Garment Care and Protection Buying Guide
There are several ways to care for your clothes - you need to know what type of washing and ironing is appropriate from different fabrics. It's also crucial to know how to store your clothes, how to read the garment care labels, and so much more. Keeping these tips in mind not only helps increase the life of your clothes but also helps retain their color and newness.
Why Invest in Garment Care and Garment Protection
There are several reasons why you should pay proper attention to garment protection and garment care tips. Here are a few:
- It increases the life of your clothes
- Proper garment care helps retain their color and feel
- Investing in garment protection teaches you how to care for different fabrics differently - from linens to leather comforters, each fabric needs to be treated differently.
- Garment protection tools protect your clothes from damage and discoloration
- Adequate knowledge about garment care helps you store your clothes in a hygienic and safe manner
- It gives you the right tools to care for your clothes - for eg. mothballs, charcoal bags, clear bags for storage and more.
Types of Garment Protection Products You Should Have
There are a number of useful products available online that will go a long way in your garment protection planning. From charcoal bags to extract moisture to clear bags to help store clothes properly, these items are must-haves if you're serious about garment care:
Cedar discs or blocks are a natural way of keeping pests, moths, and insects away from your clothes. This is because cedarwood contains natural oils that can kill moth larvae. Also, the natural aroma of cedar repels insects.
Charcoal bags extract moisture from your wardrobe and help keep it moisture free and your clothes clean and dry. So, no worrying about mold or germs infesting your clothes.
Clear bags are a good way of storing different types of clothes in an organized manner. You can also use clear bags to store your bed linen and clothes away for the season.
Mothballs are a must-have to keep any pesky moths from growing in your wardrobe.
Iron with multiple settings
A high-quality iron usually comes with different heat settings. This allows you to adjust how much heat you're ironing different fabrics with - whether they're delicate or tough.
Examples include mild detergents and stain removers: Investing in good quality detergents that are gentle on the fabric and color-safe can go a long way in garment care.
Frequently Asked Questions About Garment Care & Protection
1. What do garment care symbols mean?
There are a few garment care symbols that mean different processes. You can see most of these garment care symbols below:
If you see these water bucket symbols on your garment's tag, then these are instructions on how to wash your piece. The symbol of the water bucket with a hand in it means that the clothes are safe only for hand washing, and not machine wash. If you see no hand but only a water bucket, then the cloth is machine washable. The number on the bucket indicates the ideal water temperature that is safe to wash that cloth in. If you see a water bucket with a giant cross on it, it means 'do not wash'.
This symbol below is used to symbolize ironing, and to give ironing instructions. The extreme right symbol, with a giant cross on it, means that the cloth should not be ironed. The symbol with one dot means that you should iron the cloth with low heat. Two dots are used to mean medium heat, and three dots means that the cloth can be ironed at high heat. Sounds simple, isn't it?
Bleaching Symbol Instructions
This triangle below is used to symbolize bleaching. A cloth with a plain white triangle means that it is safe for bleaching. The symbol with vertical lines means that you can only use non-chlorine bleach on that cloth. The triangle which is fully black and/or with a giant cross on it means 'do not bleach'.
The symbols below, a circle within a square, are for drying your clothes. The one on the right with the giant cross on it means 'do not tumble dry'. The one with one dot means tumble drying is okay but with low heat. The one with two dots means you can tumble dry with medium heat.
Dry Cleaning Instructions
If you see a blank circle on your cloth tag, that means that the cloth is safe for dry cleaning. If that circle has a cross on it, then your clothing should not be dry cleaned. The symbol F within a circle means you can get the clothing dry cleaned but only with petroleum. 'P' means you can use any solvent to dry clean your piece except for trichloroethylene. 'W' means you can wet clean your piece.
2. How to take care of embroidery garment?
Embroidered garments are delicate and must be handled with care. This is because of the intricate thread work that can be damaged if one is not careful. Here are some easy garment care steps for embroidered clothes:
- Wash your embroidered clothes only with mild detergents
- Machine wash in cold water and give it a delicate wash cycle
- Remove the cloth quickly after the wash cycle finishes
- Never leave your embroidered garment soaking in water or in a pile when it's wet
- Don't wring out embroidered clothes are it could damage the thread work
- You may dry clean embroidered clothes but with great care, especially when dark colors are involved.
- Always iron embroidered clothes on the reverse side
- If you want to be more careful, then iron it between two pieces of cloth for added garment protection
3. How to care for garment with leather accents?
If you have clothes and materials with leather accents and leather trims - a little bit of care will ensure they stay good as new. First off, make sure you read the garment care symbol on the piece, and follow what it says. it could Whether it's leather-accented denim or a leather comforter, most leather trim clothes are made with garment-washed leather. This means the leather has already been washed when the piece was being made, which means it's safe for a wash.
Even then, do take a look at the trimming after a wash to check for discoloration or spots. Also, never iron the leather trim as it may burn and damage the material.
4. Is dry cleaning better than washing?
Dry cleaning and washing both work to remove stains and dirt from the cloth. However, the manner in which they do this is different, and they're both a good idea for different situations.
- When to use dry cleaning: If you have delicate clothes that are only mildly soiled/stained and don't have a bad odor, then dry cleaning them is a good idea. Pieces that are used occasionally like blazers, evening dresses, and curtains, all are better off when dry cleaned. Since dry cleaning uses non-water cleaning agents and steam drying instead of vigorous washing and drying, this method is a better idea for softer fabrics. Dry cleaning is a gentler process that doesn't wrinkle or shrink your clothes, so using this process for your more expensive, special clothes is a good idea.
- When to wash clothes: For your everyday clothes that you wear often, washing them with water and detergent is a better idea. Everyday clothes get soiled and sweaty, and washing them will get them much cleaner and fresh-smelling than dry cleaning would. Of course, you'd have to iron your clothes once they're washed, unlike in dry cleaning where your clothes come out wrinkle-free.
5. How can I protect my clothes?
By keeping the following garment protection tips in mind, you can ensure that your clothes keep looking and feeling soft and new:
- Always read the garment care label: Every garment is different, and so is the care that it needs. So reading the garment care label is very important. It will give you clear instructions on the ideal way to clean and iron your piece.
- Store your clothes safely: It's important to store your clothes in a way that protects them from damage, dust, and moisture. Clear vinyl bags are a great way to store your clothes and bedsheets away till you need them again.
- Keep them away from moisture: Moisture can encourage the growth of mold, germs and shorten the life of your clothes. Keeping a charcoal bag is a great way to keep your closet dry and free of any moisture and bacteria. Mothballs are also important to keep your wardrobe insect-free.
- Store garments in clear bags: Storing your delicate formal clothes like blazers and dresses in clear bags helps organize them efficiently, as well as protect them from moisture and wear and tear.
- Clean your clothes before storing them: Washing/dry cleaning your clothes fully before storing them away for the season is a must. Any leftover food stains or oil can mean mold and insect damage.
- Use correct wash cycle settings: Make sure to familiarize yourself with your washing machine settings. Most new washing machines come with special settings for delicate clothes. Such settings use milder temperature water and are less vigorous in the washing action than other settings, preventing wear and tear in delicate fabrics.
- Wash dark clothes inside out: This advice is old but gold! Washing your darker clothes and denim inside out prevents fading and retains their vibrancy even after several washes.
- Wash your whites separately: Washing your whites and colored clothes separately is a good way to prevent staining and color to bleed into your whites.
- Wash clothes less, if possible: If possible, try to wash clothes less frequently, of course without compromising on hygiene. Washing involves a lot of vigorous rubbing, stretching, wringing, etc. which can take a toll on the fabric and the color. So, if you feel you can wear that T-shirt one more time before you toss it in the laundry bag, do that.
- Use a clothesline or a drying stand: A clothesline or a drying stand are quite affordable and easy to use. If you have clothes that are marked as 'line-dry only', then tossing them in the dryer is a bad idea.
- Use color-safe detergents: To make sure your colored clothes stay vibrant for a long time, use quality cleaners like color-safe detergents. These detergents specially formulated to help the fabric retain the dyes.
- Use the correct ironing settings: Your iron comes with a whole variety of settings, low heat for delicates, medium for fabrics like cotton, and high for tougher fabrics like wool. It is important to adjust your iron settings according to the fabric you're ironing, to make sure they are only subjected to the heat that they can comfortably withstand.
6. What fabrics should you not use fabric softener on?
While fabric softeners do wonders to keep your clothes soft and gently scented, you can't use them on everything. Avoid using fabric softeners on fabrics such as microfibers, nylons towels, flame-resistant, and water-resistant sportswear. Using fabric softeners on these materials can reduce their absorbency. You should also avoid using fabric softeners on baby clothes since they're mostly made of flame-resistant fabric and softeners may reduce their efficiency.
7. Is fabric conditioner necessary?
Fabric conditioners can helpful for a number of things - from keeping your towels and clothes soft, fluffy and gently scented. However, you may not need to really use them (at least not very often). Fabric conditioners were a good idea back when detergents were harsher. The detergents available these days are much milder and gentler on the clothes. Add to that the various wash settings available on your machine that allow you to decide how vigorously your clothes washed. Keeping these things in mind, a fabric conditioner may not be really necessary anymore.