Clothes aren’t just something to keep you warm, they are an extension of who you are, a way to express yourself, and an opportunity to connect with others. When you find a special piece, it speaks to you and becomes a staple of your wardrobe. Caring for your clothes is therefore essential to preserve the integrity and quality of your favorite pieces. Whether it's your go-to pair of vintage jeans or a collection of timeless T-shirts, these staple pieces deserve to be kept in top condition so you can rely on them for any occasion and continue to love wearing them. One of the most important ways to extend the life of your wardrobe is through proper laundry care. I know, it ain’t everyone's favorite chore, but it is the most integral part of making sure clothes last. I know it sometimes is daunting to do your laundry correctly, but we are here to help. Not just for your Nice as Heck pieces, but also your favorite classics and any other wardrobe staples. In this blog post, we'll be providing a step-by-step guide on how to wash clothes in order to keep your wardrobe looking as good as the day you filled it.
Prep: Check Labels
Let’s face it, we have all been there. You check the care instructions on your tag, and it’s like you're reading cryptic symbols with little to no understanding of what they actually mean. So what do these symbols actually mean?
- The machine-wash symbol: This symbol represents the temperature that should be used when washing the article of clothing. It can be broken down into four variations. The symbol containing one dot means you wash in cold; two dots and you wash in warm; three dots is hot. If there is an X, please avoid washing yourself and take the piece to your nearest dry cleaner.
- The bleach symbol lets you know whether or not to use bleach. If the label has a plain white triangle, bleach can be used, just be careful with how much you use. If there is an X, DO NOT use bleach!
- The tumble-dry symbol gives you information on drying. A white circle means you can use any heat, although we recommend using low to no heat on all clothes. One dot means a low temperature setting, two dots is for normal temperature, and three dots is high.
- Lastly, the dry-clean symbol lets you know whether you should dry clean the piece or not. If there is an X, you're free to use the washing machine. If not, let the professionals handle the cleaning. For example, we recommend you take your Mohair Bark Cardigan to the cleaners, let the professionals handle the knits!
Prep: Separate and Treat
We like to break down laundry loads into four main categories: whites, lights, darks, and delicates. If you are really being careful, separate your laundry into these four piles and wash separately. If you're pressed for time or sometimes lazy like me, you can combine your whites and lights into one load.
Prep: Last-Minute Check
First of all, make sure you aren’t leaving behind anything in your pockets! Nothing worse than leaving a receipt in your pocket and finding a million pieces of partially washed paper when you put your clean pants back on. Close any open zippers to avoid snagging, turn any denim or clothing with decorative elements inside out, spray any stains, and if you can put your delicates in a mesh bag.
Washing: Cold Water
Cold water is a great option for delicate fabrics and finer pieces of clothing. Also recommend using cold water for sweaters, denim, and clothes that are prone to shrink. If you just bought some new clothing, I advise washing on cold, especially if they are dark or bright-colored. This avoids colors running from the first wash.
Washing: Warm Water
Warm water is perfect for your lights and whites. Use a warm water setting with detergent to help lift any stains and dirt from your garments.
Washing: Hot Water
Hot water should be used sparingly. This is best for clothing with heavy stains and cleaning bed sheets, bath towels, dishcloths and other frequently used items.
- Chlorine bleach is perfect for brightening up your whites. DO NOT ever use on colored fabrics, this will ruin them very quickly and leave you very bummed. Please use the bleach dispenser, otherwise you should dilute the bleach with water before throwing directly onto your clothing.
- Color-safe bleach is ideal for all your colored garments. This is a great solution for removing stains from any colors.
- Fabric softener is basically a conditioner for fabric. We only really recommend using fabric softener for towels. It keeps them fluffy and soft, and prevents any static clinging from occurring.
Washing: Filling the Machine
- Ideally, you should begin filling the machine with water before adding in detergent or clothes
- Once the machine is about a third of the way full, add detergent (and/or bleach if using).
- When the detergent/bleach has dissolved, add in your clothes. Make sure to not fill the washing machine more than ¾ full otherwise your clothes will not get a proper wash cycle.
- Regular or normal cycle is great for any pieces of clothing that are heavily stained. Also works well with fabrics such as denim, linen, cotton, towels, and bedding.
- Perm press (permanent press) is the best option for synthetic fabrics and prevents wrinkling. Think knits, nylon, polyester, acrylic, etc.
- Delicate is the way to go for your more fragile pieces such as wools, silks, lingerie, sheers, and anything that could get damaged in a fast spin cycle.
- For your favorite vintage pieces, we recommend washing on delicate and running a gentle dry cycle to make sure the garment is cleaned properly without losing the integrity of the material.
Washing: Steam Cleaning
- Steam cleaning is our best friend. Nothing worse than heading out at night with a wrinkled shirt, or worse, pants. A steam clean will remove any unwanted creases or odors from your clothes. It is perfect for clothing with a high probability of creasing, such as linens and cottons. This option is great for clothing you don’t often wash unless you bring to the dry cleaners
- Steam cleaning also removes potential allergens in your clothes that may cause you to react.
Washing: Hand washing
Use your biggest sink in your home and fill with either cool or warm water and a touch of detergent. Let your pieces soak for 20 to 30 minutes and then rinse them in clean water until all suds are removed. Hang to dry.
- Regular setting (high heat) is best for preshrunk items. Also great for any whites, denim, towels, bedsheets, and linens. DO NOT use this setting with clothing washed in hot water.
- Perm press (medium heat) is best to prevent colored garments from fading out and making sure your garments maintain their shape/aren’t wrinkled. DO NOT use this setting on your delicate garments as it will shrink them and lose their original shape.
- Delicate (low heat) should be used on all of your fragile garments such as knits.
Drying: Hang or Flat Drying
Hang drying is the best method for certain garments. Any of your sturdy garments, such as canvas (for example our Kickback Jackets and Pants), polyesters, and silks that do not stretch should be hang dried. A great little trick to avoid drying issues and creasing is to pin your tops at the hemline. For any knits and wools, it is best to dry them on a flat surface.
Drying: Quick Tricks
- In a rush, throw a clean dry towel in the dryer with your wet clothes. This will help absorb the moisture faster and get you rocking those clean clothes a lot quicker.
- When you leave your clothes in the dryer for too long and they come out wrinkled, a quick fix is to toss in a clean damp towel and turn on the dryer in short 20 minute bursts until all the wrinkles have gone away.
To wrap things up, properly caring for our clothes is an essential step in extending the life of our wardrobe. Whether it's checking labels, separating and treating, or using the appropriate water temperature and detergent, taking the time to care for each piece will ensure that our clothes look and feel like new for years to come. At Nice as Heck, we are committed to producing high-quality clothing that will last, and we want our customers to be able to enjoy and appreciate them for as long as possible. That's why we encourage you to take the time to properly care for your clothes and extend the life of your wardrobe. Investing in a timeless piece of clothing is a commitment, and with proper care, that commitment will pay off in the long run.