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The past days’ “bomb cyclone” surely made you put on extra layers and layers of clothes. This also means that your laundry basket keeps growing faster and faster. An incredible winter coat, cashmere sweater or fancy cardigan is definitely an investment, and as such you want to protect it. Knowing the correct way to wash your winter clothes can help keep them in top shape, cut back on laundry time, and even save money!
Small details like choosing the best laundry detergent (either liquid detergent or laundry pods), the correct washing cycle or the best temperature to wash in can definitely make a big difference on the effectiveness of your washing and on your pocket. Follow these quick and easy tips to care better and extend the life of your favorite winter clothes
Treat slush, mud, and salt stains right away! Even though sometimes stain-removing sucks, it’s a necessary evil. Spray them with a stain remover (yes, home remedies work too!), and wash them as you generally would.
Wear a base layer under sweaters. Wearing even a thin shirt will keep your sweaters clean for an extended period of time.
Wash "performance clothing" like long underwear and fleece jackets with your preferred regular detergent (if you prefer homemade laundry detergent, that’s awesome too), but skip the fabric softener. It may damage the fabrics moisture-wicking properties.
Deodorize stinky snow boots. Fill a bucket with cold water, 1/2 cup of vinegar, and 1 capful of laundry detergent. Pull out the boot inserts, soak them in the solution for 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly and hang to dry. Wipe the outside of the boots with a soapy rag and sprinkle a little baking soda inside before putting the inserts back.
Cashmere is best washed by hand in cold water with a very gentle detergent. Scent free laundry detergent is great for this. Never hold up a wet cashmere sweater by the shoulders, it’ll stretch it out. In fact, keep your cashmere in a lump when you go to pick it up when wet.
To dry it quickly, lay it in a flat surface and press gently with a towel, until the towel absorbs most of the moisture.
Always clean your cashmere sweaters before storing them for next winter! Moths are attracted to smells like perfume, food, deodorant, smoke, etc.
During the winter, treat wool coats with a lint or suede brush after wearing to remove surface soil and lint.
Remove light stains on wool by blotting (not rubbing!) with cold water or club soda using absorbent cloths or paper towel.
Hang wool jackets or pants in sturdy wooden hangers, and empty the pockets after every wearing to keep them from sagging or losing shape.
To hand wash your wool clothes, use a gentle detergent and lukewarm water and let the item soak for 3 to 5 minutes before rinsing in cool water. To dry, gently squeeze the garment and lay it flat.
Never use extremely hot water on your wool clothing items!
Down jackets and vests
Use the permanent press cycle on the washer and add the proper amount of soap per directions on the bottle. Do not use too much detergent (here is when laundry pods have an advantage!) since residual detergent can damage the garments. Run an extra rinse cycle before drying to be sure to get rid of any excess detergent.
If your garment is extremely dirty, soak it first for an hour or two in cold water with a gentle detergent and then wash it in your regular front or top loading washer (HE washers really do the trick here).
If you decide to dry your down jacket in a tumble dryer, use the lowest heat setting, since high heat may cause unnecessary wear and tear. Run two cycles if you’re washing/drying many items at the same time.
Toss in a few tennis balls in with the garments in the dryer to break up clumps (yes, it works!).
Remember to follow these tips to get the best out of your winter clothes and to wash everything before storing for next winter.