How to Care for Everything in Your Closet


Guest blog by Kacey Mya, the blogger behind The Drifter Collective

Whether you hate shopping or you’re already on your way to the mall, you probably spend a decent chunk of money buying clothes. In 2012, the average American family spent $1,736 on apparel like shirts, pants, shoes and much more.

An investment that significant deserves care. Learn how to take care of your clothing so you can extend their use and save money.


Until the early 1970s, all jeans were made of raw denim, which you shouldn’t wash for at least six months. It takes time for the material to break in and properly conform to your body. If you wash too soon, you’ll lose the shape.

Today, most jeans are pre-washed, meaning they can handle more wear and tear. But you still shouldn’t wash after each use. When washing is necessary, turn the jeans inside out and choose a delicate cycle. While machine drying is not ideal, if you must, use the lowest temperature setting.


When you finish swimming or lounging in the sun, you should rinse your swimsuit with clean, cool water to remove any dirt or sweat. Like most clothing, you don’t have to wash swimwear after each use.

Though we’ve all been guilty, you shouldn’t put your bathing suit out in the sun to dry. Doing so causes the fabric to wear down and fade. If possible, dry your suit indoors or in the shade. A couple of times a year, like at the end of summer, you should wash your swimsuit by hand in the sink, using about a teaspoon of detergent.

Formal Wear

Formal wear is delicate, and you should only wash it when needed, not after each use. Dry cleaning, which presses 500 degrees of heat on the garment, can cause even the best suits to lose shape and break down, especially over repeated visits.

When they are not in use, always hang your suits on a sturdy, wooden hanger. Leaving them lying around leads to excessive wrinkling. You should also keep the jacket and pants together, even when hanging, to ensure they receive the same amount of wear and continue to match.


Materials used to make lingerie — like silk, which comes from silkworm cocoons — is thin and gauzy, and can suffer damage when tossed in the washing machine. Always hand-wash with a small amount of detergent, being sure to separate lights and darks to prevent bleeding, especially with hand-dyed garments. Avoid the dryer and lay each item flat on a towel to dry.

For bras and camisoles, keep them folded in drawers to help maintain shape and cup size. You should also rotate your bras, as they need 24 hours after wear to regain their shape.


If you like to work out, even if it’s just a walk around the block, sprinkle a few teaspoons of baking soda in each shoe to absorb odors and moisture. Regular exercisers should replace athletic shoes at least every six months.

If the fabric of your shoes gets dirty and needs cleaning, mix a small amount of detergent with warm water, creating a heavily diluted solution. Use a soft towel to blot at the stains, removing as much dirt and detergent as possible. If necessary, you can also take out the laces and massage them with soap before rinsing them and placing them flat to dry.


When washing blankets, be careful not to overuse detergent, which can cause residue to stick in the fibers, preventing it from fluffing up. If your blanket is extra dirty, stop the machine mid-wash and let it soak for an hour or so. To ensure all the soap gets rinsed out, run the blanket through a second wash cycle with just water.

With blankets, drying is a slow process because you can’t crank up the heat. High temperatures cause wear and tear, especially to blankets filled with down. Use low heat and, if your items are still damp after one cycle, turn the timer on again for another round.

How to Take Care of Your Clothing

Your clothing won’t last forever. In order to keep your clothing fresh and wrinkle-free, check out this guide from the unclutterer on the best clothes steamers that are known for removing bacteria, odors, and creases from clothing. After years of use, shirts fade, pants get stained and fabric rips. But you can get the most out of your clothes — and your budget — by caring for them properly. Follow the instructions above to learn how to care for each item in your closet.

Subscribe to the Organize-It blog for more organization tips and tricks. Learn more at