An important part of creating an intentional wardrobe that you love is knowing how to care for your carefully chosen clothing pieces. We always want to enjoy our favorite pieces for as long as possible, and these five simple tips will help ensure that you get the most bang for your buck out of your closet!

1. Always Check The Tag For Care Instructions

This is by far the most important tip! Nobody is happy when their new purchase that they were so excited about shrinks in the wash. Certain fabrics are more delicate than others and need special care when washing to keep them looking their best. That is why manufacturers will put care instructions on the tags along the seam in a garment; it takes the guess work out of knowing how to properly care for your clothing! Often included on the tag is wash instructions, what stain removers you can or can't use, ironing instructions and how to dry your item. Always follow the tag instructions to guarantee that you will be able to get the best wear out of your pieces.

2. Steam Delicate Fabrics Instead of Ironing

Steamers truly are a game changer when it comes to ensuring that your clothing remains wrinkle-free. Typically they are about the same size as an iron; however, steamers are often lighter and do not require an ironing board (yay!). Remove the cap, fill your steamer up to the fill line, press the button and you are ready to go once you can see the steam coming out of the top. They are particularly useful for garments that are typically difficult to iron (rayon dresses, tiered maxi skirts, chiffon tops... and the list goes on). Bonus: you can also use your steamer for chiffon curtains, satin tablecloths and other delicate linens!

3. Wash Denim Every 3 Wears

Denim can last for years and years if it is cared for in an effective way! We all have a denim skirt that is soft and worn because it's been with us through quite a few years. Our biggest tip for ensuring that your your favorite jean skirt remains a staple in your wardrobe is... 1. Always turn your skirt inside out when it's time to wash it and 2. Only wash it after every 3 wears. Denim is strong and durable; it can go longer without being washed than a t-shirt can. Especially if your denim skirt has some stretch, it will greatly benefit from not being washed too often. Frequently washing any fabric with some spandex in it will wear out the fibers much quicker than if it's washed less often. Also, try to let your denim skirt air dry if you can!

4. Treat Stains Immediately

A big key for being able to get a stain out is treating it as soon as possible! The less time that a stain has to really soak in, the easier it will be to treat. According to the American Cleaning Institute, the steps for the best chance at removing a stain are as follows. Pre-treat the stained area with a stain remover and give it enough time to really soak in. After that, check the item's care tag and follow the laundering instructions. Most of the time stains are able to be removed in cold water, but for extremely dirty clothing and tough stains, you can use the warmest temp of water allowed by the care tag. Never put a stained piece of clothing in the dryer until the stain is fully out!

5. Storage Matters

To hang or to fold is an age old question, and if you're short on closet space the decision is even harder. Here at the Main Street Exchange, we recommend you hang items that tend to wrinkle easier (knit dresses, satin skirts, chiffon blouses...). Typically your workwear and Sunday morning go-to's are the pieces that require a wooden or suit hanger. We would recommend you avoid wire and thin plastic hangers if possible because they tend to stretch out the shoulders on select garments. Pieces that do the best being folded are sweaters, denim skirts, activewear and other clothing that doesn't wrinkle easily. Denim tends to hold its' shape very well when folded which is great for saving closet space!

Clothing care is essential for lengthening the life of your favorite pieces. When you care for your pieces well, you reduce the amount of clothing you need to replace seasonally and you reduce your overall clothing consumption (which is good for your wallet too)!

August 03, 2022 — Anna Heller

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