Keep your wardrobe looking fabulous!

The woolie seasonAs we head into the “woolie-season,” dry-cleaning charges rise. But by taking a few precautions and doing a little work at home, you can slash those costs and save your fine and costly garments.

I know. I have always washed my husband’s cashmere sweaters and my silk ones successfully. I even use a sweater bag and pop them in the washer on delicate with special detergent. I dry them flat and press lightly. They look perfect and smell fabulous. Recently, a dear friend and DolceDolce reader tried it. She was thrilled. Her cashmere sweater washed perfectly — and she saved $13!
To get the real lowdown on wardrobe preservation and saving some money, we went to Heidi Fuentes, a fabric care scientist at Reckitt Benckiser, the makers of Woolite products. Here’s a reprise of that interview with new tips:
DD: Cashmere is fabulous, but the cost per wear can be high, if dry cleaning is used every one or two outings. Is it better to dry-clean or wash cashmere sweaters?
HF:  If the garment label strictly says “Dry Clean Only,” I advise to follow the label. There are various reasons why the garment may be considered “Dry Clean Only” such as colorfastness or the potential to shrink.  Washable cashmere can be laundered in Woolite For All Fabrics, a detergent that won’t cause shape loss and keeps fibers strong.
DD: Silk jerseys are so popular now. Many designers use them in dresses that are worn frequently to work and elsewhere. What is the best way to care for them?
HF: Items like silk jerseys are so popular because they are so versatile. Of course that means more wear and more washes. Take a look at the care label first. Washable fabrics can be laundered using Woolite For All Fabrics. Wash the item in the coldest temperature and on a gentle cycle. You may also want to wash the garment separately from items with hooks and zippers to prevent possible snags. 
DD: What is the best way to clean the inside of a good handbag that is lined with fabric, felt, or leather?
HF: Removable lining, like fabric and leather, can generally be washed in Woolite For All Fabrics. You should be a little more careful with washing felt as its quality may vary and shrinking may occur.
DolceDolce Tip: I clean my non-removable hand-bag linings each week with a gentle diaper wipe or damp wash cloth and gentle bath soap to remove grime and small stains. It keeps my expensive bags pristine. I also wipe down the outside of the bag and then polish with a clean dry cloth.
DD: How can your keep pricey cotton t-shirts looking perfect?
HF:  Cotton t-shirts are such a staple item, I’m so happy you asked this question. Keeping those colors vivid is the most important part of keeping high-end t-shirts looking their best. Wash on a cold temperature using Woolies for All Colors.
DD: Sweaters and T-shirts have a brand-new pressed look when they come from the dry cleaners. Can that be duplicated at home, and if so how? 
HF: People often forget about timing after they throw their clothes into the dryer. Try to grab the items just as the cycle is ending so they are still quite warm. Wrinkles form when the clothes cool down in their crumpled state. Hanging your t-shirts immediately after the cycle ends will create that crisp look. The same goes for sweaters, but make sure they are 100 percent dry before hanging. Hanging while still damp will stretch the fabric. Of course, you can always pick up a hand-held steamer with a press attachment. This little tip is mentioned a few times in the virtual look book on .
DD: Is there a secret to keeping designer jeans looking as fabulous as their price tag? 
HF: Ingredients like bleach, phosphates, and enzymes can be harsh on your jeans, causing them to fade over time. Turn your jeans inside out to help protect against fading.  Always wash in cold water and with a color-safe detergent likeWoolite For All Darks, which does not contain any of the previously mentioned harsh ingredients.
DD: Is there safe way to machine-wash good lingerie? 
HF: To save your bras and money, they should be washed in specifically designed Woolite bra bags. Wash other nice lingerie on the gentle cycle, in cold water, with Woolite For All Delicates.
DolceDolce Tip: I swear by lingerie bags for all delicate laundering. You can wash hose, sweaters, bathing suits, and all types of delicates this way. Love this idea!
DD: Almost everything you buy, except for most underwear, says “Dry-Clean Only”. How can you tell what is safe to wash? 
HF: As I mentioned earlier, garments that are labeled as “Dry Clean Only” are usually marked that way for a reason. That being said, they could potentially be washed using Woolite For All Fabrics, but test an inconspicuous area of the garment first for colorfastness. Woolite also makes Woolite Dry Cleaner’s Secret Dry Cleaning Cloths that can be used for “Dry-Clean Only” clothes that need a quick refresher.
DD: What can you do about rings on the collar on white cotton, or underarm staining? 
HF: Pre-treating is a simple step that so few remember to take.  Underarm staining is difficult to remove because the stain is caused by a chemical reaction. Washing as soon as possible gives your shirts a fighting chance of staying stain-free. The longer you wait to wash the garment, the more time the stain has to set into the fabric.
DD: Is there a secret to making a cotton dress or blouse really crisp?
HF:  A quick mist of spray starch can help achieve that crisp look.
DD: Many vintage clothes from the 60 are -80;’s are synthetic and can have slight odor when you buy them or pick up odors when wear them. What is the best way to clean them?
HF: Avoid over-washing because that can weaken the fabric of vintage clothes.  When you do launder these garments, make sure you use a detergent that is formulated to care for all types of fabrics, such as Woolite For All Fabrics. If your clothes are practically odor-catchers, store them with potpourri packets to give them a light, sweet scent.
DolceDolce Tip: Spray sheets of stationary or used dryer sheets with your favourite scent and use them instead of potpourri to scent drawers and clothes. Lingerie drawers are the place to store your scented soap.
Updated  DolceDolce Tips:
·        Remove salt stains from sturdy woolens with diluted white vinegar and soft clean cloth. Do not rub too hard.
·        Use undiluted white vinegar to remove salt stains from leather boots and bags – be sure to rinse it off.
·        Purchase special soft sponges from your cobbler to remove marks from your suede clothes, bags and shoes. Use separate sponges for light and dark colours, as the dye does transfer.
·        Cut down on dry cleaning by wearing soft light garment under your suit or even your delicate dry-clean only silk blouse. You can buy one from They have camis and other items you can rinse out in your sink. They dry overnight, and you’ll save on dry cleaning and wear in your good suits and fragile silks – especially if perspiration is a problem. They are super-soft too!