Don’t Let a Bad Winter Ruin Your Good Clothes

Winter can be tough on clothes just as it’s hard on your skin and hair. There’s salt on snow-covered streets that stains your shoes and pant cuffs. There’s static in the dry winter air that attracts lint to your coat. Don’t let winter weather woes ruin your favorite boots or prized leather jacket. Got vinegar and hair conditioner? You’ve got a shoe saver. Got a wire hanger or hairspray? You can banish static cling. Protect your winter wardrobe from the elements with these easy cures.

Eliminate salt stains.

Leather and suede boots take a lot of abuse trudging through snow and ice. Salt on snow-piled sidewalks can leave a white line on your pricey Aquazzuras, so you’ll need to act fast to protect your investment. When you get home, stir up a mixture of two parts water and one part white vinegar. Spray the solution on your boots or dip a cloth into the mixture and then rub the dampened cloth over the salt line. Follow up by rubbing the boots with a cloth dampened with only water. Once the shoes are dry, the stain will disappear.

If your pant cuffs come into contact with winter street salt, wipe off residue with a cold damp cloth and let air dry. Brush off salt before cleaning at home or taking the pants to a dry cleaner. Make sure you point out the treated area to your dry cleaner. Salt can cause damage during the dry-cleaning process.

Dry clothes before closeting.

Caught in a snow storm? Don’t hang up your wet coat or damp clothes in your closet as soon as you walk through your door. Let them dry outside the closet. Stashing damp clothes in the dark confined space of a closet invites mildew into your life. Even dry clothes and shoes need a 30-minute timeout before you put them away. Letting coats and jackets rest on a clothes rack or hanger before putting them away will prolong their life. Throwing them on the bed will produce wrinkles.

Rotate your favorites.

Everybody has certain pieces they wear constantly, and you want to keep them looking fresh as long as you can. Prolonging the life of your favorite sweaters and jackets is the name of the game, so rotate them just as you rotate your shoes. Give them a chance to breathe and regain their shape.

Banish static with wire hangers.

Clothes cling to you in winter because dry air creates a static charge. Defuse that charge by rubbing a metal hanger from the dry cleaners over your clothes. If you don’t have a hanger handy, spritz your clothes with hairspray. The hairspray’s alcohol is nifty at neutralizing static charge.

Soften scratchy wool.

Got a love-hate relationship with a sweater? You love the look but hate wearing because it’s so itchy? Turn the sweater inside out and soak it in cold water. Add ¼ cup of white vinegar to the mix and let it soak for 15 minutes. Drain the solution and then work about ¼ cup of hair conditioner through the sweater. Allow the conditioner to soften fibers for 30 minutes before you rinse with cold water. Lay the sweater flat to dry. Tip: Placing the dry sweater in a bag in the freezer overnight will lock in softness.

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