Tips & Tricks
Frequent cleaning prolongs a garment’s life. Without regular care, stains set with age. Dirt and soil get ground in acting as an abrasive, like sandpaper, which wears away at fibres. Insects are attracted to soiled clothes and create holes and other damage, particularly in garments made of protein fibres like wool and in items that are stored away for long periods.
In short, without regular care, garments can become unsightly and less robust. Our advice to you is to take care of your clothing. Store items properly, folded or on hangers; bring stained items in for immediate attention. For garments that require dry-cleaning, know that regular visits to the dry cleaner will actually prolong their longevity and wearability.
Select one of the following tips to protect and prolong the life of your garments:
Before you head for the laundry room, separate light items from dark ones. This also helps to keep heavy garments, such as pullovers and jeans, separate from lightweight synthetics. Very delicate items, like stockings and underwear, should be washed separately.
Pick the right wash cycle and water temperature following the care instructions label that is sewn into most clothing. A ‘normal’ cycle together ‘hot’ or ‘warm’ water is a good choice for soiled and heavier clothing or non-delicate whites. The ‘normal’ cycle together ‘cold’ water is best for dark clothes like the red-coloured fabrics that are quite soiled but which might also run – a situation that arises when dye in one piece of clothing discolours another while in the wash.
Soiled linen encourages mildew, so linens must be clean before you store them. Ventilation, light and lack of available food discourage mildew growth.
Do not store linens in plastic bags, wooden chests or cardboard boxes. Fumes from petroleum-based polyurethane plastics can rot and streak the fabric. Fumes and the acids in unvarnished wood will yellow linen, as does the acid in cardboard.
Dark, Dry, Cool and Clean are the four words to remember for clothing storage. Store items in a dark place to prevent fading and make sure the storage area is dry to prevent mould, mildew and to discourage insects. Protect garments from heat, which can break down some fibres, and make sure all articles are clean. Even if there is no visible soiling or if an item was only lightly worn, storing clothes that haven’t been cleaned can cause stains or damage:
- Invisible or small stains you can’t see become visible over time. Any beverage or food containing sugar can oxidize and cause a permanent yellow stain.
- The same foods and beverages that cause stains, along with perspiration, perfume and body oils, are a food source for moths and insects that create holes.
Store items on hangars using hanging loops if the garment has them, except for sweaters and knits that stretch and ‘grow’ over time. Fold and stack them loosely in a container, with the lightest on top and the heaviest on bottom, to allow air circulation.
There is no one single product or method than can remove every stain, and unfortunately, many garments are permanently stained after home remedies fail.
Send your garments for cleaning as soon as possible and tell your cleaner what substance caused the stain.
Shirt buttons are of varying quality and are subjected to high temperatures. As a result some may crack or break during the cleaning process.
There is an even greater risk for ornate buttons such as rhinestones or glitter. It is best to remove these items before cleaning.
Moths are attracted to protein fibres found in natural fabrics such as wool, silk and cotton – they will do the greatest damage to garments made of these fibres when they are left undisturbed for long periods of time; especially if they have not been cleaned prior to storage. Moths do not only feed on natural fibres, but on particles and invisible stains left by food, beverages, perfumes, perspiration and body oils.
The most effective way to prevent moth damage is to clean all garments prior to storage, especially those that are made of natural fibres.
The sun is as harmful to your curtains as it is to your skin! The intense heat of the sun will weaken fibres, which can cause them to quickly disintegrate during the cleaning process and also cause brown spots to appear before or after cleaning.
Always let dry-cleaned garments air out. Remove the plastic bag immediately and let the item breathe.
The bags are meant to protect the garment until you get home, but leaving them on can promote mould and won’t protect garments from light.
A good quality suit can provide years of wear and still look fresh. Add to its longevity by following these tips:
- After each wearing, lightly brush the jacket with a clothes brush to remove dirt and lint. It also helps rejuvenate wool and prevent it from getting shiny.
- Hang suit jackets on good coat hangers made of wood or sturdy plastic with broad, rounded shoulder supports to help retain its shape.
- Have ample space in your closet so that the jacket will hang freely to prevent creasing and allow air circulation.
- Unbutton suit jackets and remove all items from pockets prior to hanging in order to maintain the original shape.
- Always clean the jacket and pants together and clean before storing.
- Do not rub stains, blot or absorb excess moisture.
Although a wedding dress is worn for only one day, it carries a lifetime of lovely memories. Since wedding dresses are constructed of delicate materials, often with fragile trims and decorations, they require special cleaning. Hidden soils such as perspiration and body oils oxidise over time and can permanently discolour fabric and lace. Long dresses can become heavily soiled on the hem and train, and food and beverage spills are inevitable.
Besides the wedding dress receiving professional cleaning and finishing, it is packaged in an air sealed box with acid free paper. All the oxygen should be removed from the box to ensure that no oxidation (yellowing stains) will occur over the years.
Regular vacuuming is the most important cleaning activity and can extend the life of your carpet, but deep extraction cleaning must be performed to remove stubborn or embedded soil.
Carpets should be wet or dry-extraction cleaned a minimum of every 12 to 18 months before it shows soiling. Use a cleaning method recommended by the carpet manufacturer to maintain their warranty. Natural fibres such as wool, cotton and silk will require specialised care.