Fall and winter herald career coats coming out of the closet for cleaning, freshening and wearing. Many coats today are machine washable, but full-length fashion coats are almost always labeled “dry clean only.” Heed that label statement!
Fear not, dry cleaning care for garments does not have to cost an arm and a leg. Try these three suggestions to prolong the life of your coats with little effort and only a small pocket dent:
1. Develop a friendly relationship with your dry cleaner. Know the prices charged for different garment handling. Negotiate better prices either for bulk drop-offs or simply the fact that you’re a regular customer.
2. Buy a steamer. Simply steam cleaning garments at home will freshen them as well as loosen wear or storage wrinkles. Steamers are affordable and can be purchased in department stores.
3. Try Dryel, which is also affordable and available for purchase in many stores, including discount and grocery stores. A Dryel kit comes with a cleaning solution, and a large bag and fabric sheets to freshen and unwrinkle your “dry clean only” coats and other fine fabrics right in your dryer.
Unlike fabrics that drape closer to skin (intimates and blouses), suits can be worn a couple of times before cleaning – as long as you don’t drizzle spaghetti sauce down your lap at noon. Coats are even further removed from direct skin contact, so anticipate several wearings before dry cleaning is necessary. Avoid muddy splashes at street corners and you might be lucky enough to freshen your coat at the beginning of the season and merely spot clean for weeks.
Another necessity in winter also needs care. Our boots! Boots keep our feet warm and dry, and compliment our wardrobe in wintry splendor. Fashion boots take a beating and deserve special care so we can keep reaching for them year after year. The care is special, yet so easy to do.
BOOT CARE 101
Wipe Off Boots Regularly
Use a damp rag or old towel. Dust and dirt can work into the folds eventually causing abrasion and cracking.
Allow Boots to Dry 24 Hours Before Wearing Them Again
Moisture from your feet settle in boots. Without time to dry, bacteria, stains and general decay will start to form in the leather. A good practice is to rotate your boots, never wearing the same pair two days in a row. Do not dry boots with heat – it will dry out the leather. Let your boots dry out naturally.
Periodically Clean, Polish and Condition Your Boots
Leather, like your skin, dries out. Conditioning and lubricating boots add greatly to their lifespan. You can also add years to your boots’ life, while retaining their original good looks, by:
1. Using boot trees;
2. Use an eraser to remove scuff marks; and
3. Clean the welt and seams with an old toothbrush.
Some leathers like alligator, calf and lizard dry out more easily and are subject to cracking without frequent conditioning. Always read the labels of boot care products before using them.
Care for your fashion coats and boots as suggested above, and enjoy the season in style!