December 15, 2011

Care and Maintenance: Winter Edition

With snow on the ground and layers on your body, there are all kinds of new garment care issues that arise during the winter months. Here are a few helpful tips to get you to spring.

Removing Salt Stains
Living in the northeast, the coming of winter means snow. Especially in the suburbs, that also means salting the ground to prevent icing. The city is sometimes even worse between the salt trucks driving by and building supers shoveling it onto the sidewalk. As a result, salt stains on your nice leather boots  (or even your gloves) are a common occurrence.  What many people don’t realize though, is that this is easily remedied.

Take a quick stop into your local shoe repair or wardrobe supply store and pick up some salt stain remover. Brush it on and voila! It should take care of those pesky stains in minutes. It is also great for stains on the inside collar of a leather or suede jackets caused by sweating.

Another way that you can help prevent salt stains on your leather goods (or any stains really) is to regularly reapply your waterproofer. As I mentioned in the Leather Care post, waterproofing is something that will help your leather goods last longer by keeping water from soaking in.

Another great benefit of regular waterproofing is that many kinds also help protect the leather from staining. Generally, how often you should reapply depends on what type of waterproofer you use and how much you wear your item. For winter items, I find it best to do it right when I pull them out of the closet so I don’t forget. If they ever get soaking wet though, be sure to reapply and condition as soon as the item dries.

Hanging Your Sweaters
I always recommend folding sweaters because hanging them often causes the knit to stretch out from the edges of the hangers. If you would still prefer to hang them up, or don’t have the space to keep them folded, there is a great trick to hanging them without the potential damage.

First, fold the sweater in half length-wise. Then place it on the hanger so that the neck of the hanger sits where the ‘V’ of the sleeve underarm meets the body of the sweater. Drape the arms and tail of the sweater around the hanger to keep it from slipping. This will keep it hung and unwrinkled, without stretching out the knit.

Using Cedar
Good news! Horrible smelling mothballs in pockets and closets are a thing of the past. Instead, try cedar to keep the moth holes out of your winter clothes when it comes time to pack them away. Cedar has a nice light scent that won’t transfer to your clothing or leave you smelling like your grandmother. You can buy cedar hangers in just about any style, cedar balls, or just cedar blocks that can hang between your clothes.

If you live in a humid environment or store your out of season clothes in a damp basement, cedar has the added benefit of absorbing moisture (which is why shoes trees are often made of it). This will help prevent the formation of mold and mildew because even a little bit of moisture can leave your clothes smelling stale.

The End of the Season
One last tip, and possibly the most important to remember, is that when packing away your clothes as spring approaches, make sure that those garments are clean and completely dry, even heavy coats. Packing clothes away that haven’t been cleaned can lead to permanent staining as body oil dries, stains (even those you may not have noticed) set in, and things like cologne or deodorant cause bleaching and discoloration.

Taking proper care of your clothes will help make sure you get the most out of your investment and have plenty of stylish winters ahead.

Stay warm and stylish,
- JJ

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