We’ve all had disasters when it comes to cleaning and laundering our clothes. Shrunken cashmere, stubborn grease spots on silk, greyed underwear and stained shirt collars to name but a few!
No one enjoys doing the laundry, and when it goes wrong it can be a nightmare. Mistakes are often frustrating, time consuming, and sometimes very expensive to correct.
However, following these tips should help minimise errors and increase the longevity of your clothes.
- Do what the label says! All garments are wear and clean-tested before making up and companies are very stringent. When a label says ‘wash at 40 degrees’, trust it. These companies and shops don’t want things coming back.
- Always hand wash delicate garments fine wools, silks and so on using a specialist hand washing powder or liquid. We sell a laundry liquid that has been specifically designed for this purpose.
- Always use the same temperature for both the hand washing and rinsing of woollens.
- Bounce or Vanish pre-washes make a big difference to soiled clothing.
- Try to dry clothes naturally: tumble drying is not only very expensive, it wears out clothes faster. Open air is best of all.
- Choose organic and non-biological detergents.
- Don’t wash synthetics and cottons together as the former will absorb the dirt. They also prefer different temperatures
- Use hot water to sterilise hankies, tablecloths, knickers etc.
- Use mesh lingerie bags for bras, knickers and tights/stockings. We stock Lingerie Wash Bags [link] which allow small delicates to be laundered on a normal cycle. These are available on our website.
- Front loading washing machines are most economical as they use less water.
- Specialist dry cleaners are incredibly skilled, often with years of experience, and they will tell you if they can’t improve something. Anything rather than deal with a furious client.
- Use an independent, rather than a chain and take your time to build a rapport with the staff.
- Look out for shops that are beginning to avoid chemicals; many are now using the GreenEarth silicone process which is much kinder to the environment.
- Don’t rush; take your time to explain exactly what the stain is.
- Never try and do it yourself, it can seal it into the fabric.
- Cover special buttons and buckles in silver foil or ask for slip-on plastic button covers.
- Dry cleaners have had a tough time in recent years: fluorocarbons were far more efficient cleaners, but legislation stopped that. Eco solutions are often excellent.
- Use a light iron, they’re easier to manoeuvre and pay for a good one (Vaporella or Norris Steam are good).
- Get a decent ironing board and pad it properly. Use thick upholstery felt or an old, good condition, doubled up blanket, cut to the shape of the board. Then fold an old cotton sheet in four lengthways, cut it to six inches around the board, turn the board over and sew it using strong buttonhole thread and ladder stitch.
- Make sure the board is the right height for you, and get a sleeve extension.
- Don’t press the steam button too much you end up getting a jet of water on the clothes which can stain.
- Always iron clothes when they are slightly damp.
- Get a plant spray bottle that you can fill with water. Or, if you’re looking for a little luxury with your laundering, we stock a lovely floral ironing water. It not only helps repel moths, but makes your clothing smell wonderfully clean and fresh.