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· Fashion Notes: Clothing Care I

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Fashion Notes: Clothing Care I
by Dorothy

I've been mulling over clothing care for a little while now; it's not something one sees much of in fashion magazines, but it's necessary to know about it, unless you have the money to get everything dry cleaned and are busy or profligate enough to do so. I'm still figuring it out myself, since I seem to keep buying clothes too delicate to be thrown in the machine.

I use liquid detergent for machine washing; it's more expensive, but there's no risk of it failing to dissolve and winding up in a lump in one of your socks. (I also use regular detergent for light clothes and "for darks" detergent for dark clothes, which may just indicate that I'm a fool for marketing.) I'd suggest a brand, except that I haven't noticed major differences between the big brands and tend to just buy whatever's on sale at Loblaws. I almost invariably wash clothes on the cold cycle and use less detergent per wash than it says on the package directions -- partly for economy and partly out of plain old liberal guilt.

PhotobucketBeing the clumsy type, I spill things on myself with some regularity. Liquid detergent can double as a stain treatment, but I've yet to find an all-purpose stain remover better than Cadie's Laundry Stick (about $3). This can be a bit of a pain to find sometimes; I thought it had been discontinued until I saw a display of laundry sticks in a supermarket in Fredericton, New Brunswick (I promptly bought about five). You're supposed to test stain removers on a "discreet" part of your garment before you use them. I am far too lazy to do this and have never suffered for it, but do it if you're concerned.

I hand-wash almost all my tops, save for loungewear and the odd T-shirt. It's a good way to cut back on both machine-washing (rough) and dry-cleaning (expensive). Some items marked "dry clean only" really are dry clean only (suits, coats, anything lined, really), but others, particularly knits and blouses, do fine when hand-washed in cool water. In my experience, "dry clean only" often means something like "don't put this in the washing machine, seriously, I mean it."


My favourite soap for hand-washing is Soak; it's quite gentle, reasonably priced, comes in pleasant scents that don't linger after your clothes have dried (I especially like Aquae and Sola; there's also an unscented version), and doesn't have to be rinsed out. Again, I find that I can use less of it per wash than the directions indicate. A large bottle ($16) lasts me about a year. It's available in knitting shops, but it can also be ordered online. There's a list of retailers on the Soak website. (I don't recommend ordering from Soak directly; they take forever to ship.)

stenic drying rack

I use cheap drying racks from Zellers (basically a Canadian Wal-Mart/Target), but they tend to warp. If I weren't constantly moving for school, I might invest in one of these collapsible drying racks from Stenic ($129.99). For very delicate items, a mesh sweater dryer is also nice.

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8/20/2008 [3]

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