When you invest a lot of time and money into your wardrobe, the last thing you want is to ruin it on laundry day. We went straight to the experts on how to wash everything from your favorite jeans to your leather jacket. Forget sticking your jeans in the freezer (which doesn’t work anyway) – Ani and Raymond, the owners of Custom Laundry and Cleaners in Sherman Oaks, CA, told us how to really keep your jeans and the rest of your wardrobe in top shape!
SB: How do you keep denim in top form? Even expensive jeans have a tendency to lose their shape over time. Is there a way to prevent this?
CL&C: Yes, wash denim pants in cold water – inside out, and then hang them to dry
SB: How do you prevent knits from stretching out?
CL&C: Always start off by following the garment’s cleaning instructions, which are usually attached to the label. Most knit pieces could be washed on a gentle cycle setting, or hand washed in cold water. Prior to washing, you need to use the blocking process, which includes first measuring the length, width, and arm length of the garment. Make sure you note those measurements, then wash the garment. After washing, place it on a clean towel. View its size – if it’s not the same size as it was before, stretch it out it’s original size. Then let it dry on its own. This will preserve your knits’ original shape and form.
SB: What are the best laundry products in your opinion, and why?
CL&C: Regarding laundry detergents, Oxi Clean is my favorite, but you need to use the product right. You need to soak the garments, mixed in hot water. It works best with light colors, especially white’s. On white’s you’ll see whiter, crisper pieces, almost like new. And on the lighter pieces, they’ll come out brighter looking and fresh.
SB: Once a white piece of clothing has yellowed or become dingy, can it be saved? If so, how?
CL&C: Yes, that’s exactly when Oxi Clean comes in handy. Certain white’s work best with Oxi Clean. Another alternative is soaking, using hot water and small amount of bleach, for a short period of time – no more than 10 minutes, and then washing it again.
SB: How does one prevent white clothes from becoming dingy in the first place?
– washing only in whites, not including any other color in the load
– everyone’s body is different but avoiding certain deodorants that react to your body’s chemistry, causing yellowing under your arms (usually the client will know what deodorant’s work best for him/her)
– avoid leaving perfume on your garment for a long period of time – as soon as you can, wash pieces with perfume/cologne on it
SB Note: Here are some tips from Into The Gloss on finding a deodorant that won’t stain clothes
SB: What fabrics hold up best to washing?
SB: Can water spots ever be removed from silk?
CL&C: Sometimes! It will sometimes come out in dry cleaning, but for the most part, silk garments have to go through a process called wet cleaning for the water stain to come out.
SB: How do you clean mixed-media pieces like a leather jacket with knit panels?
CL&C: Anything with leather, suede, or fur, needs to go to a specialty cleaners, called leather houses, which specialize in exotic materials. Their cleaning processes are geared for such mixed-media pieces. They have different ways of doing it. One of the ways is C02 – a very scientific way of using extremely cold temperatures to remove stains on exotic fabrics.
SB: What do you wish more people would do when it comes to clothing care?
CL&C: The number one thing I’d say is for people to not try to clean it themselves, and bring questionable garments (damaged/hard to clean) to a professional. Most of the time, I see many clients that have tried to clean pieces themselves, by putting chemicals/products on stains, making it even more difficult to repair/remove than it naturally would’ve been. Or when they try to remove the stain by scrubbing it, which in turn damages the fabrics, lightening the material’s pigment and leaving it completely damaged.
SB: What’s your top laundry tip?
CL&C: Always remember every garment has a life, don’t expect more of the piece than it has to give. And when buying clothing, look at its cleaning instructions to be aware in advance of what the piece requires. This will help in your decision-making process, especially because every garment is an investment.