audit to make sure that all the time you spend doing laundry is worth it? Are you washing things that are better off being donated or thrown away? To know what you should get rid of in your closet, I created this wardrobe course for you!

Turn Your Clothes Inside Out:

Have you ever wondered why the decorative accessories on your favorite garments keep coming off? It could be because you’re not turning these special garments inside out.

By turning your clothes inside out, it helps to prevent any sequins, embroidery, rhinestones, or any other decorative items from falling off. Turning your clothes inside out also prevents your favorite clothing pieces from getting detergent stains.

Not only that, but it is one of the best ways to keep your clothes from fading and reduce fabric pilling.

Hand Wash Delicates:

Though mesh bags work, it’s also a good idea to hand wash your delicate clothes, such as a chiffon blouse, lingerie, or a cashmere sweater. Hand washing also helps to ensure that your most precious clothes don’t lose their shape and overall appearance. And if you spent a lot of money investing in these clothes, the worst thing you can do is not invest the time it takes to properly care for them.

A pro tip to hand washing delicates is to first clean your sink. If your sink has traces of toothpaste or skincare products then your clothes can get stained or bleached. Before adding your delicate clothes, next you should fill your sink with room temperature water or cold water. These low temperatures are great because they don’t cause shrinkage or color bleeding.

When hand washing delicates, add laundry detergent in the water before you add your clothes. Stir it up so that it dissolves and is well distributed. It’s best if you use light to mild laundry detergent. Trust me, you don’t want to spend a long time trying to wash off too much detergent! Plus, excessive detergent can leave residue on the fibers.

To give your delicates the right proper care when washing, don’t twist or scrub them as this will stretch them. Instead, leave your garments in water for five minutes and swish them around gently.

Finally, rinse the garment with cold water (don’t ring it) and air dry it in a well-ventilated room. Don’t put your delicates in direct sunlight (unless you’re purposefully trying to fade stains on something like a white t-shirt.)

Don’t Dry Clean a Lot:

If you want to increase the lifespan of your garment, don’t dry clean your clothes too much. Not only is it expensive to take your clothes to the dry cleaner regularly, but the heavy chemicals can also reduce the life of your clothing – and traditional dry cleaning is known to involve toxic chemicals.

Follow the Care Labels:

Even though we all tend to skip this part, reading the care instructions is one of the best ways to give your clothes a longer life! The labels on your garments give you all the information you need to wash, dry, bleach, and iron.

However, for most of us, reading these labels sometimes feels like reading secret codes. To help you out, here are some common washing symbols to make your laundry routine easier:

Machine Washing Symbols

To prevent your clothes from getting damaged or losing their good shape, get in the habit of following the correct temperature and the wash cycle. The washing symbols on your garments will guide you on the right temperature and cycle.

washing clothes symbols decoded

Drying Symbols

drying clothes symbols decoded

Speaking from experience, no one wants to throw their clothes in the dryer and later on, find that they’ve shrunk! Because I didn’t take the time to sort out my clothes, I accidentally dried an expensive alpaca wool sweater on high heat. Let’s just say it got so small that I gave it to my 4-year-old…

Next time you do your laundry, you need to know what clothes should actually be put in the tumble dryer. Thankfully, the drying symbols can help you out.

Ironing Symbols

how to iron clothes symbols

It’s important to know what type of fabric can be ironed as well because not all clothes look great after being ironed. For example, delicates like lingerie or silk scarfs can get damaged while more regular clothes need to get ironed frequently to preserve them.

Bleaching Symbols

how to bleach clothes symbols

Bleaching clothes is a great way to remove makeup or food stains. For best results, read the care labels to save your clothes from getting damaged.

How To Take Care of Your Clothes: Treat Your Clothes Like an Expert

Get Rid of Annoying Pills on Your Sweaters:

Nothing ruins sweaters more than pills (also known as bobbles or linting). These details make even the most expensive sweaters look old!

To avoid this, use a fabric shaver. This little tool will remove the bobbles and make your sweaters look like you just bought them from the store.

Steam Your Clothes:

I can’t remember the last time I actually used an iron. Steaming is not only easier and more convenient, but it has loads of benefits too.

It helps to preserve your fabrics while also getting rid of wrinkles or creases. Plus, steamers are great if you don’t want the aggressive heat from an iron.

Use a Lint Roller:

If you’re tired of getting pesky pet hair or fuzz all over your clothes, a lint roller will save you so much stress.

Removing fuzz from your outfits, along with sporting a wrinkle-free look, will do wonders for your overall aesthetic.

Use Leather Conditioner:

We all know how expensive a leather jacket or bag costs! So to preserve your hard-earned investment, use a leather conditioner on your pieces.

Doing this will help get rid of stains and prevent future damage at the same time. Apply it on a lint-free cloth and gently rub it on your leather pieces.

How To Take Care of Your Clothes: Store Your Clothes Like an Expert

The way you store your clothes can make or break the lifespan of your garments. If they are always thrown at the back of your closet, then in the long run, they will lose shape, get torn, and gather dust. Follow these storing tips to make your clothes last!

Don’t Use Cheap Plastic or Wire Hangers:

If you want to keep your clothes in good shape, you need to invest in high-quality hangers. The wrong ones can misshape your garments by making the shoulders too wide. And let’s be real, opening up your closet to see beautiful hangers is a great way to stay motivated while caring for your clothes.

Invest in Dust Bags:

Do you have some high-end expensive or designer bags? Best practices state that you shouldn’t leave your purses out in the open. They need to be away from direct sunlight and put in dust bags to be protected from dirt to ensure longevity.

Try Not To Hang Your Sweaters:

If you have the option, the best way to store your sweaters is to hang them up. Some sweaters can be too heavy or delicate to be put on a hanger, so they end up getting stretched out.

Nobody wants awkward bubbles on their shoulders, so try to fold and store your sweaters in a drawer or on a shelf instead.

Store Away Out of Season:

Having too many clothes in your wardrobe not only results in a cluttered look and stressful state of mind, but it can result in wrinkles or even damage too. (Such as a cardigan button snagging on a pair of jeans because they were pressed up too close together.)

The best way to free up space is to store some clothes away, especially pieces that are out of season. However, I’m a big believer in dipping into your off-season wardrobe to create stylish looks, so if you can, keep them out of your main wardrobe but nearby, like in a guest bedroom closet.

Trying to figure out how to take care of your clothes can be a conundrum. However, with this guide, your favorite clothes will last longer and continue to bring you joy.

If you’re wondering how to make your purses last as well, follow these helpful tips! Up Next: How to Store Purses in Practical and Cute Ways


Founder and editor of My Chic Obsession, Carolyn is your trusted fashion maven. Carolyn's drive to help others achieve a classic and timeless wardrobe fuels her posts, making a go-to resource for style seekers worldwide. Beyond the wardrobe, she resides in the heartland of the Midwest, dreaming up new ideas and raising her two lively boys - her biggest fashion critics.