Are your duds looking a little worse for wear? Here are some extra-effective ways to keep your clothes looking as good as the day you bought them.
Step 1: Hand-wash delicate knits Laundering cashmere or wool knits in the washing machine, even on the delicate cycle, can cause them to run and unravel. Instead, hand-wash them in the sink or a bowl with liquid detergent. Squeeze suds through the fabric instead of rubbing, and rinse thoroughly.
Step 2: Dry knits Wringing knits weakens the fabric; instead, gently squeeze the water out. Then, lay the item flat on top of a towel, roll it up inside the towel, and press to remove more water. Unroll it, and spread it on a flat surface to dry.
Step 3: Separate colors from whites Separate color fabrics from all-white clothes before washing. In the colors pile, separate colors by intensity. Wash brights, which are more likely to bleed, pastels, and dark colors in separate loads.
TIP: If colors run, wash the stained clothes again while they're still wet, and the dye should wash out.
Step 4: Wash darks in cold Machine-wash darks in cold water on the shortest cycle, using liquid detergent specially formulated for dark and black clothing. It will keep dyes in dark fabrics from washing out and fading.
TIP: Turn colored clothes inside-out before washing them to preserve their hue.
Step 5: Tackle the whites Wash all of your whites in hot water, unless the label specifies another water temperature. If you notice your whites becoming dull after a few washes, add color remover to the wash, which you can buy at the supermarket or online.
TIP: You can also try oxygen bleach. Chlorine bleach can leave a yellow tinge on whites, especially if you wash in hot water.
Step 6: Line-dry No matter what color they are, line-dry clothes whenever possible, avoiding direct sunlight. Fold clothes in half over the line and secure with clothespins. If you use the dryer, choose the lowest temperature setting for the material. High heat shrinks and warps fabrics.
Step 7: Put clothes away the right way Some clothes, like those made from linen or cotton, stay wrinkle-free if they're hung up, while knits retain their shape better if you fold them. Fold long dresses, too, since hanging tends to stretch them out.
FACT: The Phoenicians developed a process of extracting purple dye from snail glands. This dye was called royal purple because only kings, emperors, and high priests could wear it.