Caring for Clothes

Here at Porters we care about clothes and we know that when you find that new sweater or dress you’ll want it to last and be a faithful favourite in your wardrobe for years to come. So we’ve put together this guide of top tips for you to care about your clothes as much as we do when you get them home. 

1. Check your care labels

This is the little label you’ll find inside every garment. If you’re under 30 or your mum is still doing your washing for you we understand you may not know what those little symbols mean. However every manufacturer puts a care label in after lots of testing so the symbols on the care label can tell you exactly how to wash and dry the item and what to avoid to keep it in tip top condition.

2. Ban the Bio

Biological washing detergents may be great at removing stains but they wreck natural fibres. Always use non biological washing detergents or specialist detergents for delicates like wools and silks.  The enzymes in biological detergents may break down stains but they will also break down natural fibres like wool, cotton, silk, linen, cupro and lyocell. This can cause colours to fade and that lovely sumptuous sheen on silks and satins to become matt and stiff.

3. Check your spin speed

If you’ve ever shrunk your favourite sweater but washed it on a low temperature, the culprit will probably be the spin speed.  Check the washing symbol guide and look for those two bars. As a precaution always wash your wools and delicates on the lowest spin speed setting possible for your machine. 

4. Keep pests out of your wardrobe to keep your clothes pristine

Pop some moth balls or cedar blocks in your wardrobe to keep out any pesky pests. Moths are the ultimate fabric snobs you can guarantee they are not going to eat your cheap synthetic fabrics, instead they will be attracted to natural fabrics such as wool, cotton, silk and their favourite snack linen. Whether you choose a hanging repellent or cedar blocks keep those pests at bay with a variety of moth repellents.

5. Don’t leave your clothes in the washing machine

Never leave your clothes especially delicates sitting in the washing machine for hours. Especially delicates that have been on a handwash cycle, the handwash cycle is a slow spin speed which leaves clothes a lot wetter than a load that’s been on a faster spin setting and any prints or colours may run if they are sat soaking wet in machine for hours on end.

6. Reshape whilst damp

This is especially true for linens and woollens.  As soon as you take these out of the machine, reshape whilst damp on a flat surface.  These fibres have a tendancy to grow if you hang them whilst wet so always dry them on a flat surface to keep their shape.

7. Freeze your Jeans

Instead of washing your jeans if you don’t have any obvious stains put your jeans inside a bag and place in the freezer to get rid of any bacteria and keep that deep indigo denim looking fresh for longer. 

8. Invest in a steamer

Behind the scenes in most clothes shops you’ll find a garment steamer. We don’t have time to spend hours ironing and neither should you.  A garment steamer is worth it’s weight in gold for the amount of time you will save instead of ironing plus you can use it on dry clean only items and delicates and it kills 99% of bacteria.

9. Seasonal Storage

No matter how much storage you are blessed with whether it’s a walk in wardrobe or a few hangers inside in one of your wife’s wardrobes.  As the seasons change there are certain items that need to be taken off hangers and folded flat for storage if you want them to look just as good for another season. Winter woolens and lovely linens in Summer fall into this category.  If you leave these on hangers for months on end while you are not wearing them, chances are they will grow on the hanger. So unless you have extra long arms, fold them flat in a storage bag with a few cedar cubes to keep them fresh and ready to wear next season.

10. Brush the bobbles out

If you love knitwear but hate bobbles and pilling invest in a cashmere comb. They are cheap and readily available at any haberdashery store or online and will save you a fortune in buying new knitwear every season.  Don’t throw a perfectly good piece of knitwear away or return it as faulty the first time it starts to bobble. If an item contains wool it will bobble or pill, this is the natural nature of the fabric, don’t fight it, all it needs is a good comb. After the first few wears when the bobbles appear, comb the bobbles out and always make sure you do so in one direction.  It doesn’t take long for the knitwear to look as good as new and while we are on the subject of knitwear if you do hang up your knitwear use chunky hangers that are smooth and unlikely to snag on the delicate fabric.

However, if you really can’t stand pilling or don’t want to brush out the bobbles step away from the wool and look for knitwear that is 100% cotton, we have plenty of pieces perfect for anyone allergic to wool and likes low maintenance knitwear.

Washing Symbols

Do not wash = We really shouldn’t have to explain this one

Permanent Press = This has been treated to prevent wrinkles and should not need ironing

Gentle cycle = Slow spin speed or use a delicates cycle normally for wools or silks.

Hand wash = Do not use a washing machine gently wash by hand using a specialist delicates detergent.

Numbers = Represent the maximum temperature that should be used.

Dots = Also represent the maximum temperature that should be used.

1 dot = 30 degrees

2 dots = 40 degrees

3 dots = 50 degrees

6 dots = 60 degrees

Drying Symbols

Dots on Tumble Dryer Symbol = 1 dot dry on low heat 

2 dots dry on medium heat

3 dots dry on high heat

Dry without heat = Air dry setting or no heat

Hang to dry = Can be hung up to dry on a hanger or hung over a drying rack

Drip dry = Normally for synthetics that don’t need ironing they can be hung up to dry straight away.

Dry Flat = Dry on a flat surface if you hang this to dry the 

garment will change shape

Dry in the Shade = Dry in the shade. Don’t leave it to dry in the sun or it will fade

Do not Tumble Dry = Really do not put it in the tumble dryer it’s only going to end in tears

Ironing Symbols

Dots = 1 dot = maximum temperature 110 degrees

2 dots = maximum temperature 150 degrees

3 dots = maximum temperature 200 degrees

No steam = Turn off the steam function or do not use a garment steamer on the item.  Some fabrics do not react well to the combination of water and heat. 

Do not iron = Lucky you this could be a low maintenance item like a child’s school uniform or if it has been bought from us chances are it’s a delicate ladies wear item so it’s time to put your new garment steamer to use.

Dry Cleaning Symbols

Dry Clean Only = The cost per wear of this item won’t decrease over time instead it.

increases every time you wear it, and unless you are incredibly careful and don’t have small children, chances are this item will sit in your wardrobe for special occasions only.

Dry Clean Letters = We are not even going to tell you what these letters mean, leave it to the professionals and let your local dry cleaner handle it.

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