Part of being fashionable and chic is knowing how to take care of your clothes so they last for a long time. Only then can you justify the great expensive of superior quality. It takes time and effort, but in the long run you will be the winner. One hot washing can ruin a silk blouse; one use of the wrong detergent can send an item to garment heaven. You need to read the instructions on every label. Don’t cut them out! People are afraid that they show, but you just need to tuck them in tightly. It’s a no brainer.
I have some basic tips about fabric in case your labels are unreadable. Cashmere can be dry cleaned, but survives a cold-water bath quite well. You can remove pilling with a special abrasive device and the material looks pretty good. Don’t expect a sweater to be perfect forever. The better the cashmere, the more the piling. Then there is the sturdiest of them all: rayon. You can machine wash it (even on hot for kids’ clothes) and hang it to dry in the shower if you are worried about wrinkles. A tussle in the dryer on low will work if you take the clothing out promptly.
With silk, dry cleaning is best to keep the texture and shine. It can fade in the wash, even with cold water soap. Wool is dry clean only, no other method suggested. It can shrink and is difficult to press with an iron. If you must, put down a wet cloth first. It creates a steam effect. As another simple trick, a travel steamer is safer than an iron and it dissolves wrinkles super-fast. If you resort to running a hot shower, your item may get wet. Cotton does steam out as well, but it is possible. Go for the iron this time. You can wash cotton in cold or hot water (if it is preshrunk).
Gym clothes need at least warm to hot washes. Jersey t-shirts are included in this advice. It is a tough fabric although it helps cool the body during exercise. I do a load of laundry every other day and am glad I have a good water heater so I never run out, even if I had a long shower in the morning. I organize my cleaning schedule so I do the same time of wash at the same time each week. You don’t waste time or money this way.
A final word on soap. Do not use harsh detergents on clothing that you might on bed sheets and towels. There are gentle liquid soaps, some for dark colors, and others for lights. I separate them so the white underwear doesn’t go gray with repeated exposure to runny dyes. Bleach is limited to sheets for the most part. While it removes stains, it also removes color. Be careful and you won’t go wrong. Did I say to read the labels? It is worth repeating.