Men’s clothing care: how to wash, iron, store?
From weekend sports pants to a tailor’s suit for special occasions, men’s clothes should always be clean. Whether it’s old or new, faded, frayed, worn out, torn, repaired or already repaired more than once, it should still always be laundered. The question is, how best to accomplish all this? What about ironing? It’s tempting to turn the whole job over to a dry cleaner or professional laundry for fear of making a mistake yourself. Nevertheless, clothes washed at home will last longer than those subjected to the harsh industrial processes used by most dry cleaners, and some men even enjoy the rituals of grooming their clothes.
A bit of nervousness around this topic is natural, but it shouldn’t distract you. That’s why we’ve come up with this in-depth guide to make clothes care easier and simpler for you.
Washing your clothes
Ironing your clothes
10 important rules
Keeping drawers tidy
Using wire hangers
Don’t overfill your closet.
Hang pants upside down
Use shoe spacers
Keep shoes away from cashmere
Fix things or get rid of them
Stick to the one-year rule
You will need the following:
– Three laundry bags, baskets with or without a lid;
– One washer with a wool or hand wash cycle;
– At least one dryer;
– One ironing board, the bigger the better;
– One steam iron;
– A laundry bag;
– Detergent for regular clothes;
– Detergent for delicate clothing;
– Antibacterial detergent;
– Good quality hangers;
– Shoe cleaning kit;
– Shoe spacer.
Although many garments have wash tags that say dry cleaning is required, most items of clothing can be washed at home, even if they are made of fine fabrics such as cashmere and silk. However, it’s always a good idea to check the tag before throwing something in the washing machine – custom-made clothes should be dry-cleaned.
Start by carefully sorting your dirty clothes into three categories: white, colored and delicate. Always wash clothes in these categories separately. Make sure everyone who fills the washer understands the importance of adhering to these categories. Further separating colors is helpful for new clothes that haven’t been washed yet-the indigo dye leaches out of blue clothes the first few washes, so don’t mix pink shirts with blue jeans.
After each wash, make sure the washer is empty. Bitter experience tells me that one forgotten yellow rag can ruin an entire load of white clothes.
Keep in mind that a cool wash protects clothes from shrinkage and is good for the environment, but not hot enough to kill the bacteria that can live in dirty clothes. Consider using Napisan, a detergent that uses oxygen to kill bacteria to make sure your clean clothes are free of any odors.
Wool clothes can be washed at home with a special detergent as long as the wool wash cycle is set, which takes less time and is softer than a regular wash. The spin cycle may still stretch the clothes, but this can be avoided by using a special wash bag. The same wool wash cycle is appropriate for cashmere and silk garments and is necessary for socks with a high wool content.
Since wet wool garments are prone to stretching, they need to be dried. Place a clean towel on top of the drying rack and distribute the weight of the garment over the towel, gently supporting your hands so that the garment is not stretched. Gentle shaping is possible when the wool is wet; the sleeves should often be extended and the waistbands stretched.
Don’t use a dryer for your clothes. It will probably shorten and damage the garment. The lint that collects inside the dryer is the fabric separated from the garment when it is dry. If you’re so impatient, want your clothes to dry quickly, and feel you need a dryer, we recommend you make some additions to your closet.
Ironing your clothes
Men’s approach to ironing says a lot about it. Some take an almost political stance against the process, others take a functional view and iron only the front of their shirts because it is the part visible under the jacket, while others will insist that the creases must be completely eliminated from all shirts, pajamas, underwear and pocket handkerchiefs before they can be worn.
The best time to iron is when the clothes are still wet from washing. If you need to buy a few hours (say, between leaving for work in the morning and heading home at night), roll up your damp clothes to slow down the drying process.
If the shirt is dry, you’ll need to spray it with water and use a steam iron if you want to remove any creases.
Jeans never need ironing, and if you’re going somewhere where you think you need ironed jeans, then pick something better to wear instead.
When ironing shirts, iron the collar from the outer edges first, then the cuffs, the yoke (the section of fabric at the top of the back), the back, the front, and finally the sleeves. If you live in a place where the water is hard, use filtered water in your iron or it will leave a buildup on your shirt.
Hang your shirts after they’ve been ironed so they can dry completely.
Storing your clothes
All clothing benefits from careful storage. In doing so, one should avoid moths, stretches, creases, and distortions in the shape of one’s clothes in one’s closet.
Clothes tailored by a tailor should be hung on supportive hangers of the right size; a jacket hung on a wire hanger will lose its shape over time. Keep in mind that one only needs to buy decent hangers once in a lifetime.
Pants tailored by a tailor should be kept on hangers. Stack them by the folds in the pants, not the seams.
If you don’t wear your custom-made clothes regularly, they should be cleaned, then stored in breathable but baggy bags.
Custom coats should be stored on hangers, not on dangling pins, to keep the shoulders in shape.
Knitwear should be stored folded, and clean sweaters are best kept separate from anything worn and protected by a distribution of pouches and moth balls. When sweaters are put away for the season, store them in breathable but baggy bags.
Shirts are best stored on hangers, as folding them only makes creases.
Ties should be rolled up for a day or two immediately after they have been worn, but then they should be folded once or twice.
Leather shoes should be stored with a shoe spacer to keep them in shape, best dried at least one day after you have worn them. Shoes should be well polished at all times. Any visible dirt should be cleaned at the first available opportunity. Sneakers also need careful care and storage.
Regardless of the size of your closet, consider changing twice a year. This should include thoroughly cleaning out all of the previous season’s clothing and selecting seasonal items of clothing you haven’t worn. Place clean clothes in moth-proof bags and store them in a dry place. Consider a clothing storage service (yes, such places exist) if you’re concerned about conditions in your apartment – humidity is often a problem and should be avoided.
- Fold shirts like a pro
What the…? What kind of witchcraft is this? There is no simple, short explanation of how to do this neat origami t-shirt trick. Any attempt to do it sounds a lot more complicated than it really is. But let’s at least try it.
You need to clasp point A in the center of the t-shirt with one hand and point B with your other hand. Then you fold point B into point C. The next part is a complicated trick. Pull your hand at point A outward and underhand at point C until the t-shirt is naturally in a rectangular shape with one hand down.
Then you just flip it over and fold it once to put the sleeve in, resulting in a perfectly rectangular T-shirt in a fraction of the time. This method is a quick, nice and easy way to change the way you fold t-shirts and shirts forever. It will also help a lot when packing/unpacking.
- Tidy up your drawers
Japan seems to set the gold standard for neat closet. Marie Kondo has literally written a book about it. Her best-selling book, The Life-Change Magic Of Tidying, is a bit wordy, but the book will revolutionize the way you organize your drawers. Instead of stacking things flat in your drawer, stack them next to each other so you get a panoramic view of the contents, rather than digging through your stuff to get to the top layer.
This method works for almost everything from boxer shorts to T-shirts (once you’ve rolled them up first, as above) to knits. Instead of squeezing your socks together in a pair evenly, fold them in half, and then lay them down as in the photo. It takes a little getting used to, but it’s a great way to keep things neat.
- Know when to use wire hangers
Cheap wire hangers used in dry cleaners take up much less space on the rails than short wooden ones, and they’re great for ironed shirts. However, felt hangers are an upgrade because clothes are less likely to slip away-the wire has less traction. For neatness and easy access to the rail, keep all your hangers the same – throw out any that don’t fit – and hang all things in the same direction.
Never hang a structured jacket on a wire hanger – it’s the quickest way to ruin your shoulder structure. This is where you need a hanger, whether it’s plastic or wood, that has a specific shape. Yes, these hangers take up more space, but they will help maintain the structure of the tailoring. Keep suits you rarely wear in suit bags or in cellophane bags from the dry cleaner so they don’t get dusty.
- Don’t overfill your closet
You should place a finger, if not two, between each item of clothing in your closet so that you can easily fold things along the rail to get out the item you want. Stack seasonal items in empty suitcases or in airtight storage boxes under the bed. This closet rotation should make it easier to overcrowd your wardrobe.
- Hang your pants upside down
Most people hang their pants on hangers, distributing their weight evenly so that the pants don’t slip off the rung. But by using this simple folding technique with Savile Row, you can reduce creasing by hanging the weight of the waistband on the bottom.
First, hold the pants so that they either hang along their folds or along the seam, as desired. Then grab them by the hem on either side of the hanger. Fold one pant over the rung on the outside. Then fold the other over it. You’ll find it much easier if you use a felt hanger or a wooden hanger that has a knurled handle for the pants to prevent them from slipping.
- Stack your knits
When you want to put your knits on a rack, you’d better not, because they will quickly lose their shape under their own weight. They should return to their proper shape after washing according to the care instructions on the label. Then stack your knits either in a drawer or put them on shelves.
- Use shoe spacers
Every pair of shoes should have an appropriate pair of shoe spacers to help the leather retain its shape. At the very least, you should use shoe spacers within 48 hours of wearing them to keep the leather supple as it dries. If shoe spacers are made from cedar, they can help absorb any lingering moisture and odor from your feet. However, there is no need to put spacers in sneakers and casual shoes.
- Keep your shoes away from cashmere
There are few things more annoying when you get dressed and reach for your favorite cashmere sweater, only to find moths falling off it. Little bastards. Moth balls do help, but they have an unpleasant chemical odor, the more it lingers-not too good.
Cedar balls or cubes are much more fragrant, but less effective. Lightly rub them on top periodically to revive their effectiveness. You can lessen the problem by storing your shoes in a different place from your cashmere clothes. Moths are attracted to the caustic smell of feet. They come for the cashmere.
- Fix the problem or get rid of the thing
Missing button? An annoying stain? A small hole? An unfinished hem? Then take your clothes to a professional dry cleaner or visit a tailor and get them fixed. You should be able to wear everything in your closet. Otherwise, why are you keeping it?
- Stick to the one-year rule
Stop hoarding a lot of stuff. Many people with limited clothing storage space use the switcheroo technique in the spring and fall as the seasons change. This is the perfect time to put things in order.
Pull out each item one at a time and ask yourself: “Did I wear this last year?” If “yes,” toss it into the “Yes” pile of clothes on your bed. If no, it goes in the “No” pile, straight to the black bag to go to the thrift store. However, if the answer is no because you forgot you had some item, then you can put it in the “Maybe” pile.
Part of the joy of this exercise is rediscovering some lost items. If there are items you really can’t completely part with, they can also go in the “Possible” pile. But you need to be ruthless. If it doesn’t fit, get rid of it. You might think you’ll miss them, but trust me-you won’t.