Is that really a pink shirt you're wearing? Or did you just forget to separate it from the red socks? Men will spend hours cleaning their car's engine, their boat's mast, their kid's ears. But taking care of their clothes somehow becomes a chore best done in record time.
Record times are great for Olympic competition, but haste can make your waist, your shoulders, and your overall appearance appear as if you've run the marathon in during a hailstorm.
For what you spent on those clothes, take the time to let them make you look their best for as long as they can. After all, clothes only exist to make YOU look good.
"Dry Clean Only" means Dry Clean Only. Always check the tag before washing. Same goes for "Hand Wash Only."
Prevent pink shirt syndrome and other color bleeding and fading problems by washing lights and darks separately. And by washing whites all by themselves.
Unbutton clothes before washing. This ensures a more thorough wash and lessens wear and tear on the buttons. Make sure sleeves are out of armholes, pants don't have one leg inside out, and socks are not rolled into balls.
To cut down on wear and tear, dark colors, fleece and clothes with lettering should be washed inside out.
Air drying is gentler on your clothes than tumble drying. It maintains the color and shape of the clothes longer. Delicate garments and anything with elastic should be air dried.
Anything made of 100% cotton will most likely shrink in the dryer, so anything that fits you just perfectly should be air dried. Many new dryers, however, do have heatless drying cycles that are ideal for this purpose.
Don't leave damp clothes in the washer for extended periods of time. They will mildew, and no amount of cologne can cover that smell.
To lessen time in front of the ironing board, take clothes out of the dryer immediately to prevent wrinkling. If you don't have time to fold them, lay the clothes out on a bed or the back of a chair. Some fabric softening sheets now have wrinkle-guards in them as well.
If you're washing clothes to remove a stain, check to make sure the stain is gone before putting the clothes into the dryer. Once a stain is heat dried, it's set virtually impossible to remove.
Sweat happens, but sweat stains can be avoided. Bleach will whiten your whites and reduce those ugly yellow stains. However, bleach can do a lot of damage if used incorrectly, so follow the instructions on the container carefully.
Never bleach items made of silk, wool, or other specialty fibers.
Add bleach to your wash. Do not pour it directly onto clothing or you might find large white spots on clothes that you didn't intend to be white.
If one cup of bleach whitens, wouldn't two cups of bleach really whiten? No. Overbleaching will not only weaken fabric and cause an unpleasant smell, but can also cause "bleach burn," which will permanently discolor fabrics.
Professional Shirt Laundering
For business shirts, professional shirt laundering is usually the best way to go. Your shirts retain their quality longer, are wrinkle free, and you don't even have to pick up an iron (provided you have the shirts returned on hangers and not folded). Two things to consider before dropping off your shirts:
You will have the option to starch your shirt. Starching makes your shirt look smooth and stiff but is also hard on the material. Starch only the collar and the cuff and only do it once every third cleaning.
The cleaner will either box or hang your shirts. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of both:
No wrinkles. Ready-to-wear. Often more expensive than boxing. Easy to pack or keep at the office. Boxed shirts often have a crease across the belly.
A little less expensive.
To Dry Clean or Not to Dry Clean?
Nothing will ruin your day faster than pulling your new slacks out of the dryer, warped and ruined because you should have dry cleaned them. These tips will help:
First and most obviously, if the care tag says, "dry clean only," don't tempt fate; take it to the dry cleaners.
If the garment is not colorfast, it must be dry cleaned to maintain its color.
Turn the clothing item inside out. Wet a small portion of the fabric on the hem and blot it with a white cloth. Let the spot dry. If any color bleeds onto the cloth, or if the fabric appears disturbed in any way, it is not colorfast and needs to be dry cleaned.
Most suits and dress slacks are dry clean only. Here are some tips on dry cleaning.
You only need to dry clean your suit when it is dirty or offensive to the nose. Suits worn regularly need dry cleaning only a few times per year. Excessive dry cleaning of a natural-fiber garment makes the fibers brittle. Brittle fibers break. Bottom line: your suits wear out much faster if you dry clean them too often.
If it's just wrinkled, but not soiled, have it pressed. Men's Wearhouse will press your suit, free of charge — forever — at every location. This not only saves you money, but also increases the life of your suit.
Dry clean all pieces of a suit at the same time, even if not all portions of the suit are dirty, in order to maintain color uniformity.
Ironing - a few tips
Disclaimer: Do not iron 'dry clean only' clothes. This could damage the texture and color of the garment! If you purchased your garment at Men's Wearhouse, bring in to any of our locations for free pressing.
Use a spray bottle filled with water to dampen the clothes you intend to steam iron.
Spray starch can help the look of a cotton shirt. However, spray starch can build up on clothing and discolor it. Use it sparingly.
Iron items that require a cooler iron (such as silk) first before the iron gets too hot.
If the care tag doesn't give ironing instructions, be safe and use a cool iron.
Iron a non-visible segment of the garment first, such as the inside of cuffs and the collar.
Pull fabric tight as you are ironing to avoid pressing in new wrinkles.
Iron around buttons, not on top of them.
Make sure the placket is crisply ironed. Even though the tie covers it, the placket helps the shirt look crisper.
When ironing is not an option, try hanging the clothes in the bathroom while you take a shower. The steam from the hot water will often release many of the wrinkles. Keep this in mind, especially when traveling.
Piling is a result of rubbing on fabric. It is common on elbows and the seat. Soft fuzzy fabric and poorly made fabric are more likely to pill. Also, rough treatment of clothes creates pilling. Remove pills by picking them off by hand, or buy an electric clothes shaver or a quality clothing brush.