The Closet

The Ultimate Guide to Caring for Jeans

Once you’ve found the perfect pair of jeans, there’s no way you’re giving them up. Whether they’re trusty blue bootcuts or white skinnies, your jeans need proper care so they’ll look great no matter how often you wear them. You might feel a bit nervous caring for your jeans, though. After all, you’ve heard that washing denim too often can cause the color to fade. How can you ensure that your go-to pair stays clean?

Look no further than this handy denim guide. We break down everything that goes into caring for denim so you can make sure your jeans last as long as they’re in style—and a good pair never goes out of style.

Raw vs. pre-washed

Knowing the difference between raw and pre-washed will help you take better care of your denim.

Pre-washed denim: Just as the name suggests, this type of denim has been washed before you bought it. This is to help the denim maintain its original shape. With pre-washed jeans, you’ll run into fewer problems when cleaning, but it’s still a good idea to use the washing machine sparingly.

Raw denim: Darker in color than pre-washed denim, raw jeans can take months (and even years) to break in. After repeated wears, they’ll develop natural creases and snugly fit the contours of your body. This type of denim hasn’t been washed before, and may shrink slightly in water.

Pre-washed denim

Avoid washing too often

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Contrary to popular belief, jeans don’t need to be washed after every wear. In fact, as long as your jeans aren’t stained, you can wear them multiple times before they need to be cleaned. Generally, you should wash your denim after five wears

Be sure to turn your jeans inside out before you throw them in the washing machine.

For blue denim: Use cold water on the gentle cycle.

For white denim: Use warm water on the same cycle and avoid bleach, which can cause your denim to turn yellow over time.

Always air dry After washing your jeans, make sure to air dry them. This will prevent the denim from shrinking and fading in color. While you’ll want to dry your blue denim away from sunlight, the reverse is preferred for your white jeans. Sunlight serves as a natural bleaching treatment so air dry your white denim out in the open.

Raw denim

Freeze the bacteria away

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Raw denim hasn’t been exposed to water before, so soaking it can cause the material to shrink. As a cleaning workaround, you can kill any bacteria by placing your raw denim in the freezer. Follow these instructions for a crisp, clean feel to your jeans:

  1. Fold your jeans and place them in a large ziplock bag.
  2. Seal the bag and store it in the freezer overnight.
  3. After you’ve removed them from the freezer, let your jeans warm up a bit before you wear them—unless you like feeling chilled.

Keep in mind that the freezer treatment isn’t intended for cleaning stains. If you find that you’ve spilled something on your favorite pair, rub a small amount of water and liquid detergent onto the stain. Leave it for a few minutes, then wash it out and let your jeans air dry.

Spot clean stains

Here’s how you can remove common stains from your jeans.

  • Mud and grass: Wait until the stain dries, then wipe away any excess dirt. Mix some water and soap, and use a toothbrush to scrub the cleaning solution into the stain.
  • Grease and oil: Blot with a paper towel to soak up any excess oil. Wipe the stain with a cloth dipped in soapy water.
  • Red wine: Pour a bit of white wine over the stained area and then blot with a clean cloth.

Afterward, be sure to rinse with cold water. These stains are likely to happen while you’re on the go—have a stain remover on hand so you can pre-treat right away.

Keep these DIY denim care tips in mind next time you’re cleaning your favorite pair. Taking proper care of your jeans means you can wear them as long as you’d like.

Photos: Unsplash, PDPics, Chay Talanon / Shutterstock.com

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How Often Should You Clean Your Coats and Jackets?

Think of your favorite coat or jacket. Now, try to think about the last time you had it cleaned. It’s easy to forget to care for outerwear as the seasons change and your wardrobe staples rotate, but just like your trusty pair of blue jeans, your coats and jackets needs regular care to keep looking good.

We’ve outlined basic guidelines to help you decide when to clean your outerwear, so you can give these pieces top-notch treatment.

Consider the fabric

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The fabric of your coat or jacket is one of the key factors in deciding how frequently it needs to be cleaned.

  • Down jackets, leather jackets and wool coats: Once a season, if worn sporadically; twice a season, if worn regularly.
  • Suit jackets and blazers: After four to five wears.
  • Fleece jackets: After six or seven wears.
  • Rain jackets: Once a month, if worn infrequently; twice a month, if worn regularly. You should also use a durable water repellent finish to ensure the jacket’s waterproof coating is doing its job.

By the end of the season

In order to prolong the life of your coat or jacket, don’t forget to tend to your outerwear during the off season. Before storing it at the end of the season, make sure your jacket is clean—even if you don’t see any visible traces of dirt or stains. Moths are attracted to perfume and food odors, so if your coat or jacket isn’t freshly cleaned, it can end up with pesky moth holes.

While many coats and jackets can be hand washed or machine washed, dry cleaning is ideal for wool coats or ones with embellishments. Keep in mind that leather jackets

require special care; leather can’t be exposed to water, but bringing it to a specialty cleaner will ensure your jacket gets professional treatment.

Storage considerations

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Clean outerwear and appropriate storage go hand in hand. In order to ensure your outerwear is in excellent condition for the following season, you want to make sure everything is taken out of your coat or jacket pockets. Besides that, check that the zippers are zipped, buttons are buttoned and snaps are snapped. This will help your coat or jacket maintain its original shape.

When it comes to storage, your outerwear, especially a leather jacket or down jacket, needs to be given breathing room. This means you shouldn’t store your coats or jackets in plastic garment bags but rather in fabric storage bags. Plastic bins are also acceptable, but only if you don’t store too many coats and jackets in one bin.

By following these cleaning and storage guidelines, you can continue to wear your coats or jackets in the years to come. After all, they keep you warm and cozy through cooler weather, so they deserve a little TLC in return.

Photos: progressman / Shutterstock.com, Dmitry_Tsvetkov / Shutterstock.com, topnatthapon / Shutterstock.com

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Complete Guide to Caring for Cashmere

Soft, luxurious and high maintenance—these are the first few of the things that come to mind when people think of cashmere. While this delicate fabric does require a bit of attention, don’t let that stop you from upgrading your wardrobe with a few cozy cashmere pieces. If you clean, dry and store your cashmere properly, it’s easy to keep it in excellent shape.

Take a deep breath and let us guide you through the process—it’ll be pain-free, we promise.

Washing and drying: by hand, machine or professional

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Yes, it’s possible to clean your cashmere at home. Whether you’re washing a sweater, dress or scarf by hand, these steps will help you keep your cashmere fresh.

  1. Fill your basin with cold water, and add a mild detergent such as Woolite, baby shampoo or dish soap.
  2. Let your cashmere soak in the basin for five minutes, before rinsing thoroughly.
  3. Take out your clothing and fold it up into a ball to get the excess water out. Don’t wring your cashmere, which can stretch out the delicate material.
  4. Place your clothing flat on a towel, and roll it up to remove any remaining water.
  5. Lay your clothing on a drying rack. If you don’t own a drying rack, place it between two towels to dry.

Don’t have the time to wash by hand? This might surprise you, but you can use a washing machine to clean cashmere. Put the garment in a laundry or mesh bag before you place it in the machine, and select the gentle cycle on cold water. If you’d rather have a professional do the job, dry cleaning is always a good option for your cashmere.

Care tip: Ideally, you should clean cashmere after two to three wears. In between washings you can remove any fabric pills with a cashmere comb or bristled garment brush. Pills don’t mean the cashmere you purchased is cheap—they’re simply a sign of friction from wear.

Stain removal: food, drinks and cosmetics

No matter how careful you try to be, you might end up with a small stain on your sweater. Your initial urge might be to panic, but you can keep your cool—and your cashmere—by following our handy stain removal advice.

  • Makeup or grease-based: First blot the stain. Then, pre-treat by soaking the cashmere in mild shampoo.
  • Chocolate: Dip a cloth in liquid detergent and lightly rub the stained area, taking care not to scrub too hard.
  • Red wine, tea or coffee: Gently rub the stain with a cloth dipped in a mix of cold water and dish-washing liquid. Avoid soap or machine detergents, which can set red wine stains rather than remove them.

Afterwards, rinse your garment in cold water and let it dry on a rack. Your cashmere should be as good as new!

Storage: long-lasting care

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To keep your cashmere looking its best, keep these tips in mind.

  • Don’t hang your cashmere sweaters or dresses. A hanger will distort the shoulders, and the garment will lose its original shape.
  • Instead, fold your cashmere and keep it in a drawer or on a shelf away from moisture.
  • When you’re putting your cashmere away for the season, place it in a breathable garment bag or storage box in a cool, dry area. To prevent wrinkles, you can wrap each piece of cashmere clothing in acid-free tissue paper.
  • Remember to make sure your cashmere is washed before you store it for the offseason. Moths are attracted to human scents, so you’ll want to get rid of any perfume or food odors prior to storage. As an added precaution, place some cedar wood moth repellents with your cashmere.

Now that you’re fully equipped to care for cashmere, go ahead and stock up on this comfy and luxurious fabric in time for sweater season. You’ll look good and feel good!

Photos: Tamarcus Brown, Ann Haritonenko / Shutterstock.com, tomertu / Shutterstock.com

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How Often Should You Be Dry Cleaning Your Wardrobe Essentials?

You finally have a well-organized closet with all the key pieces for casual, work, and formal occasions. Now all you need to do is make sure your favorite attire looks fresh. Dry cleaning your clothes is a great way to help keep them in great shape, but not every item in your wardrobe needs to be cleaned after each wear.

How do you decide when a trip to the dry cleaner is necessary? Our guide explains when certain types of clothing need cleaning, so you can easily extend the lifespan of your wardrobe essentials.

Business and formal suits

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Suits don’t come into direct contact with your skin, so you don’t always need to dry clean them each time you wear them. That said, there are some distinctions to be made between business and formal suits. For instance, you’ll wear your business suit on a regular basis while you’ll only suit up in your formal wear for special occasions like weddings or black tie events.

When should you Dry Clean them?

  • Business suits: After four to five wears
  • Formal suits: After each wear (or once a season)

Care tip: Spot clean and brush your suits at home in between the dry cleaning cycle. You’ll be able to get more wear out of these items without needing to wash them as often.

Pants, skirts and dresses

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If your dress pants or skirts are made of a stain-repellant material, you can wear them a few times before you need to bring them to the dry cleaner. However, formal dresses will need to be cleaned more often due to their fragile material.

When should you Dry Clean them?

  • Dress pants and skirts: After four to five wears
  • Formal dresses: After each wear

Care tip: Air out your pants, skirts and dresses by hanging them after you’ve worn them.

Button-down shirts and blouses

Button-down shirts and silk blouses fit close against your skin and absorb your sweat so they’ll require regular trips to the dry cleaner. It’s also a good idea to visit the dry cleaner when you need your shirt pressed because a professional can ensure it gets top treatment.

When should you Dry Clean them?

  • Button-down shirts: After three to four wears (or each wear, if the shirt is white)
  • Silk blouses: After each wear

Care tip: Ask your dry cleaners not to use starch for your button-down and dress shirts. You can also wear an undershirt to absorb sweat. Both of these tricks will help extend your shirt’s life expectancy.

Other considerations to keep in mind

Of course, these rules aren’t set in stone. In fact, there are other variables that can affect how often you need to visit a dry cleaner.

  • Fabrics: Clothing made of wool can be worn more often before they need to be cleaned. Delicate fabrics like cashmere and silk are vulnerable to sweat, so they’ll need more frequent care.
  • Frequency of wear: If you wear your suit to work almost every day, it can end up slightly wrinkled or stained over time. Same goes for any attire you wear on a regular basis.
  • Weather and temperature conditions: Working in a warm locale like downtown LA? Your clothes will absorb more sweat and—unpleasant as it is to think about—more odors.
  • Stains: While you can pre-treat a stain, there are some stubborn residues that call for a professional touch.
  • Important events: You’ll need to look your best if you’re attending an upcoming wedding or client meeting. Professional treatment will ensure that you enter a room in an outfit that will make the right impression.

The key to a happy closet is to ensure your important pieces stay spotless and clean for as long as possible. That way, you can get the most out of your wardrobe essentials.

Not sure which clothes should be dry cleaned? Check out our guide to learn which items need professional care and which ones you can take care of at home.

Photos: All About Space / Shutterstock.com, Sveta Yaroshuk / Shutterstock.com, WorldWide / Shutterstock.com, nnattalli / Shutterstock.com

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