If your clothing budget is only getting tighter this season, you might need to increase the “shelf life” of your basics for just one more round. Reusing and recycling some of those old cardigans, sweaters, and blouses from previous seasons means you can spend less on new clothes, and you can freshen up your key pieces by mending holes and cleaning up any rough spots – without a trip to the tailor or dry-cleaner. Here are some simple tips on mending and fixing those old clothes so they can look as good as new:
1. GET RID OF UNDERARM DISCOLORATIONS ON WHITE SHIRTS
This is a tricky one to manage, and you may already have a stack of “unwearable” white shirts because of these ugly stains! Still, there is an easy way to get rid of these marks – just soak the shirts in detergent for 1-2 hours before popping them in the washing machine with non-chlorine bleach. The powerful cleaning agents will leave your shirts looking as good as new!
2. STRETCH OUT SHRUNKEN SWEATERS
Only a few sweaters can be saved after they’ve been dried and shrunken to oblivion, but there is a way to revive some wool and cotton blends. Soak the sweater in cool water and wring out the excess; lay it out flat to dry, and stretch it as much as you can with a hanger and your fingers. You’ll want to be careful not to ruin the fibers, but you may get lucky with increasing the elasticity of the sweater as it dries. This also works well for sweater vests and other clothing with a wool blend.
3. CLEAN UP SWEATERS AND CARDIGANS
Freshen up those old sweaters and cardigans by running a lint roller or small piece of Velcro across them. This will pick up any extra lint and “fuzzies” with ease, and leave you with a super-soft top to carry you through just one more season!
4. FIX SWEATER PULLS WITH 1 STITCH
Take a large sewing needle and thread the pulled thread through to the other side of the sweater. Tie this into a tight knot, and you’ll be all set to go.
5. REMOVE DIRT STAINS FROM LINEN
Linen shirts, shorts and pants can be difficult to keep clean, but all you need is a powerful spray scrubber and sponge to wipe away the stain before throwing it in the wash. Just make sure you let the stain remover soak in for at least 20 minutes, and it should disappear after just one or two cycles.
6. SODA OR TEA STAINS ON YOUR FAVORITE WHITE SILKS
When you find yourself with white silk scarves or shirts with a noticeable drink stain, don’t run off to the dry-cleaner just yet! Most dry-cleaners can charge anywhere from $10-$15 for the service, but you can save the money and manage the cleaning yourself with a few simple strategies. First, soak only the stained area in bleach and a drop of detergent for about 30-40 minutes, and then let it dry out. Colored silks may not fare so well, so you may need to leave these in the hands of a professional.
Tailoring and dry-cleaning costs can add to your clothing budget in no time flat, but damaged clothing doesn’t need to disappear from your weekly lineup when you have a clothing revival strategy by your side. Learn how to take care of all your clothes and specialty fabrics with any of these simple tactics, and s-t-r-e-t-c-h those clothes out for just one more season!
Article Written By: Sabah Karimi; Sabah is a busy writer from Orlanda, Fla., who is passionate about writing on health and fitness, beauty, fashion and style tips, spa and travel topics. She now uses her expertise as a freelance writer to contribute to both DivaVillage.com and VillageMAMA.com.