When you spend good money on your clothes, you want them to last. And one of the most damaging things you can do to clothes is actually something that a lot of us do every week: Laundry. Whether you sort your colors or use fabric softener, that's up to you. But we will say that in order keep your wardrobe in peak condition, you'll want to avoid these simple laundry pitfalls.
Not Properly Prepping the Clothes
Take a few moments to ensure you won't damage your clothes before tossing them in the wash. Unroll your shirt sleeves. Zip up your zippers. Those metal teeth can snag or scratch delicate, knit and woven clothing that's being washed in the same load. On the flip side, make sure button-front shirts are unbuttoned. When fastened, it can stress buttons and buttonholes and lead to premature poppage. Also tie any drawstrings together so they don't snake into the garment (because those are a real bitch to try and retrieve after the fact).
Washer or Dryer
We get it, especially if you don't own your own washer or dryer and have to pay for laundry by the load. But cramming too many clothes into your washer can create wrinkles and prevent your clothes from getting clean. And in a dryer, garments need to float freely to properly dry evenly. Overstuffing it all but guarantees deep creases, wrinkles and patches of dampness.
Using Too Much Detergent
This, according to anecdotal research, seems to be a common mistake men make. If a little soap is good, than a lot is better, right? Not exactly. All the extra suds caused by more detergent can hold grime pulled from clothes and get caught in areas that won't always rinse clean (i.e. under a collar or around pockets) which leads to bacteria buildup. Sometimes, even the recommended amount can be too much for your average load. Instead, use 3/4 the amount of detergent that you'd normally use, then gradually increase that amount if your clothes are not coming out as clean as they should be.
Rubbing Stains Too Hard
Scrubbing that stain too furiously often embeds it into the fibers and can possibly wear away the fabric. Instead, be gentle and methodical—blotting the stain and working from the center of the stain outward, to help avoid leaving a ring around the cleaned area.
Not Putting Away Clean Clothes Immediately
Listen up procrastinators. Folding or hanging your clothes fresh out of the dryer, while they're still warm, really does eliminate those annoying creases that will inevitably set in otherwise. So once you dump that pile onto your bed, get to work. It's tempting to just leave them in the dryer until you get around to it, but if you absolutely don't have time to put everything away then, give your shirts and pants a quick shake so wrinkles don't set in and lay them flat, one on top of another, until you can properly put them away.
Clothes Don't Smell Fresh
Whether it's something you washed with your load, or maybe just soap or deodorant build-up in the armpits of your shirts, sometimes your freshly washed clothes still smell grungy. If the underarms are a problem, try washing your shirts inside out. For just general improvement in the freshness of your laundry, you can use the following to eliminate odors in your laundry and the washer (which is sometimes the culprit): Add a half cup of white vinegar with your detergent, or an odor-eliminating laundry booster like Borax. Or you can swap your regular detergent for Dr. Bronner's peppermint pure-castile soap, the cure-all soap that not only works nicely as a clothes detergent but will get rid of nasty, lasting odors.
Volume 9 // 2017
When we started our 31 Days series, way back in 2009, it was an idea that began out of the natural tendency to see the new year as a restart of sorts. Each day, we put up a short tip or trick to help readers get a fresh start to the new year and step up their game. Then we did it again the next year and it's grown every year since, proving to be one of Valet.'s most popular series ever. This year, nearly a decade in, we've shifted the focus just a touch—narrowing in on skills and attributes we believe make you a better man. Little things that have a big, lasting impact on your life and the lives of those around you. Everyday this month, we'll introduce a topic or idea aimed at helping you look your best, feel great and be the civilized 21st century gentleman we all strive to be. Best of luck in 2017 and thanks for reading.