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Keep your clothes new longer

Published:Friday | October 16, 2015 | 12:00 AM
In rural Jamaica, washing in the river is a popular sight.

While someone can go without food for a day, it's hard to go without clothes.

Due to the harsh economic climate, we have to find ways to maintain our clothes so that they last longer.

Persons who live in rural Jamaica would be familiar with washing days at the river and would have become experts at removing stubborn dirt and stains, especially during cashew, banana, guinep, and mango seasons.

Come with Flair as we educate you on the proper way to care for your clothes.

Even with the proliferation of washing machines and dryers, the safest way to preserve your clothes is to wash by hand. These time-saving devices can also contribute to the early deterioration of your favourite outfits if not used properly.

Before you machine-wash, be sure to read and follow care labels. Failure to follow the care instructions on clothing is the number-one reason an item gets ruined in the wash. These instructions are included by the manufacturer for a reason.

Here are some of the most common wash-dry instructions:

• Machine-wash (cool, warm, or hot).

• Machine-wash (normal, permanent press or delicate).

• Hand-wash: Soak and scrub only by hand. Item is probably too delicate for harsh machine cycles.

• Bleach (any, non-chlorine, or no bleach).

• Tumble dry: Dry in dryer with the setting on the label. Temperature and levels of delicateness should be considered.

• Ironing: Iron according to the instructions. Steam or dry iron, and temperature setting should be considered. Some irons have settings labelled with the material type as well.

• Dry-clean: Some materials are suitable for dry cleaning only, and some should not be dry cleaned.


Hang clothes to dry


If the label says hang dry or drip dry, it is important that this is done. This is very important as drying certain materials in a dryer can affect the fit, hence the instruction. If you are hang-drying your clothes, be careful not to leave them in the sun too long as this can fade the colour.

Hanging clothes to dry helps to prevent shrinking and sometimes, wrinkles.

Clothes worn once need little or no washing at all.

Some garments do not need to be washed after every wear. For example, some persons do not wash their jeans after only one wear.


Act fast


If your clothing gets stained (from food, dirt, fruits, or spills), take action and attend to the stain immediately. In rural Jamaica, people have some great solutions for these mishaps. How many of us remember using lime juice, blue rinse, beating the clothes against a rock by the river, and soaking white clothes with blue soap and laying them out in the sun?


Wear aprons when possible


Protect your clothes when in the kitchen. That's what aprons are for. While cooking, grease and food tend to splash, and the damage they cause can be irreversible. Avoid cooking, cleaning, or washing in outfits that are not considered 'housewear'.


Invest in durable fabrics


When you can, buy fabrics that are naturally durable and require very little care. Some fabrics are more durable than others. A cotton-polyester blend is easier to care for and tends to last longer than pure cotton fabrics. Rayon-polyester is more durable than pure rayon. Acrylics, silk, acetate, and suede require more detailed care or dry-cleaning. Materials that are difficult to care for often get neglected, especially when you are very busy.


Avoid bleaching when possible


Use bleach sparingly. Though many use this to keep their whites sparkling, it is a harsh chemical, so care should be exercised.


Starch as needed


Starch only those garments that come with clear instructions to do so. Avoid starch because the tiny crystals left in the material as a result of starching can wear the garment out quickly.

Effectively caring for your clothes doesn't have to be difficult. Just pay attention to the care instructions, and before long, it will become second nature.