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Dear Bucky: I Ruin All My Clothes

April 24, 2013

Dear Bucky,

Every time I wash ANYTHING I ruin it. Help!

~Laundering Challenged

 

Dear Laundering Challenged,

That sounds like an unfortunate talent to have. The first thing I would ask myself is…Am I reading the directions? Wait, what? Clothes come with directions? Yes, legally, clothes come with laundering directions (maybe one day they will come with styling directions also). So the first thing to do is read the directions. Here’s a handy chart to help you in case there are only pictures:

Sometimes companies will put a DRY CLEAN ONLY label on because it’s cheaper to use one label for everything instead of making a whole bunch of specific labels. Unless you understand fabric composition and know WHY things are dry clean only, I would actually dry clean it.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.

Do you expect me to really read every label EVERY TIME? I can’t even find them half the time.

Well no. (and btw- the label should always either be in the back neck or the left side seam) Here’s a good way to go about it. Wash every thing in cold water and low heat. Period. This is the most fabric friendly and still functional setting you can do. It may take longer, but your clothes will last longer. Heat and friction wear down clothes no matter if they are high end or H & M. (If I could, I would line dry all of my clothes…like circa 1950.) When you buy something new, read the label. If it’s anything other than wash cold, tumble dry low (which would include delicate cycle, hand wash, dry clean, line dry) then take note. If it’s anything else (hot water, normal cycle, warm/hot dry) then don’t worry about it. Chances are, that you will not have a lot of clothes to worry about cleaning in a special way and you will remember them (most people know when they’re wearing a wool sweater).

And one last thing- it always helps to separate darks and lights. It’s really as easy as having two laundry hampers, which is a small price to pay to avoid splotchy white turned pink blouses.

Hope that helps your laundering woes. Leave a comment if you have any questions about specific fabrics/symbols/vintage mystery clothing, etc. Smile

Happy cleaning,

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