How to Care for Your Clothes

Along with good laundering and mending techniques, your clothes will benefit from proper care and storage. For instance, clothes that will be stored for a season or longer need to be free of moths, moisture, and sunlight.

Here are several tips to consider on caring for your clothes:


General Clothing Care

  • When you buy a new garment, dab the center of each button with clear nail polish to seal the threads.
  • Wrap tape around your finger with the sticky side out to remove lint from a small area quickly.
  • For a do-it-yourself lint remover, roll up a magazine and wrap wide adhesive tape around it with the sticky side out.
  • When brushing clothes to remove dust and lint, you'll get better results if you brush with the nap rather than against it.
  • Rub zipper teeth occasionally with wax to keep the zipper working smoothly. The stub of a candle works well for this procedure.
  • You can de-wrinkle clothing in a hurry by running hot water into the bathtub and hanging the garment on the shower rod. The steam will remove the wrinkles.


Seasonal Storage

If your wool sweaters need to be protected from moths or your heirloom items require special care, you'll find that the time spent on storing your clothes properly will reward you the next time you get them out of storage. There will be no moth holes, no mildew, and no need for replacements.

Repelling Moths:


  • New garbage cans make good storage containers for clothing. If they are airtight, and you are storing freshly cleaned clothes, you won't need to add mothballs.
  • If your cedar closet is old and no longer smells of cedar -- which deters moths -- lightly sand its surfaces. The sanding will open the wood's pores and release a fresh cedar odor.
  • The cedar odor only repels moths; it doesn't kill them. Clean all clothes before storage to remove any moth eggs.
  • Mothproofing products should be placed as high as possible in the closet because the fumes filter downward.

Deterring Moisture:

  • To prevent mildew from forming in a leather purse during storage, fill the purse with crumpled newspaper and leave it unfastened.
  • In humid climates, corrugated boxes can be used for clothes storage if you coat the box with shellac to keep out moisture.


Caring for Shoes

  • Neaten up the frayed ends of shoelaces (and make it easier to lace them) by dipping them in clear nail polish.
  • Remove scuff marks on shoes by rubbing with a baking-soda paste.
  • Use petroleum jelly to shine leather shoes. Apply with a soft cloth, wipe off the excess, and buff with a clean cloth.
  • Spray furniture polish on shoes, then buff with a clean, dry cloth.
  • Use a light coating of spray starch on new fabric tennis shoes before wearing them -- dirt can't become embedded in the canvas, and the shoes will always be easy to clean.
  • Clean the rubber on athletic shoes with baking soda sprinkled on a sponge or washcloth.
  • Use lemon juice to clean and shine black or tan leathers. Apply with a soft cloth.
  • To keep shoes shiny after you've polished them, spray them with hair spray.
  • Hand lotion can be used to shine shoes. Just put a dab on each shoe, rub in with your fingers, and buff.
  • Clean the salt residue common on winter boots with a cloth dipped in a solution of 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon vinegar. This will work on leather and vinyl.
  • Use a soft cloth dipped in vinegar to shine a pair of patent-leather shoes or any patent-leather item.
  • Shoes that are starting to smell can be helped by sprinkling with a little salt. Let sit overnight. The salt will help control moisture, which contributes to odors.
  • Keep smelly feet at bay by sprinkling baking soda into shoes to control odor and moisture.