Adulting 101: How To Take Care Of Your Clothes

Being able to take care of your wardrobe is just as important as adulting(ish) life skills like knowing what to wear to a wedding or how to do your makeup. It’s not only about not accidentally dying white socks pink, or motivating yourself to go to the dry cleaners—it’s about knowing proper garment care. Clothing you treat well lasts longer, especially if it is an investment piece. It also just looks better on you.

Every Garment Has A Cheat Sheet

If you learn ONE thing from this post, let this be it. If you have no idea how to a garment is supposed to be cleaned, there are instructions on every label. From couture to Forever21, I promise you it’s there unless you accidentally cut it out. If you are looking for more than ten seconds, don’t enlist a search party—just turn the item inside out.

Learn How To Do Your Own Laundry

I don’t care if you have a housekeeper. So do I. She doesn’t do my laundry. Not to sound like your mom, but red wine is an accident waiting to happen at all times. Even if you don’t do your laundry on the regular, at least know how to do it. What if your housekeeper gets into an accident on the way to your house? What if she quits because she hates your generic Windex? Are you going to wear dirty underwear until you can find a replacement? Learn how to throw some clothes into a machine, move them into another machine and fold them.

All of this being said—don’t ask me to clean my house. I suck at all forms of cleaning except for laundry. Also, I hope your housekeeper never gets into an accident on the way to your house.

Remove Stains ASAP

I try to carry around a Tide To Go Stain Pen in my pocket for quick stain removal when I’m out. If you’re clumsy like I am and tend to spill things on yourself almost constantly, it’s a good idea. When you get home, spray on a spot treatment ASAP. I like Shout.

Your Cycle Has Nothing To Do With That Time Of The Month

I know every washing machine is different, but most of the time you are going to wash your clothes in the Normal Or Regular Cycle. If you are washing gross linens (you have a pet or a crazy sex life), choose Heavy Duty.

The Deal With Water Temperature

If you are only washing white clothes—use hot.

If you are washing anything you want to clean and not fade—wash in warm and rise in cold.

Some people wash everything in cold and use special cold detergent because it’s cheaper than using hot water. Don’t be cheap. Your underwear will thank you. 

WTF Is Permanent Press?

I just learned this one myself. The Permanent Press cycle uses warm water and slows the spin cycle like someone who can’t stop looking at their phone in traffic. Choose this cycle for items that have a tendency to wrinkle.

The Gentle Cycle Is Your New BFF

I love the Gentle Cycle. I use it for things that aren’t even labeled for it because it helps keeps your clothes from wearing out. You know those cheap t-shirts you buy that last for a month? Want to make them last for a year? Use the gentle cycle.

I also use the Gentle Cycle for activewear. WHAT? WHAT? You read that correctly. This will change your life and make your activewear last much longer. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone who works at Sweaty Betty or Lululemon. They will tell you the same exact thing.

You Only Need Two Detergents

99% of the time, I use Tide Pods for my clothes. I prefer pods because liquid is heavy. Powdered detergent never dissolves and mostly offends me as a human being.

I know there are special detergents for activewear, but unless you have the world’s smallest washing machine, you probably aren’t going to wash your activewear alone. Use it if you like, but I personally think it’s unnecessary.

The only other detergent I use is Ecover, but mostly for hand washing lingerie and underwear. It also works in a pinch if I run out of Tide.

The Dryer Is Not Your Friend

I know it’s annoying to line dry your clothes because it is. But it literally takes three minutes to throw your stuff up on hangers over your bathtub. Unless you have a laundry room, but if you actually have a laundry room, you are probably better at adulting than I am and likely not reading this. Your clothing lasts so much longer if you line dry. You don’t have to do this for everything because line-drying socks is a nightmare. But, it’s a good rule of thumb for important(ish) things you wear outside.

If you have glass shower doors, invest in a pole. If you have a shower curtain, move it over and work with what you have. Throw a bathmat underneath to catch drips. If your bathroom has a fan, turn it on and keep the door open.

If line-dying sounds like too much work, at least use your dryer on a low setting so your clothing doesn’t get baked.

Also, use dryer sheets because they make everything soft. I know fabric softener exists, but this is easier and cheaper. I like Mrs. Meyers Clean Day dryer sheets because they smell good.

Find A Drycleaner You Like That’s Conveniently Located

A good drycleaner is your wardrobe’s best ally. These people will save your clothes, so they will save your life or close enough. If you stain something, take it in ASAP so the stain doesn’t have time to set.

Tailor Everything

Do you know why your pants always get gross on the bottom? Because they’re too long. Spend a few bucks on a hem and dryclean less often. Your clothes look better when they are tailored. It’s a good investment.  You will get more likes on Instagram.

Buy The Right Hangers

I went through this in my closet organization post. Be a grownup and toss your wire hangers. Velvet hangers keep your clothes in the best shape. You can buy inexpensive ones from Amazon. Replace ALL of your hangers at once.

But don’t toss all of your old hangers in the garbage. Keep some for line drying and see if you can donate the rest to a local thrift store or shelter.

Also invest in hangers with clips for skirts and pants, if necessary.