Our easy tricks will bring your warm-weather wardrobe back to its former glory fast! Here are five natural ways to restore your spring clothes so that they look and smell like new.
Lift musty odors with white vinegar.
Yikes! After a season spent in storage, your spring wardrobe has developed a musty smell. To lift trapped odors, just head to your pantry and grab a bottle of white vinegar, recommends wardrobe stylist Jeni Elizabeth. Simply presoak your clothing in a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar for about 20 to 60 minutes before laundering with detergent as usual. White vinegar destroys odor-causing bacteria, leaving your clothes smelling extra fresh.
Smooth creases with a steam blast.
To remove wrinkles, run a hot shower, hang clothes over the shower rod and close the door — the steam will smooth creases. And to get rid of those pointy shoulders on clothes that have been hanging all season, “lay them flat and hold your iron an inch away, giving them shots of steam,” says vintage clothing restorer Priya Raj. “Then use your hands to shape the fabric.”
Whiten dingy whites with lemon juice.
Are your once-bright whites now more on the gray side, or even yellow? Lemon juice to the rescue! In addition to being a bleaching agent, it’s a natural deodorizer and antibacterial. Just pour 1⁄2 cup of lemon juice into a bucket of hot water and soak whites overnight before laundering as usual. For stubborn underarm discoloration, squeeze the juice of one lemon directly onto the stain, add a pinch of salt and rub; rinse and repeat until the spot disappears.
Save stretched sweaters with a quick blowout.
You’re finally ready for lightweight cotton sweaters, only to find that the arms on your favorite cardigan are all stretched out. To get it back in shape fast: “Simply soak it in a bucket or sink filled with hot water for a few minutes,” says Afoma Umesi, founder of OhSoSpotless.com.
“Then lay it on a towel over a flat surface, and while it’s still wet, use your hands to mold it back to the desired shape and dry the area with a blow-dryer.” The heat will cause the fibers of the sweater to shrink and condense, allowing the fabric to regain its original shape.
Brighten faded colors with a dash of salt.
If your colors don’t seem as bold as they once were, grab some table salt. “Add 1⁄2 cup of salt to the washing cycle,” says cleaning expert Aya Bradley (TheGolden.com).
“Salt works by locking in the fabric dye, helping restore vividness to colored spring clothes.” Just turn clothes inside out before tossing in the washer to minimize friction with other fabrics that can strip away color.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.