I have a confession to make: I just recently learned how to properly care for my clothes. Embarrassing, I know, but after years of “Oops, this shrank,” and “Hmm… Is that a bleach stain?” I essentially gave up on laundering anything more precious than gym clothes. The dry cleaner became my best friend—until I did the math and realized how much I was spending (not a fun discovery).
So out of financial necessity and sheer determination to actually adult, I decided to learn how to properly care for each and every fabric in my closet. With research, some help from Mom, the right LG laundry products, and, admittedly, trial and error, I can finally say I’m capable of caring for all my own clothes. Here’s your definitive guide on how to wash (or sometimes steam) every item in your summer wardrobe.
Cotton, how I love you. This summer, the ultra-breathable fabric is filling my closet by way of halters painted in bold colors, graphic T-shirts, and fun printed shorts. Cotton is actually a reasonably easy fabric to care for, provided your washer has a genuine gentle cycle (some are more gentle than others): Just separate your colors and wash on cold. Because it’s a natural fiber, you’ll want to hang-dry your items to avoid any shrinkage. One more tip: Lay particularly heavy items on top of a drying rack instead; you don’t want them to lose their shape via the added weight of hanging while wet.
Linen is notoriously tricky to care for: One wrong move and your favorite poppy-yellow top becomes more suitable for a (very well-dressed) 5-year-old. There is a solution: the LG Styler. If you want to be really extra about caring for your clothes, this machine is absolutely worth every penny. It greatly extends the life of your clothes (until you really can't avoid a dry cleaning trip); pop all your favorite linen pieces into the machine to get them revived and wrinkle-free. It uses steam to refresh the clothes, and even has hangers that softly shake each piece to reduce wrinkles and quickly dry any spot-cleaning you’ve done.
I can’t do without my silk pieces, especially this time of year. They were my main culprits in terms of excessive dry cleaning bills, so I needed to find a more affordable way to care for this finicky fabric. Usually the care tag on a silk item will tell you they need to be dry cleaned, but silk can actually be hand-washed—or, if you have the right machine, machine-washed on an über-gentle cycle. The LG TWINWash Bundle with Sidekick has a small drawer-like compartment underneath the main wash area specifically to care for delicate items like silky slip dresses. When I’m ready to get to do my laundry, I’ll pop the items into a lingerie bag, use a mild detergent (my mom always emphasized this), and set the water to cold. After the rinse cycle is complete, I take the pieces out and hang them up to dry.
It’s a question as old as time itself (or at least as old as skinny jeans): How do we care for our beloved denim pieces so they don’t lose their shape? I’ve made the mistake of letting my jeans air dry on numerous occasions, resulting in super-stiff, super-uncomfortable blue jeans. I now actually throw my denim in the dryer to get it as soft as possible—it may sound scary, but the key is keeping the temp on low to avoid damaging the fabric with too much heat. This goes for any of my denim pieces, like that oversize jean jacket I’m wearing with a sundress on balmy nights or the white denim dress I bought for a picnic that’s coming up, Simply turn the item inside out with all the buttons and zips done up (to help keep its shape), throw it in the wash (on cold, of course), and then toss it into the dryer on the lowest heat setting.
Funnily enough, some of the pieces I spent the most money dry cleaning were pieces with a relatively affordable price tag: the plaid blazer I keep in rotation for work, a pajama-style top that’s the most effortless thing ever, and various iterations of white shirting bought on impulse. A lot of these trendy fast-fashion items are made with synthetic fabrics like polyester and viscose, meaning that they’re much easier to wash, but for some reason I still felt like the trip to the dry cleaner’s was somehow guaranteeing they’d last longer than one season. These days, when it comes to synthetic fabrics, I stick to the gentle cycle to avoid extra agitation. And then pieces like my blazer that rarely need actual washing will be going to go straight into the LG Styler for regular freshen-ups.