I've been doing some thinking lately about gifts for my styling clients. I'd like to give each client a parting gift of sorts, to help them care for the items we've just purchased. I don't want to give the same generic gift to everyone, but I also want it to be something I can buy ahead of time. So my thoughts turned to goody bags. I could have a few items ready that will benefit every client then add one special thing, something customized or special-tailored to fit each person's individualized needs. Some things I'm thinking of adding include Woolite Dark detergent, a travel sewing kit and a piece of Silvertex cloth. Then I thought, why not share some of my care tips with all my readers? So here are five of my favorite clothing care tips. Enjoy! And please pass along any tips you love!
1. Washing tips - ok, so you just bought a bunch of new clothes, so let's keep them looking colorful by using a special washing machine detergent for darks, like Woolite. This gentle formula will keep colors bright and your blacks black. No fading here!
2. Fabric pulls - It's inevitable. The cat or dog snags your sweater accidentally. Or worse yet you catch it on a piece of jewelry. So what to do with those strings? It depends on the fabric. If it's a wide-looped sweater (or something unlined) you can use something small and pointy (toothpick or safetypin) to gently push the fabric back in, while pulling gently from the other side. If it's a random string on a tightly woven piece (like a blazer or jeans), simply cut the string with very sharp scissors.
3. Fabric pills - sometimes your favorite shirt or sweater will get knotted up fibers in areas like underarms from excessive wear or from rubbing against another fabric. In these cases, a fabric shaver can be used to safely remove those tiny knots resembling fuzzballs, as the shaver has a guard and won't take too much fabric off.
4. Silvertex - I just happened upon this great little trick while picking up fabric for a class project at Joanne's. The lady next to me was describing "that brown (or purple, below) fabric that lines hutches and keeps silver polished" when the associate said, "oh yes, you are talking about Silvertex." Being intrigued, I eavesdropped and found that this cloth can polish not only silver but basically anything else! I quickly bought a yard of it, cut it into small squares and have been using it ever since. The only caveat is you cannot wash this material, as the qualities that enable it to polish will be destroyed. But little 4"x6" square hasn't let me down in over two years! I put a piece in everyone's Christmas stocking that year and make sure it travels with me too, for shine on the go! Probably one of my favorite discoveries during my time at Parsons!
5. Stains - While most stains can be taken care of with any good pre-treater, some are a little tougher to get out, like those that are oil-based (grease, salad-dressings) or something like red wine (or juice). For oil-based stains, try using Dawn dish liquid mixed with a little water. Gently rub the stain then launder. Some oil-based stains don't come completely out, but will at least fade enough to not be super noticable. For red wine or red juice, rinse as soon as possible with lukewarm water, then pour salt on the stain and make a paste of sorts. Pour boiling hot water over it and it should come out. It may take more than one round of salt & water. There is also this product, which I've used on my couch once or twice. But if you are anti-chemicals, you may want to check this out too.