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Ask Dr. Laundry

Refreshing Your Spring Wardrobe

By Dr. Laundry April 16, 2009

As temperatures rise, there’s no better time to unearth all your favorite spring and summer fashions that have been hibernating in the back of your closet. But first, you need to make room by cleaning and storing what’s already in there! Here are several tips for getting your clothing in shape for the warmer months ahead:

  1. The Great Divide. Begin by sorting garments into separate piles: those for fall/winter, and those for spring/summer. Also, take the opportunity to decide which items can be folded, and which need to be put away on hangers. Delicate items such as pressed shirts, linen and rayon garments, and 100 percent cotton blouses and dresses, should always be hung. To avoid stretching and puckering at the shoulders, invest in some quality wooden hangers and avoid the wire variety. Placing felt between the clips on skirt/pant hangers will prevent marking, as well.
  2. To Donate or Not to Donate. If you didn’t wear the garment last year, chances are you’re not going to wear it this season. Let someone else enjoy it by donating it to a local homeless shelter. Clothing swaps are also a growing trend. Check with friends to see if they would be interested in trading their unwanted clothing for “new” items.
  3. Store It Right. When storing your fall/winter items, try to avoid problems related to stains, insects and moisture. First, make sure garments have been cleaned or dry cleaned. Place in well-sealed plastic storage containers or, if none are available, sealed plastic bags can work just as well. Store in a cool, well-ventilated location like an interior closet away from heat and light. Also, consider using cedar hangers or blocks to naturally repel pests.
  4. Got Stains? Spring calls for fresh, clean clothes — and the cleanest whites call for Clorox® Regular-Bleach1. At the beginning of winter, you may have tossed items into the back of your closet without checking thoroughly for stains. If you find a stain, conduct a simple “bleachability” test to see if its colorfast.

Bleachability Test:

  1. Dilute 2 teaspoons Clorox® Regular-Bleach1 in 1/4 cup water.
  2. Apply a drop on a hidden colored area like inside seam, hemline or cuff.
  3. Wait 1 minute and then blot with towel.
  4. No color change means it is safe to use bleach on the item.

Even if the garment’s care label warns against using bleach, try conducting the test first — many clothing manufacturers under-label their clothing in order to avoid legal issues and a number of colored items can safely be bleached. If the item can be bleached, simply wash it in the warmest water recommended on the care label, with detergent and ¾ cup of Clorox® Regular-Bleach1.

Remember: Detergent alone is simply not enough to truly clean your whites, and in fact it can leave behind stains, dirt and unseen “body soil” made up of body oils, dead skin flakes and sweat. Yuck! Bleach is the only laundry product that cleans, whitens and disinfects clothing. Adding it to your laundry will remove more of this gunk than detergent alone, plus it gets rid of odor-causing germs.

As you can see, bleach is a must-have for getting spring and summer clothing ready for the season, and keeping your winter and fall clothes in the best shape possible for another year’s use.

Hope these tips are helpful! And as always, feel free to write if you’ve got any other questions.

Dr. Laundry