Laundry and fashion go hand in hand. All those clothes ain’t gonna clean themselves, right? Personally, I kinda like doing laundry, especially since I have my workflow down to a pretty painless science (barring any crazy stains). Here’s a round-up of my personal laundry room arsenal in the hopes some of you may find something useful for your own laundry needs (I take great pride in turning people over to the steamer side…come, join me). ;)
Cold Water DetergentKeep Those Colors
I may be a bit paranoid about this one, but I wash everything in cold water, even my whites (although I’ll do a warm water wash every now and then, on my whites or if I have a really stubborn stain). I love my deep, saturated colors, and hate hate hate when they fade, so a few years ago I began washing only in cold water and using detergent marketed to give deeper cleans in such. Does it really work? I don’t have a test group washed in warm water to compare, so I don’t really know. But it makes me feel better and my colors still look pretty darn good if you ask me. Am I just caving in to clever marketing? Maybe.
Uses: Dark colors, or anything you prefer to wash in cold water (in my case, everything).
Tip: Another thing I do to keep my darks dark: wash them inside-out.
Garment Wash BagsFor Your Delicates
I love these things! I use them to wash anything delicate or snag prone, and toss them in with my regular laundry loads. I wash my sweaters, bras, and even sock liners in these mesh bags. Do you like to wash hand-washables on the delicate cycle in your machine (I do!)? Toss them in one of these to ensure nothing will happen to them. They protect sweaters from getting wrapped up, stretched or snagged, bra hooks from hooking other clothing items, or any other damaging thing your clothing could do to each other. I’ve learned through trial and error that ones with finer mesh and places to tuck away zippers are better for avoiding accidental snagging and hooking. My current favorites are these from The Laundress that I picked up at an outlet store a few years ago, but these are similar and highly rated on Amazon (I like that there’s a black one for darks).
Uses: Delicate knits, hand-washables, lingerie, stockings/tights, items with hardware or hooks, anything heavily detailed that may snag.
Drying RacksAir Dry Your Delicates
Some things can’t be dried in the dryer. Maybe they’ll shrink. Maybe fibers or elastic will degrade from the heat. In this case it’s best to air dry them, and instead of covering your entire house in draped wet clothing, might I suggest a nice drying rack? I like ones made with a mesh shelf that allow you to spread an item out flat to prevent stretching, which is especially nice for delicate knits. I also have one like this from my college dorm days that is still going strong & gets lots of use. Most fold up for easy storage.
Uses: For air drying delicates, lingerie, stockings/tights, knits, items you don’t want to shrink.
Garment SteamerBecause Ironing Sucks
I haven’t ironed my clothes in years thanks to this beautiful, marvelous device! We actually own two…a large stand-up one for regular house-hold use, and a small one that we take when we travel. Seriously, steaming is so much faster and easier than ironing, I go around suggesting them to everyone. Super deep wrinkles will still require a pass with an iron, but a steamer has been great for everyday de-wrinkling use.
If you’ve worked in retail, you might have strong opinions on which garment steamers are good to buy, and I’d love to hear your thoughts! I bought this one years ago and it’s still going strong, although reviews on Amazon are mixed so I’m sure there are better ones out there (this one looks promising). Maintenance includes using distilled water (to avoid deposits gunking up the water tank and hose) and cleaning by running a 50/50 mixture of water and white distilled vinegar through the system every now and then.
Tips: Be careful of the steam…it’s very hot and will burn you! Don’t press the stream right up against silk…it’ll pucker (been there, done that). Instead, hold the steam a little distance away from the silk and watch the wrinkles gently fall out.
Do you have a laundry room must-have I didn’t mention? I’d love to hear it!