Let’s face it, we all probably spend more than we should updating our wardrobes (it’s just so easy with free returns isn’t it!) and not enough time on looking after the gorgeous clothes, shoes and accessories we already own. Well no more, because we’re going to show you how to get more value from your wardrobe by simply cleaning them correctly! Whether it’s delicate lingerie or chunky knitwear, we’ve teamed up with Currys PC World and Hotpoint to bring you 21 top tips for cleaning EVERYTHING in your wardrobe.
1. Get to know your washing machine. Washing cycles or programs are generally tailored to the fabric of the clothes, adjusting the temperature, spin speed and energy usage accordingly. The basic programs and features to know are:
- Cottons: these cycles are the most rigorous
- Synthetics: a gentler cycle than cotton, for washing polyester and other blends
- Delicates: the perfect cycle for lace, gentler than synthetics
- Wool: a cool cycle that uses lots of water and has a low spin speed
2. Don’t wring out your tops. Some of your favourite Zara tops and dresses are probably made from polyester or viscose blends; to ensure they don’t lose their shape, after washing, hang them up while totally wet so the weight of the item pulls out any bends or creases.
3. Steam velvet to remove creases. Velvet is one of this season’s hottest fabrics - find out why here - but it can be difficult to clean. Made from either cotton, silk or rayon, it’s important to follow label instructions when washing but there’s one thing we do know - folds and creases can flatten the surface, removing the beautiful 3D effect of the fabric, so always steam creases away, never iron.
4. Use your toothbrush on tough stains. Most stains can be removed using traditional spot removing solutions, but when it comes to stains caused by perspiration, you’ll need to get clinical! Pour the spot remover over the stain and lightly scrub with a soft toothbrush in circular motions until it fades away. Et voila!
5. Pop your delicates in a pillowcase. To avoid unnecessary snagging, wash your lingerie in a zipped or buttoned pillowcase in cold water on a delicate cycle. Once clean, lay flat on a towel to dry - never tumble dry them. If you prefer hand washing, save time and water by cleaning your lingerie while in the shower with a touch of mild shampoo.
Image credit: For Love and Lemons Instagram
6. Iron lightweight linens inside out. Linen is a temperamental fabric! Impressively, it’s twice the strength of cotton but wrinkles easily and has zero stretch. So how to clean your favourite linen shirts or trousers? Dry clean or hand wash in lukewarm water, turn inside out and iron when still damp using a press cloth to avoid marks.
7. Machine wash your knits (yes, really!) Say goodbye to hand washing your woolens and look out for Hotpoint washing machines with a Woolmark Platinum Endorsement. Their wool setting uses a combination of gentle drum action and low spin speed to reduce the stress on delicate knitted fibres. Want to know more handy washing machine functions? The industry experts Currys PC World have got it covered - click here to find out more.
8. Cold wash your favourite denim. Most denim is ‘top dyed’, meaning only the outer surface of the fabric is dyed, which is why your favourite jeans end up faded. To help prevent this happening, turn your jeans inside out and wash them in cold water in small batches, ideally no more than 2 pairs together.
9. Break out the shoe polish on your handbag. If you’ve invested in a lovely leather handbag, keep it in good shape by regularly cleaning it with a neutral shoe polish. Simply sweep the polish over the surface in circular motions use a cotton cloth. Want more handbag maintenance advice? Cosmopolitan has 20 top tips to try today, read more here.
10. Always unbutton your shirts. Whether it’s an Oxford shirt, Henley top or silky blouse, always unfasten all the buttons. Why? The strain on the buttonholes from the movement of the wash cycle and weight of the other clothes could cause them to become loose, and nobody wants to ‘pop open’ unexpectedly!
Image credit: Andi Csinger Instagram
11. Colourfast your clothes with salt and vinegar. To wash non-colourfast clothes, you need to make them colourfast first! Simply steep them overnight in a solution of 235ml vinegar, 59ml of salt and 6.7L of cold water, then rinse away and machine wash as normal. Want more washing advice? Laundry experts Surf have a whole host of tips here.
12. Remove tough stains with cool water. You don’t need to scold your favourite clothes to remove stains; Hotpoint washing machines are built with a Direct Injection function that premixes water and detergent, then injects it straight into the wash, resulting in 60% more cleaning cleaning power even at 20°C.
13. Yes you can machine wash your trainers. As long as they’re canvas! First remove the laces, knock off any dirt and spray with stain remover, then line the drum of your washing machine with towels. Put the laces in a zipped mesh bag and place in the drum with your trainers. Use a small amount of detergent, set on a gentle cycle and always air dry when finished. Need to clean leather trainers? Click here to find out how.
14. Always hand wash your silk. Save on your dry cleaning bills by hand washing your silk clothes - it’s actually the best way to ensure they keep their shape and silky texture - and always store them in a dry, dark place to avoid light and moisture damage on this delicate fabric.
15. Use less detergent to keep robes fluffy. Keep your cotton bathrobes and towels fluffy by only using half your regular amount of detergent and giving them an extra rinse cycle in your washing machine; this’ll remove the weight of any leftover detergent.
16. Stop allergies with one simple step. Awarded with the Allergy UK Seal of Approval,Hotpoint washing machines are manufactured with a dedicated Anti-Allergy Cycle that uses high temperatures and extra rinses to neutralise 99.9% of major allergens including dust mites and pet hair (technology is amazing, right?). View the range of Hotpoint washing machines at Currys PC World here.
Image credit: The Coveteur
17. Don’t machine wash leather, full stop! Looking after leather is like having a boyfriend; patience and maintenance are required but it’s worth it in the end. Whether a jacket or pair of boots, before wear treat the leather with Scotchgard fabric protector, always wipe away salt stains (like the grit they lay over icy surfaces) and store in a well-ventilated cupboard to dry.
18. Give your knitwear a rest. To combat wrinkles and shrinkage in your knitwear, immediately after washing put them on a very low drying setting for 5 minutes, then reshape them and lay flat on a towel to dry fully.
19. Stop sunning your swimsuits. It’s common practise when on holiday to leave your swimsuits to dry out in the sun, but it actually causes fading and damage. So how do you clean your swimwear? Rinse it in cool water after every swim, then after a few wears, turn it inside out and pop in warm water with a small cap of detergent. Leave for a few minutes then rinse out and dry flat in the shade. Find out which swimwear suits your shape here.
20. Nix smelly trainers with baking soda. To keep your gym trainers fresh, after every workout sprinkle up to 3 tablespoons of baking soda into each trainer; the active ingredients will soak up excess moisture and odour, leaving them fresh for wear once again.
21. Keep silks stylish with vinegar. Prevent colour loss and keep silk in great condition for longer by adding 3 tablespoons of white vinegar for every 2 litres of water.