Give Your Clothes Some TLC Without Breaking the Bank

From geeky-chic to classic trends, the seasonal change from summer to fall calls for layering in fine and fabulous blouses, sweaters, scarves, and coats.  There’s no disputing that fall fashion is probably one of the best seasons to mix and match various items from your summer and fall wardrobes to create personal and unique outfits every day. Check out for 20 ways to layer this fall.


Fall apparel, unfortunately, tends to be high maintenance and requires extra care. We probably spend more money maintaining our fall garments than purchasing them. And, naturally, we have a tendency to drop off our clothes at the cleaners for any garment labeled “Dry Clean” or “Dry Clean Only”, which can be costly. Many garments with such labels can actually be cleaned and maintained safely at home without denting your bank account or harming the environment. The Care Labeling Rule requires manufacturers to list one method of cleaning instruction. As noted by the Federal Trade Commission: “Labels for clothing must have a washing instruction or a drycleaning instruction. If the item can be washed and drycleaned, the label needs only one of these instructions.”

If a label is marked “Dry Clean,” the garment can be gently cleaned and cared for at home. If a label is marked “Dry Clean Only,” it’s safer to take it to the dry cleaners. Even for clothes that must be dry cleaned only, there are ways to clean and protect the garments. Many of the natural garments such as wool, silk, and linen have been around for thousands of years, and people have been able to care for their garments before dry cleaning services became available. Here is a general rule of thumb to help you save on cleaning costs:

    • Wool: Merino, cashmere, alpaca, and mohair sweaters, scarves, and shirts can be hand-washed in cold to warm water using a few drops of gentle mild soap such as Dawn or Ivory dishwashing. Woolite is considered mild, but it is more alkaline which can strip the fibers. Lay flat to dry and do not wring the garment.
    • Silk: Hand-wash in very cold water using a mild soap, gently swooshing the fabric around for about 5-10 minutes. Rinse with a mixture of water and a splash of vinegar to remove the soap residue. Rinse again in cold water. Adding a few drops of conditioner in one of the rinse cycles will help keep the fabric soft and shiny. Lay flat or hang dry. Do not wring.
    • Linen: Hand- or machine-wash in cold water with mild soap on a gentle cycle. Hang or line dry.
    • Cotton: Hand- or machine-wash in cold to warm water. Line dry your clothing to prevent shrinkage. For those expensive designer jeans, wash them inside out in cold water with mild soap and line dry them to prevent fading and shrinkage.
    • Leather: Use a damp microfiber towel to remove dirt. Take the leather garment to the dry cleaners if there are stains or spots.
    • Acetate, rayon, leather or suede: Take it to the cleaners.
    • Structured and special finish fabrics: Suits and jackets that are structured and stiff need to be dry cleaned to maintain their shape. Garments with beading and delicate finishes should be dry cleaned.

If you choose to wash many of your garments rather than dry clean them, we recommend that you invest in an awesome drying rack like the Minky Home Care Tower – it’s worth the money!


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