Good-quality clothes can last for decades with proper care. Even some serious clothing disasters can be fixed with a little know-how.
My sweater shrank in the wash
Try a little hair conditioner
Some garments are liable to shrink if you don’t follow the manufacturer’s washing instructions. There is a way to restore them to their proper size, but it’s not guaranteed to work on all fabrics.
- Soak the garment in a bowl of warm water into which you have mixed a couple of squirts of hair conditioner or baby shampoo. Leave it for 20 minutes to let the fibres in the clothing relax.
- Pour out the water and gently press the garment between two towels to squeeze out most of the water; don’t wring it out.
- Lay the garment out flat on a dry towel and carefully stretch it back into its original shape and size. Leave it to dry fully; you may need to replace the towel a couple of times as it gets damp.
My clothes get damaged in the wash
Prepare your garments for the machine
Delicate or expensive clothes need a little attention before you put them in the washing machine.
- First close any zippers, clasps or hooks before cleaning — there’s less chance of fine fabrics catching and being torn on their own fastenings.
- Examine the garment before washing; if you see any wear or tension in the fabric near the fastenings, consider washing by hand — the agitation in a machine is likely to result in a tear.
A stray sock has turned my white clothes blue
Bleach and rewash
If your whites pick up dye from a coloured item in the wash, first try rewashing the load a couple of times at the recommended temperature with a powder detergent.
If this doesn’t work add 250 millilitres (one cup) of bleach to a tub of cold water and soak the sheets in the solution for 10 minutes. Wash again as normal. Don’t use bleach on fabrics made of wool or silk.
My clothes have wrinkled in the dryer
Smooth them out with a damp towel
Clothes should be removed from a dryer as soon as it has finished its cycle or they will wrinkle. If you’ve left them for too long, simply moisten a small towel, put it in with the load and run the dryer again for a few minutes.
My coat is covered in dust
Improvise a lint remover
Picking hundreds of tiny fragments of lint off a dark wool coat is a tiresome task. Save time by rolling up a magazine and wrapping some wide packing tape around it, with the sticky side out. Roll the sticky edge along your coat to pick up the fluff quickly and efficiently.
My dress is wrinkled
Give it a quick steam bath
When you’re getting ready to go out and find that your dress is wrinkled, run a hot bath and hang the dress on an adjacent shower rail. The steam will quickly get rid of the creases.