An essential place to start.
First of all, never hang your knits. We hang them in the store, but at night we lay them all flat. A knit can grow inches with gravity, so take care not to let that happen!
Most knits are hand washable, or, if you have a washing machine with a woolen/hand wash setting, that is appropriate. We prefer cold water on our knits, and lay them flat to dry, preferably on a towel. You want to lay it in a good shape so that it dries in exactly the same shape as you bought it.
In out of season times, if you rotate your closet, we recommend storing each knit in a large ziploc bag, lest any pesky critters get at it. You can also take care to prevent moths by putting your knits in the dryer on high heat. Just make sure they are bone-dry first!
The hardworking t-shirt merits similar treatment to your knits. Washing in cold water and drying on permanent press to avoid wrinkles, or hang to dry is always an option. Try Oxiclean for white t-shirts to keep them extra white.
We recommend folding your t-shirts to keep them fluffy, but not too many times to avoid creasing. T-shirts are also susceptible to gravity, so no hangers!
A good shirt will last you years, given the right care.
If you spot a stain on the collar, wash it immediately. The longer you take to treat a stain, the harder it is to remove. You can let it dry on a hanger before putting it away or washing the whole shirt.
Wash a shirt in cool water, and always hang to dry. The best is to use hangers to dry shirts, preferably thick rounded wooden ones. Then, iron in order: collar, cuffs, then the rest of the shirt.
If you need you shirt to stay perfect while travelling, using collar stays and cardboard is the best bet. This will keep the collar from getting smushed in your suitcase.
These are some hard-working garments! Most experts recommend washing your delicates by hand, and never ever putting them in the dryer, because the elastic will bag out. It won’t last forever - such is the nature of elastic - but you can do your best to maintain it.
For intimates, wash with like colours and place in a basin filled with cool water and a gentle detergent, or shampoo if you’re in dire straits. Swirl the laundry a few times over an hour, and then gently squeeze out the water and hang to dry.
For swim, always rinse after wear. Exposure to seawater, chlorine and sun make these garments particularly susceptible to deterioration. No baggy suits here!
It should go without saying, but always separate and wash with like colours. Choose the ideal temperature for what you are washing. Most clothing can handle a fairly warm temperature, but we like using cold water just in case, and as a bonus it’s better for the environment.
One tidbit we’ve picked up over the years is that it’s better for your clothes if the machine is quite full; this prevents pilling by keeping them from scraping against the barrel of the machine excessively.
Always read the care label before tossing anything into the machine. Some fabrics have delicate coatings which will wear off in the machine. If you’re unsure, the dry cleaner is always the best bet.
By and large, your dry cleaner is going to be able to handle the most stubborn stains, and if you are unsure, it’s best to take it to them before you try to treat it yourself.
However, try this:
- Wet a cloth with cold water (paper towels shed too much)
- Add a drop of dish detergent to the cloth, preferably citrus-scented. (Sunlight is ideal)
- Place another cloth behind the stain if possible.
- Press on the stain, over and over, to lift it out. Try not to rub in case it damages the fabric.
- Either wash immediately, or let the stain sit overnight in water before washing.
Treat different stains in the following manner, washing as usual after treating the stain.
Blood or ink: Set a cloth under the stain, and re-wet using ice cold water. Using a Q-tip or a small towel soaked in cleaning solution (5oz water, 1oz ammonia, 1oz peroxide, 1oz colour safe detergent) lightly tap the stain, pushing it into the cloth below.
Dirt: Remove large chunks of mud carefully, and place the garment in lukewarm water, moving it around to loosen as much dirt as possible. Apply detergent to the stain and soak for half an hour. Rinse with cold water.
Tomato: With a butter knife or spoon, carefully remove excess tomato sauce. Dab detergent onto the stain, and rinse from the underside of the garment to push the stain out instead of further into the garment.
Coffee: Soak the stain in cold water, the apply a mild cleaning solution (6oz water, 2oz colour safe detergent) until the stain lifts out. If that fails, try a tougher solution (2oz water, 2oz colour safe bleach).
Oil: Set the garment on a clean cloth, and apply a patch of cornstarch on either side of the stain. The cornstarch will draw the oil out of the garment, so be sure to use enough. Follow with regular washing.
Leather goods require a certain amount of care to be kept at their best. We recommend keeping them stuffed while in storage, with room to breathe around them. The leather will keep better somewhere dry, cool and dark, but not too dry so that the leather doesn’t dry out and crack.
For general maintenance and care, take them to a trusted leather repair shop, or use a conditioning cream found at the drugstore.
Our shoes take a beating every day, so give them some love back.
Essential in keeping the shape of your shoes: shoe horns. Jamming your foot into your shoes will crush the backs. Also a good idea: not tossing them into a pile. For more formal shoes, investing in cedar shoe trees will keep them fresh and in shape.
Since we live in a damp climate, we recommend that all of your leather-soled shoes be taken immediately after purchase to have Topys applied. This will do immense good in keeping your shoes in excellent condition.
If your shoes do get soaked, let them dry out completely, but naturally. Try to avoid the heating them while drying. If they are damp from rain or snow, it’s a good idea to rinse them before allowing them to dry out to avoid white staining.
For leather shoes, using a conditioning cream will maintain the quality and softness of the leather. To apply, wrap a soft cloth around your index finger and dab in the crea. Apply to the shoe using small, circular motions (avoid sweeping it across the shoe). Leave the cream on for 15 minutes and then brush off any excess with a soft brush. It’s best to do this once or twice a year, especially after the winter months.
If you see that the tip of the soles of your shoes are worn down, it is possible to get only the tips replace. This saves you from having the hole sole replaced.
Giving your shoes a rest will help keep them in premium condition. Rotate through different shoes instead of wearing a single pair for many days consecutively.