Restraining the ‘Wardrobe Appetite’

Published on 11th September 2007

Taking little or no care of an investment is like pouring water down the drain. Filling our wardrobes is an investment. This investment may go to waste if we aren’t prepared to take care of the valuable outfits we have purchased.

The durability and appearance of our garments is essential. It is important to take an inventory of our wardrobes to evaluate what we wear. This will help determine the economic  implication of the time, care and resources  we put in fashion.

Many times, we encounter difficulties associated with clothing care and maintenance. Such issues that pop up in every ‘fashion aware’ mind often elicit a desire to find a solution. Apparently, the most common  solution is to buy a new item similar to the ‘spoilt’ one. For instance, most people have trouble maintaining the appearance of dark coloured items in their wardrobes. The running of dark colours may be minimized by using little amounts of mild detergents. Such garments should be turned inside out when washing (to reduce the amount of abrasion that makes colours run if washed on the right sides) and dried in a shade, as direct sunlight is harmful to dyes.

Ken, a young male professional restricts himself to white garments because “they look fresh and clean at all times.” Whites are equally vulnerable to effects of light; they tend to yellow with age. To prevent yellowing, ensure thorough rinses before drying because detergent residues catalyze the defect. It is also recommended that whites be washed in temperatures stipulated on the care labels.

Lillian is perturbed by her stuffy and smelly wardrobe. The use of fresheners that cost USD 2 every week has not made any difference. A lint brush and a steamer will do the trick. Brush off lint after each wearing. Lint tends to attract any free particles in the air, which consequently become a source of odor. Steam the clothes to freshen and remove wrinkles before hanging them in the closet. The clothes should not be jammed together. Keeping clothes in the drycleaners’ plastic bags is not advisable as the bag traps odors and generates static charges that attract dust and cause mildew development.  

How one hangs clothes is very important. When hanging clothes, use padded or plastic hangers. Wire hangers create creases and sometimes stain the clothes upon rusting during humid seasons. Soiled (dirty) clothes should not be stored with clean ones because the bad odor is transferred to the fresh ones. Have a separate basket for soiled clothes.

The most severe  harm to clothes occurs during laundry. Before any laundering activity, one needs to have read and understood instructions on the accompanying care labels. (This is more effective if done before purchasing). The items should be sorted out by colour, as lighter garments pick up dyes from darker ones. Man made fibers (such as polyester) should be separated from natural fibers like cotton; heavily soiled from lightly soiled and those that generate lint from those that do not. It is at this point that one can identify stains and use specific methods to remove them.

The actual washing process comes in after stain removal. The items to be washed should be fully immersed in the washing bath to ensure a complete wash. Always dry clothes according to the instructions on the accompanying labels. Just as electronics come with the user’s manual, every new item comes with a care label attached. However appealing, always read the care labels carefully and understand them before purchasing. If in doubt over the meaning of a symbol on the care label, consult the store attendants or visit http://www.carelabels.com/ 

Your wardrobe can stop gulping the money you would have invested in other useful ventures if you learn to take good care of your current investment-your clothes.


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