Dry cleaning and doing laundry can be a tedious task. Not only can the costs really add up, but the tension of trying to remove a stain from your favourite satin blouse or woollen jersey can be frustrating too. There are so many tips and tricks that could help you avoid going to dry cleaners, some work and others can be a big fail.
Through trial and error, our fashion editor has gotten super close to various washing powders; liquids; would-be-hacks and dry cleaners alike. Here are her top tips to make your laundry day a little less painful.
Do the hacks really work?
You have probably come across an internet dry cleaning hack or two, and raised an eyebrow at the absurdity of it all. Should really spritz your clothes with hairspray to get rid of pesky stains, or use lemon juice on armpit stains? Probably not. There are definitely some home recipes that actually do work, but we suggest that you first do your homework before trying a particular tip. You should also keep in mind that different fabrics react differently to various hacks; for example, what works on cotton won’t necessarily work on wool. When trying internet dry cleaning hacks, our fashion editor has learnt to err on the side of caution.
Read more: Winter fashion hacks you need to know
Timing is crucial
The longer you wait to deal with certain (stubborn) stains, the more embedded into the fabric fibres they will become. Stains such as grease, red wine and ketchup should really be rinsed as soon as they happen. So yes, that means you put the burger down and rinse the stain with cold water even before attempting using a detergent. The best way to remove these stains is to spot treat. Blot the affected area with a paper towel, then apply an enzyme detergent. Let it soak overnight and wash in the morning. Avoid excessive rubbing of the fabric, as this can lead to fading colour and even damaging the garment.
This is probably one that we deal with the most in the fashion and beauty industry. And from my experience, removing makeup stains can be more difficult depending on the fabric, but dry cleaning is not always necessary. Cotton is one of the worst fabrics to get makeup on as the makeup seems to immediately adhere to the fibres, so no need to rush with this one. A little bit of elbow grease and liquid detergent work best. For satin (or other fabrics with more slip) good old makeup remover (like Micellar water) works wonders. Pour a fair amount on a cotton ball then dab the affected area until the makeup is fully removed.
Mesh laundry bags
I’m pretty sure someone has tried to sell you one of these, and you’ve though “oh hell no, waist of money!”. Truth is, these nifty little bags really can save you money in the long run. They help prevent damaging your delicate clothing from stray zips and hooks in the washing machine; and they can minimize certain fabrics from getting stretched while washing. Items like lingerie, silk clothing, sweaters and cardigans will really benefit from being washed in one of these if you are not dry cleaning them. We say get one now, and save bucks later.
Storage is just as important
Whether you’re putting it away for a week, or until the next season, how you store your clothing is equally as important to their preservation as how you wash them. Yes, your clothing can suffocate, causing discolouration and slight stains to turn yellow. Choose dark and dry places to keep your clothing. This way you’ll avoid mildew forming, and unwanted insects from making their home in your clothing.
Read more: declutter your cupboard in 5 easy steps
But wait, there’s more…
Storing seasonal clothing f or the next season is totally normal. It is, however, just as important to take care of the garments before you put them away. You should definitely dry clean or home wash these clothes before storing them away. Even if something doesn’t look dirty, it’s best to wash it to avoid set in, yellow “stains” from forming while in storage. Pre-washing your clothing will help you avoid finding pests when you go to wear your old jumper 6 months later.
Real dry cleaning is (sometimes) a must
Saving a buck by doing most of your laundry at home is great, but there are items that you have to send for dry cleaning. Fabrics like silk; velvet; suede; linen and even some denims really do benefit from a professional touch. Dry cleaning keeps clothing dye intact for longer; prevents wear & tear from machine washing; and can help remove stubborn stains that just wont come out with regular washing.