Garment Care Tips For Lani

Garment Care Label Symbols Decoded

Don't despair! They're not as mysterious as they may seem!

After sending over some questions from my clients to styling and organization consultant extraordinaire Lani Inlander, Lani had a few garment care questions of her own. They’re very timely as we head into summer, so I thought I’d post them up for all to see.

1.How do I keep my summery whites white? Sometimes they yellow.

It can be a challenge to keep whites white – especially on delicate summer clothing. There’s no foolproof method to care for whites (and depending on the manufacturing process, some garments will yellow no matter what) but there are some simple steps to improve your odds:

–Wash whites with only other whites, on the highest temperature setting you can
–For clothing in generally clean and bright condition, toss in a capful of hydrogen peroxide with the load
–For clothing in dingy condition, use bleach containing Sodium Perborate

2. How do I know what those weird icons mean on the care instruction tag?

This is an easy one – we’ve decoded the garment care hieroglyphs here.

3. What is the best way to care for wool and cashmere sweaters?

Short answer: hand wash. Some wool and wool blend sweaters can be machine-washed and lay flat to dry. Consult the care label, and proceed with caution, using a gentle cycle and cold water. When washing a sweater at home for the first time, I like to measure its dimensions armpit-to-armpit and collar-to-base, just to ensure there has been no shrinking. If the sweater does shrink a touch, don’t despair! Soak it thoroughly and block it back to the old size by allowing it to dry while slightly stretched.

Cashmere and garments with substantial cashmere blends should only be washed by hand. I like to use a solution of tepid water and just a hint of baby shampoo.

4. I’ve heard that you shouldn’t touch a stain before you bring it to the dry cleaner. But what if I can’t get there for a few days and I get olive oil or balsamic vinegar on my shirt at lunch?

Yes, this is good advice. One of our pet peeves is cleaning a garment which has been made worse by a botched stain removal attempt! If it’s just a couple days, however, you don’t need to do anything. Blot the stain at the scene of the crime to sop up any excess from the spill and bring it in as soon as you get the chance.

5. Does grease from the taxi door ever come out? Should I even bother bringing it in to you?

Yes, grease from taxi or other car doors will absolutely come out. This is a tricky stain to handle at home since the grease is a lubricant that does not break down in water. Immersion dry cleaning, however, is safe for most garments and will easily remove oil-based stains.

6. How do you clean a garment that has just a little bit of leather on it?

Very carefully! It’s safest to have this garment dry cleaned to prevent shrinkage of the leather. Depending on what colors and dyes are present in the garment (for instance, a white sweater with black leather trim would be very hazardous) it may be necessary to spot clean the garment to prevent the dye in the leather from becoming soluble and transferring into the textile.

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