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How to maintain and take care of your clothes

How to maintain and take care of your clothes


How to maintain and take care of your clothes

By Chidinma Prisca Elebe ([email protected])


It is no news that certain people have decided to make the life of their fellow humans miserable by being vessels of foul smell. I mean, how can someone smell so bad as early as 7am in the morning on a bus? Did you not shower or have you worn those set of clothes again without washing them? Phew! I am here to help give you tips on how to take proper care of your clothes. I believe our clothes are valuable possessions and that’s why we use them daily.

Odors cling to the skin for various reasons such as repetition of unwashed clothes drenched in sweat from the previous day(s) and sullied inner wears that desperately yearn for water, soap and sunlight. Please do not sniff your clothes to check if they can be repeated especially when you sweat so much and you know deep down that your cloth is dirty and smelling. It is easier to repeat clothes than wash them but there are repercussions to this attitude. One of them is that you will stink, make people to hold their breath when you pass, perhaps, you might not know whether people make jokes because of your stench.

Personally, I would have advocated for a national association for laundry affairs with hygiene police but let’s calm down. All that being said, let’s take a look at how we can care for our clothes and ensure their longevity, not ruining them. It is essential to buy things we absolutely love because it gives us the essence to take care of them. Our clothes contribute to our level of confidence so its handling should not be taken lightly. Our clothes are an extension of whom we are.



Unclean clothes will do you a lot of damage in ways you may not imagine. If you take care of an item for it to last long, you won’t need to buy a replacement in a short while. The “extra” cash can be channeled to other needs. It can also be a problem to your skin and cause you to spend more trying to treat skin problems. If you love your skin and would like to save some money from being spent unnecessarily, you have reasons to take care of your clothes already.

Dirty clothes can have bacteria build ups which leads to really bad odors due to sweat produced and shedding of skin cells daily. Studies have shown that humans secrete more than a litre of sweat and release about 500 million skin cells per day. Are you shocked? I mean our skin is shed daily.

Isovaleric acid is an acid produced by a skin bacterium known as Staphylococcus epidermidis which breaks down oils, sweat and amino acids on the skin to give off unpleasant smelly by-products. This acid is also found in beer that is poorly made so you see why your clothes will smell when they have been worn even once.


Our bodies produce oils that help keep the skin moisturized and these oils can build up on clothes which can be reabsorbed by the skin and cause pore blockage leading to break outs such as acne (pimples or rashes due to infection transferred from dirty sheets, pillow cases and clothes.

Unclean clothes including underwear can cause skin irritation which could result in itching. Please wash your underwear after every single use to avoid bacterial and fungal infections. Leaving our clothes and sheets for long without washing can also make the stains and odors become more difficult to remove, stick or become permanent or even lead to discoloration of clothes.



It’s advised to wash new clothes before use because you do not know the level of germs it has come in contact with through handling and fittings by different people who may have had interests of purchasing that same piece of clothing before you. Imagine “buying” germs/ microorganisms and getting infected because of “new” clothes that you literally just purchased from a store. And because you may not certainly know the level of a person’s hygiene, it may be better to avoid sharing any form of clothing especially intimates except if you are willing to give them up for good.


Washing of clothes is a role that should not be neglected as habits of wearing dirty clothes can be detrimental in more ways than we can imagine. It is quite tempting to put all your clothes into a washer all at once but please resist doing so as it can cause your clothes to get ruined. Do not also overload your washing machine.

Sort your clothes and wash them in batches according to colours and also how dirty they are. Start with light coloured ones and then move on to the dark ones but then we all know this. Besides trying to avoid colour transfer or staining of one fabric with another, sorting helps handle delicate clothing as it should.

Detergents are meant to remove clothes and stains while disinfectants keep the germs away. Use mild rather than strong detergents and fewer chemicals. Excessive detergent while washing can leave residues and stains which can ruin your clothes and cause skin irritations. It can also be bad for your washing machine. Thorough/ multiple rinsing are hereby advised.

Air dry your clothes if you can except in conditions where it is not suitable or the label says otherwise. Clothes should be air dried or if dried under direct sunlight, it should be removed immediately they are dry to avoid color fading. Desist from drying your clothes indoors. Most germs can be removed by sunlight. Clothes that are not properly dried spread infections and causes odour.

To care for your washing machine and disinfect it, use hot water and bleach to clean the insides regularly.

Use warm water or cool water rather than hot water to avoid discoloration and weakening of your fabrics. Cold water prevents shrinkage in clothes.

It is advised that clothes should be washed inside out.

Delicate clothing/ fabrics should be hand washed to retain its texture. Remember to empty your pockets before washing your clothes and close zippers too.

Salts and chlorine breaks down fibers and elastic so things like swimwear should be washed off immediately after use.

When washing shirts, close attention should be paid inside the collars to wash off makeup stains, sweat stains, lotions etc

Sick people’s clothes should be washed in a different batch from those of other persons, in warm water to avoid exchange of pathogens.

Make sure you air your clothes after every use to preserve its shelf life and reduce unpleasant odors in your space even if you are not ready to wash them. Remove stains as soon as possible even if it’s not laundry day but have it in mind that the longer time you leave out a stain on your cloth, the tougher the stain becomes.


Cloth labels are instructions by the manufacturer to the user. It is important to adhere to them in order to have maximum and optimum use of the cloth for a period of time. Care labels are not for fancy. They are there to put you through the best ways to handle your fabrics.

Cloth labels help you know at what temperatures clothes should be washed or ironed, if a washing machine is suitable for it or not, if the clothing should be hand washed only, whether dry cleaning is suitable or not to avoid any form of damage and so on.


If your clothes have designs like embroidery, stone embellishments or plastic designs; use a steam iron to straightening out your fabric instead.

Avoid ironing stained parts of your clothes to avoid further spread and making the stain more difficult to remove.

Different fabrics have varying temperatures that works for ironing do well to take note. Most irons have basic temperature settings from minimum to maximum temperature. For example, fabrics made of nylon or polyester should be ironed dry while silk and cotton should be made damp before ironing.

Make sure that every stain is thoroughly washed away before ironing and make sure you have a spray bottle handy. It’s better to iron your shirts humid or use a steam iron to achieve this.

For shirts, iron the collar, the cuff and then the body. Make sure to button completely and put in a plastic or cardboard band before packing to avoid creases


Make sure your clothes are completely dry before putting them in your wardrobe or closet. Damp clothes produce foul smells and can be a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi and you do not want any of those on your clothes. This can also attract termites into your wardrobe.

Once in a while, air your closets by leaving your closet/ wardrobe door open to aid good circulation.

Clothes with elastic should be given room to breathe to increase its shelf life. For under wears, empty perfume bottles can be put in between to help give it fresh smell and cool scent.

Plastic containers kept in a cool dry place preserves clothes better than cardboard or wood boxes which have capability of damaging clothes over time but this plastic container should not be completely sealed/ covered. Your clothes need small room to breathe.

T-shirts should be washed gently in cold water. Folding t-shirts in half once preserves its fluffiness and reduces creases. Avoid putting your t-shirts on a hanger because the gravity from hangers can make them stretch.

Clothes such as sweaters and other heavy garments should be rolled up/ folded and put on a shelf. Clothes should be folded along the seams to reduce creasing

A piling brush or comb or a lint roller for suits can help get rid of fibers that appear on your cloth over a period of use.

CLOTHES AND HANGERS: Wooden hangers are way better for hanging your garments because it helps keep the shape and does not given them wrinkles. Avoid wire and plastic hangers the much you can.

The width of your hanger should not be wider than the width of your shirt/ top shoulders so that you don’t over stretch them and cause them to sag or loose elasticity.

Leave spaces between hung clothes especially when they are ironed to avoid wrinkles or rumpling.

Put your washed shirts preferably on hangers and allow to air dry.


Keep a sewing kit handy to fix tiny rips, missing buttons, tears etc. the sewing kit can include needle, thread, clips/ scissors, mending glue or iron on mending fabric, extra buttons.

Make sure your clothes are the last things you get into before stepping out to avoid make up stains or hairspray stain getting onto your clothes or you can wrap a towel around your shoulders if you wear your cloth before doing those things.

A lot of us have excess clothes in our closets. We have both what we need and what we don’t actually need. We have clothes we may never wear, those we have worn once or twice, those we continuously wear without remembering to switch it. If you belong to this Category of persons, please declutter your closet once in awhile. The fewer cloths you have, the easier it is to manage your space and care for your belongings.

Like the saying goes “Cleanliness is next to Godliness”.


Contents provided and/or opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of The Pacesetter Frontier Magazine or any employee thereof.

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