Life & Beauty Weekly: Life & Love

By Elizabeth Brownfield for Life & Beauty Weekly

That perfectly fitting pair of jeans, a gorgeous new sweater, a crisp white T-shirt — whether you spent $10 or $100, your favourite wardrobe pieces have the power to make you feel like a million dollars. So why not protect your investment? These clothing care strategies will keep your wardrobe’s MVPs in great shape for a long time to come.

1. Keep jeans looking new.
Jeans see more wear and tear than most other items in your wardrobe. To avoid the too-worn look, wash your jeans inside out on the delicate cycle and remove them from the dryer when they’re still slightly damp. (Intense heat can break down denim fibres.) “Most jeans today have a high spandex content”, says Jessica Biffi, fashion designer and runner-up on season two of Project Runway Canada. “The longer spandex is exposed to the heat of the dryer, the more of a chance it will be damaged, losing its recovery and shape”.

2. Remove stains from a T-shirt.
One mishap needn’t relegate your tee to the bottom of the drawer. “The longer a stain has to set, the harder it is to get out”, says Biffi.

For water-based stains — coffee, red wine, perspiration — fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and laundry detergent, plus a few drops of vinegar and spritz the area ASAP. Then gently scrub with a soft-bristle toothbrush. Wash the shirt as normal, but avoid the dryer. Heat can permanently “bake in” a stain. If the stain remains, soak the entire shirt in warm water and colour-safe or oxygen-based bleach for an hour, then wash it again.

Oil-based stains — butter, salad dressing, lipstick — are more stubborn. Pre-treat with a solution of one part glycerin, one part lemon liquid dish detergent and eight parts water; the citrus detergent has a grease-cutting effect on oil-based stains, says Biffi. But you may have more luck with dry cleaning. Just tell the staff what caused the stain so they can treat it accordingly.

3. Stop sweaters from pilling.
“Sweaters pill when the fibres run together, like under the arms or at the sides of the body”, says Biffi. While some of it is unavoidable (you can’t exactly stop swinging your arms!), try to minimize friction when you can. Keep elbows off surfaces and alternate the side on which you carry your purse. To remove fuzz balls, shave your sweater with a new, disposable razor. It’s easy and gives you more control than electric lint removers and de-pillers, so there’s less risk of a snag or other damage. Just use a light touch and be careful not to slice into the garment.

4. Prevent fabrics from fading.
“Fabrics fade from over-washing, over-drying and too much sunlight exposure”, says Biffi. “To keep colours from fading, look for colour-saving detergents. Also try to avoid the dryer with vivid colours”. Run shorter, 20-minute wash cycles and use the delicate wash and medium-heat dryer settings. Other tips: Wash in cold water and turn clothes inside out first.

5. Maintain a bathing suit’s shape.
Wearing a swimsuit can be daunting enough without feeling self-conscious over a saggy bottom or stretched-out straps. To maintain the fit, wash or rinse the suit ASAP after getting out of the water — chlorine and saltwater break down stretchy fabrics. When you’re ready, wash the suit by hand in cold water with a few drops of detergent. If you must machine wash, do so on the delicate cycle and put the suit in a mesh bag for protection, then lay it flat to dry.

Elizabeth Brownfield has been on the editorial staffs of Metropolitan Home, Domino, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, and Every Day with Rachael Ray. She is also a writer for and 
is a frequent contributor to
Life & Beauty Weekly.

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