How to clean stains out of your nicest outfits

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You’re out to eat, wearing your favorite suit with the gray pinstripes and the pattern you took forever to pick out. You feel great, enjoying yourself with friends, relaxing after work, eating delicious food and drinking good wine.

But then it happens.

Your worst nightmare comes true.

A passing customer bumps into a waiter and knocks your wine glass onto your lap.

It’s ruined, you think to yourself. There’s no coming back from a red wine stain. Why couldn’t you have just had water?

Don’t panic!

The best time to get the stain out is right as it happens. Letting it set will only further the problem.

Here are some common stains you may encounter and how to get them out of your nicest clothes.

Disclaimer: These are not foolproof and each technique is different based on the type of fabric and the severity of the stain. If you are not completely certain how to treat the stain,

Wine Stain

Treat the spot immediately with warm water, salt it, and let it stand. Rinse away the salt and dab at the stain with detergent. Rinse and launder as you normally would but avoid putting soap flakes into the washer.

Mud or Dirt

Get a bucket of lukewarm water. Soak the item and shake it around, then apply detergent to the rest of the stain and allow it to soak for 20-30 minutes. Rinse and repeat then put it in the laundry.

Sweat Stains

This is a common problem for t shirts and dress shirts. First, wash the item with hot water and detergent. If the stain isn’t too bad yet, this should clear it up. If the stain is still there, soak the item in warm water with a little salt and let it stand. You can also use bleach if the item is white.

Cooking Oil

If you plan to do some cooking in the kitchen, make sure to use an apron to protect yourself and your clothes. If you do happen to get a stain, treat it right away with lukewarm water. Take the item and soak it in warm water with detergent. Dab the stain with detergent, place it down on a paper towel, and let it sit. Repeat this process if the stain persists.

Coffee

Sipping Starbucks while driving in the car can be a dangerous game to play. If you haven’t spilled yet, it’s just a matter of time. If it does happen, soak the spot with lukewarm water as soon as you can. Then dab the stain with detergent or some vinegar diluted in water. Take the item and wash it at the warmest temperature the fabric can handle.

Need more stain cleaning tips?

Check out this article from How to Clean Stuff 

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What Happens to Your Suit at the Dry Cleaners?

AskMen posted a fascinating article about the dos and don’ts of dry cleaning.  You can read the whole thing right here.  In short, whenever you get your suits dry cleaned, you’re ruining your clothes.

Machine wash and hang your dress shirts yourself.  If you have to use the dry cleaners, ask for hand ironing instead of machine pressing.  Don’t forget to put the kibosh on any starch, that shortens the lifespan of the shirts.

With your suits, only dry clean them once a season, or four times a year.  Any more than that, and you’re putting undue strain on the fibers of the suit.  Clean any minor spots and stains by hand in-between cleanings.  And steam your suits to get the wrinkles out.  You can do that with a clothes steamer, which you can find at any bath and kitchen store.  If you’re feeling really, really rushed, we’ve known some people who will hang their suit in the bathroom, turn the shower on at maximum heat and close the door for a couple of hours!  Don’t do that.  Just buy a steamer.

If you did get something cleaned, look out for three signs of a bad cleaner: your clothes fit differently, your clothes look shiny and your clothes have mysterious, brand new indents.  The shiny thing is the tricky part.  We’ve all probably seen that and thought, “wow, it’s so clean, it’s shining!”  No…  The fabric’s been CRUSHED.

All of this got us thinking, of course, about the suits we make.  Another wonderful benefit of a custom suit over an off-the-rack one is the sheer quality of the materials involved.  The more “fine” the product, the more we tend to treat it with kid gloves.  But in reality, that better product is hardier, made of sterner stuff and better designed.  We should all take the advice of that AskMen column seriously, but if you’ve invested in a suit of a higher-caliber, that suit just might need less cleaning and last far, far longer.  Which is why whenever we’re asked, “why custom?” we say, “It’s the difference between good and great!”

Sartorial Sanctuary or Ultimate Closet

After our last blog gave you a foundation, we hope your closet is starting to look pretty good. If you are not quite there yet, no worries! The wardrobe that we are talking about might take you a while to complete. It is quite a process indeed, but the most exhilarating part of when we are working on something is clearly knowing the steps ahead.

Let’s now imagine, for those who are not there yet, that your sartorial foundation is there, and that better yet, it is a solid, strong foundation. Remember, we told you all about the clearly important step of having the right items in your closet, but we also said that placing and maintaining those clothes are just as important. In this blog, we will give you some great tips to keep your sartorial Mecca running as smoothly as possible.

The very first step is to place your clothes appropriately. For this, you will need the right tools and the proper space (if you don’t have that, get working on it). There are plenty of great custom closet companies in major cities, and they all work with similar materials, although the price varies slightly. Connecting with your designer is what really makes the difference here, so be very specific as to what you want (maximize space, organizing, et cetera). Also, request to have more than one option (a sketch or picture of what the final job will look like would be optimal).

If you happen to take this on as your own personal project instead, because you’re feeling crafty and creative, needless to say, make some good use of those new tools you got from Santa. Adding shelves and drawers and extra racks will be a good idea to start with, and if you already have everything you need and just need to organize (and please keep it that way, we are not in college anymore!), then here is what you need to do.

Suits and overcoats.

Hang them in one side of the closet about 3 inches apart from each other, as this will minimize crushing. Keep the most expensive garments in a garment bag when it’s not being worn.

Primary shirts and trousers.

Hang at the other end of your closet 2 inches apart to reduce creasing. Pants, preferably, should be hung by the hem on trouser hangers.

If you are building/remodeling your closet, in the middle of your closet there should be a space with shelves and drawers. Please arrange for the bottom drawer to be a deeper one. Now we will tell you what goes in each.

Extra shirts.

Those that you do not wear as often should be neatly folded and placed on the top shelf. Do not hang everything you own, this just congests your space.

Sweaters.

Fold in piles and place on the shelves, as this will prevent stretching out the shape and will make them last much longer.

Socks, underwear and t-shirts.

Fold neatly and place in smaller drawers.

Thick knits and sweatshirts.

Remember that deeper drawer? Place those in here.

On the side where your shirts and trousers are hanging, there should be plenty of room to build at least two longer, shallow drawers. In there, place:

Ties.

The best way to store them is by folding them in half and then rolling them. Use this drawer to place pocket squares and other accessories.

Athletic clothes.

All in one place, and that remaining drawer is that place.

Below those shallow, longer drawers, there is still room for sloping shelves, and here you will place:

Shoes.

Keep them on shoe trees to help keep their shape. This will triple their life span. Cedar shoe trees are a great choice, as they absorb moisture and leave a fresh scent (remember to give shoes a day off and to polish them at least every third wear).

Extra Pointers.

  • Proper hangers: general purpose, sports coat only, trousers only and suits.
  • Wooden hangers will add a very elegant and appealing look to your closet.
  • Remove dry cleaned items from bags and hang them on proper hangers as soon as you get home. Keep a lint roller and a cloth brush with your suits. They will become your suits’ best friends!
  • Keep a closet or designated space to storage off-season items. Moths off!
  • Use garment bags to store off-season suits, as this keeps them away from dust, insects and fading.
  • Please, please dry clean or wash all-wool items before storing them away for the off-season. Space bags/other tight-sealing containers are perfect for that.
  • Emptying and airing the contents of your wardrobe regularly is a great habit.
  • Vacuum your closet regularly.
  • Add some cedar blocks or chips to keep your sartorial sanctuary smelling fresh.

Voila!

One more thing… We hope there is plenty of room left over to keep adding great pieces to your amazing wardrobe!