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Taking Care of Your Clothes

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It is true that wearing messy clothes can ruin an impressive outfit. It can even make an expensive outfit look cheap. In addition, taking care of not-so-expensive clothes will make them look better than they are.

In 1973, a law was passed requiring clothing manufacturers to attach permanent care labels to all garments.

Knowing when to clean your clothes is another matter. Light-coloured clothes are the easiest to decide about. When they are dirty, they look dirty. However, even dark-coloured clothes should be cleaned regularly.

Laundering is the process of washing clothes using water and soil-removing chemicals. These soil-removing chemicals include bleaches, soaps, and detergents.

Basic laundry know-how is a follows: clothes must be sorted and if you are washing by machine, the loads will be fairly large. Most people sort clothes into dark and light loads. Heavy items such as towels and robes, are often washed together, and delicate items form their own separate loads. Permanent press garments are washed separately from other garments. Delicate items that must be hand washed are often washed one at a time or two or three similar garments are washed together. Delicate clothes, wools, and silks are washed in cool water, while other clothes can be washed in warmer or hot water. Choosing the best soil removers is a very important part. Soap is the usual choice for natural fibers. Soaps do not easily dissolve in water, so clothes washed in soap must be rinsed very carefully. Soaps are biodegradable. This means they break down into natural waste products that do not harm environment.

Detergents were invented about the same time that manufactured fabrics were. They came along when people began to use automatic washing machines to do laundry. Something better than soap was needed – a cleanser that would clean in less time, work in cool water, and work on synthetic fabrics. The advantages of detergents are that they use less hot water than soaps, and they are excellent for cleaning manufactured fabrics.

Other chemicals have been invented to improve laundering methods. These include bleaches, brighteners, clothes softeners and starches. Most laundered clothes are washed in a machine. When garments are dried too long or at too high temperature, wrinkles have a tendency to set. Fabrics also may stiffen somewhat. Clothes should be removed from dryers as soon as the machine turns off.

Some garments, such as knits and sweaters tend to shrink or mat when machine dried. These garments should be spread flat in their original shapes to air dry. A terry cloth towel under the garment helps absorb the moisture. Clothes dried by this method need only a light ironing or pressing.

Ironing and pressing are two different techniques. When ironing a garment, you slide the iron back and forth over the material to apply dry heat. Pressing uses a combination of heat and moisture. A different motion is also used. Instead of moving iron back and forth, you lift the iron and lower it onto the fabrics. The steam that results from the heat smoothes wrinkles out of the fabric.



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