Thanks to the increased focus on sustainability in the fashion industry, many people are embarking on no-buys
and trying to make the most out of what they already have in their wardrobes.
But that can present its own set of problems – namely, how can you take care of the clothes you have so they look as good as they possibly can, for as long as they possibly can? To find out, we asked DIY (or She-I-Y) expert Laura de Barra
for her clothing care tips.
Take care of pit stains with vinegar
Many a beloved white t-shirt has been ruined by DISGUSTEN
yellow pit stains. But do not fear! Vinegar is your woman. “Everyone sweats, even goddesses, it’s completely natural,” says Laura.
Vinegar can be a fab non-toxic and easy option for pre-treating before you pop your t-shirt in a wash to remove these unsightly stains. Always check if your garment can handle what you’re treating it with – I usually leave it to set for around an hour.
Deodorant stains will be tackled by the washing detergent you use, but as Laura has informed us, sweat is a protein stain, and most non bio detergents don’t have the enzymes present to tackle this. So now you know.
Update a jacket or skirt with vintage buttons
“If you love the silhouette of a jacket or shirt and want an instant update, or it’s a popular high street piece you want to make look a little different, I love to add vintage buttons,” Laura advises. “These are super easy to pick up, it’s a great way to be more ethical with clothing as you’re making something last longer as well as reusing! Just be sure that you pick buttons that fit in the buttonhole.”
Make sure to store your precious dry clean only pieces correctly
As tempting as it may be, never store dry cleaning in the plastic bags they give you. “These trap moisture as they are not breathable. Usually these garments are items you rarely wear, so mould and damage can go unnoticed,” Laura points out.
Once something is returned from the dry cleaners, I would always inspect it, most dry cleaners will give you a short complaint window so you need to make sure you’re happy. Remove it from the bag and then store as normal – dry cleaning is mostly done with chemicals as opposed to water, hence the name, so the garment needs to be aired correctly.
“If not, the fabric may fall victim to some discolouration. If you want to protect a special item of clothing, make sure you use anti-moth, anti-mildew, breathable bags.”
Watch out for mould
“Shriek! The worst. But again, vinegar is a superhero for this. But be careful when rubbing off mould as the spores can harm,” Laura says.
Add two cups of vinegar to the rinse cycle of a wash – or I prefer soaking the clothing in a bucket of water with a cup of vinegar for an hour, then washing as normal. Sometimes this has to be repeated. Ensure you let the clothing dry thoroughly, outside is best. Check your care labels first to ensure this is OK, of course!
Use this common household item to fight makeup stains
“Most make up is oil-based, so washing up liquid is the perfect pre-treatment before you wash. If the stain is wet, simply apply, dab as much of the lipstick or foundation off as possible, then pop in a wash as normal.”
Repair and update where possible
“I am a huge fan of buying less and making sure it lasts. A lot of fast fashion these days isn’t designed to be worn over and over or repaired and updated, this is why I love vintage items. They were built to last. They can have a far longer life due to their construction and fabric, plus if you replace broken zips and buttons. Just ensure if you are replacing a jeans zip, for example, that you have a metal one inserted as these are more hard wearing.”
And never hang your knitwear
Why? Well… “It will literally grow on the hanger over time,” Laura warns. “This was one of my first lessons when I was designing knitwear but one that I will always remember. It will stretch the sleeves, neck and shoulders as well as the length.”
Keep an eye out in high street stores during end of winter sales, as the knits at a huge discount will usually be the heavier, chunky hanging knits that have grown while on display during the season.
Now, armed with this knowledge, go forth and look after your clothes as they should be looked after.
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