With the wintry weather finally starting to bite, it’s time to wrap up in cosy sweaters, stylish scarves, and warm woollen suits. But, bundling up in all those layers can lead to a lot of extra laundry, and many delicate garments can require some TLC if you want to keep them looking their best. We’ve put together this guide on how to care for your winter wardrobe, to help prolong the lifespan of your clothes and keep you looking sharp right through until spring.
You should aim to wash your coats around 2–3 times over the course of the winter, although you may need to clean yours more often if you’re wearing it every single day. If possible, you should have a couple of coats in your collection, so you can alternate between them on different days. This will allow the fabric to air and help any creases to drop out.
Most coats tend to be dry clean only, but some puffa jackets and down-filled coats can be machine washed and then air-dried. Be sure to check the label for more details, and remember to dry them flat to help keep the padding evenly distributed.
Velvet Jackets & Suits
If you’ll be rocking a velvet tux to the office Christmas party or on New Year’s Eve (and you should, as it’s a killer look) then you’ll need to know how to keep it looking sharp. Hang your new jacket on a wide wooden hanger as soon as you get it home, as this will help to prevent creasing and keep the shoulders in shape until it’s ready to wear.
After the party, check the label to work out how best to clean your jacket: if your velvet is a polyester mix, then it can probably be machine washed and hung up to dry. Silk, cotton, and pure velvets will all need to be professionally dry cleaned, as machine washing will damage and flatten the ‘nap’ (that’s the soft pile that gives velvet its luxurious texture).
Time is of the essence when cleaning velvet. If stains and water marks are left to dry, the texture of the nap may be irreparable, so get your jacket to the dry cleaners as soon as possible. If you’ve partied a little too hard and can’t face a trek to the dry cleaners, let a laundry collection and delivery service — like Laundrapp — take care of it while you recover on the couch.
There’s nothing worse than discovering that your new woollen jumper has shrunk three sizes in the wash. High temperatures can cause natural wool fibres to shrink, and the vigorous spinning of your machine can damage or unravel them. So, when it comes to your favourite jumpers and scarves, it’s best to resist the temptation to just chuck them in the washing machine. While it may require a little extra elbow grease, hand-washing will prevent damage and help to prolong the lifespan of your clothing.
Hand-washing is fairly straightforward: all you need to do is wash them in a bowl of warm water with a gentle detergent, preferably one which has been formulated especially for delicate natural fibres. ARKET’s wool and silk detergent is enzyme-free and very mild, so it’s gentle enough to hand wash pure wools.
After washing, gently squeeze your knitwear to remove excess water (never wring it, as this can stretch the garment out of shape) and then roll it up in a towel to get as much water out as possible. The garment can then be air dried — just remember to lay it on a flat surface, as the weight of the water can pull your jumper out of shape if hung up.
Thermal Base Layers & Fitness Gear
If you love to be outdoors, you probably rely on thermal base layers during cold weather. These high-tech garments are often made using synthetic materials which are designed to be warm, water-resistant, sweat-wicking, and breathable. While that makes them very handy for outdoor training sessions, it can also make them a bit tricky to wash.
When you need to clean your thermals, don’t just throw them in the machine with your regular load. Instead, check the label to ensure you’re washing at the right temperature (this will usually be a cool cycle). If you’re struggling to remove odours from your thermals with a cooler cycle, try soaking them in a cup of white vinegar and water before washing as normal. This will help to neutralise any musty smells. Most workout gear, especially compression wear, should be left to air-dry, as this will prevent shrinkage.
And whatever you do, skip the fabric softener. This can leave residue on synthetic thermal wear, causing the fabric to go stiff and reducing breathability — not what you want during a workout!
We spend a lot of money on our clothes, so it’s only sensible to take the time to care for them properly. Remember to take our tips on board when washing your clothing this winter, and you’ll be set to look stylish all through the season.