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The Science Of Fabric Care: How To Properly Maintain Your Clothing

Clothing is a big part of our everyday life. We live in clothes, we work in clothes, we sleep in clothes- we are constantly in some sort of clothing.

Clothing is a huge investment, with prices ranging from cheap mall prices to very expensive designer pieces. With such a large investment, it is important to take care of your clothing to prolong its life!

One way to maintain your clothing is by learning the science behind cleaning and taking care of each material that composes it. This article will focus on the different cleaning methods for different fabrics and why they work.

Here at CleanToHome, we are devoted to providing you with the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding domestic cleaning.

Understand how to wash clothes

Washing your clothes is the primary way to maintain your clothing. How you wash your clothes depends on the material, so again, it is important to know the basics of garment care.

Washing dresses and skirts is easy! Just wash them with towels to ensure they are clean. If you want to add extra protection, then use a little water resistant spray on them.

For garments with tight fitted sleeves, such as a sweatshirt, turn the cuff inside out and wash using a towel to dry it. This protects the fabric from getting ripped or tangled in other items.

For washing underwear, bras, and socks, refer back to the correct ways to wash those items! Make sure they are totally clean before storing for future use.

And last but not least, check your washing machine settings and make sure they are set to properly care for your clothing.

Use the right washing machine settings

A lot of people watch what settings they use on their washing machines, but not everyone pays attention to which setting to use on their clothes.

Depending on the fabric, you can damage your clothes if you do not select the correct washing machine setting. For example, if you put a silk shirt in the dryer, it will burn and become charred. Or if you put a pair of cotton pants in with a heavy wool sweater, the pants will get ripped.

The most important settings to pay attention to are easy: cold water wash and gentle wash. These two can save your clothes and prevent shrinkage or fraying!

We recommend washing all your clothing in cold water to prevent any shrinking or ruining of fibers. By using warm or hot water, your laundry may be cleaned faster, but it will cost your clothes in the long run.

Use the right detergent

Even if you only wash your clothes with regular laundry detergent, that can be too much for sensitive fabrics. Many brands have developed special detergents for delicate fabrics, like silk or wool. You can even get a special detergent just for linen!

The trick is to use the least potent soap possible to clean your clothing. Even if other people say their clothes look and feel clean, if your skin is sensitive or your clothing is of a delicate fabric, this can cause problems later on.

Pro tip: If you find that your clothes are still getting stains or fading, try using a less potent detergent next time to see if that helps prevent any damage.

General tips: Keep in mind that not all washing machines are the same size nor do they wash items at the same speed. Sometimes it helps to run your items on a longer cycle to ensure they are fully cleaned.

Wash dark clothes with light clothes

A strange rule of laundry is to wash dark clothing with other dark clothing and light clothing with light clothing. The theory is that this prevents color bleeding, especially with white fabrics.

Unfortunately, this does not prevent color bleed; it only delays it. As mentioned before, water alone will not remove dirt and grime from your clothes, you need soap or detergent for that.

By washing white garments with darker colors, you are simply increasing the chance of color transfer. This is because the white garment is now “soiled” with dirt and grime, and so the same principle as above: water alone will not remove this stuff!

Washing white garments separately may help prevent minor color bleeding, but there is no guarantee.

Let your clothes dry properly

Let your clothes dry properly means waiting to put your clothes away until they are completely dry. This may sound silly, but you would be surprised how many people do not do this!

Many people throw their wet clothing in the dryer and then put the dried clothing away in drawers or closet shelves before the clothing is completely dry.

This is a common mistake as it is easy to pull out a drawer or shelf before the clothing is completely dry. By doing this, you run the risk of mold and mildew growth which is not good for the longevity of your clothes.

The best way to prevent this? Pull out your drying rack! Hanging up your wet clothes to dry allows them to get air circulation which helps them dry faster. If you do not have a drying rack, lay down some towels to help absorb any extra water.

Know the basics of fabric composition

The basic components of fabric are protein, natural oil, man-made oil, and carbohydrate. These sources can contribute to stains depending on the fabric.

Proteins can often cause stains as they are what create the texture and structure of the fabric. Nylon and polyester are both composed of protein. Cotton is a natural fiber that does not have any added oils or chemicals.

Man-made oils can be used to soften the fabric or make it waterproof. Leather is a classic example of a material that has man-made oil embedded in it.

Carbohydrates can occasionally cause stains depending on what color your clothing is and what color the carbohydrate is. As t he two colors rub off of each other, this can cause a new color to appear on the garment.

Know how to store your clothing properly

Keeping your clothing in good condition means knowing how to properly store your clothing. Whether it is in a wardrobe, dresser, or drawer, you should have specific categories for organization.

Whether it is shirts, pants, dresses, or jackets, they should be organized by color and type. This makes it easy to find what you are looking for and keep your clothing protected.

A common mistake people make is hanging all of their clothes in the closet. While this may save some space, it leads to damage of other clothing.

When storing winter clothes in a closet, bugs can burrow through the fabric creating holes. When storing heavier winter clothes like coats and jackets, they can cause weight displacement causing other clothing to fall and get damaged.

To help prevent this, organize your closet by type of clothing and keep soft materials separate from hard materials.

Learn how to fix small tears and rips yourself

Repairing your own clothes can be a great way to save money and learn a new skill. Fortunately, repairing small tears and rips is a fairly easy skill to learn.

The first step is to find out how deep the tear or rip is. If it is just a scratch or very thin tear, you can probably skip the next steps. If it is a thicker tear or one that goes all the way through the fabric, you will need to replace the fabric underneath it.

To do this, you will need to purchase some sewing thread that is close in color to your clothing and a sewing needle compatible with the thickness of your clothing material.

Then, you will need to figure out what direction your fabric needs to be sewn in order to create a solid patch.


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