Last week my husband came home from work and announced that he had a black shoe polish stain on the cuff of his white Brooks Brothers dress shirt. Apparently he had decided to clean up his shoes before an important meeting, but things didn’t quite go as planned. My reaction? Yay, a laundry challenge! Something tells me this is not the way normal people react to such things, but I’m sure you, my blog readers, will understand.
I was getting out my cold weather gear a couple of weeks ago and realized that there was a time when I had no idea how to wash a down jacket. I would actually pay through the nose to get my down jackets cleaned at the dry cleaner and once got a jacket back with a broken zipper! So I thought I’d walk you through the process and show you just how effective home laundering in your washing machine can be for down garments.
Now, in an ideal world I would wash my down jackets before putting them away for the season. But in reality I am always so eager to make space in our tiny coat closet for summer wear that I end up sticking everything in the spare room closet, washed or not. But thanks to that I have a great example to work with.
I always wondered why anyone would buy a white down jacket – how impractical, right? But then I saw this one on clearance at Land’s End for less than $30 and decided that even if it lasts me one season it would be worth it. And here we are 3 years later. This is a knee length down jacket that I lovingly call the “giant white caterpillar”. I mostly wear this down jacket on super cold weather dog walks, so it tends to get quite dirty (as you can see).
If you’ve ever exercised in moisture wicking-type synthetic gear, I’m sure you’ve experienced that annoying situation: you put on a clean t-shirt, start your workout and five minutes later your exercise clothes smell as though you never wash them. Just great.
The reason why this happens is the nature of moisture wicking fabrics. There are lots of tiny pores (much smaller than with natural fabrics like cotton or wool) where sweat and odor-causing bacteria get trapped, and throwing your exercise gear in with a regular load just doesn’t get all of it out. The more you exercise, the more bacteria gets trapped, leading to a vicious cycle of either being the smelly person at the gym, or throwing away perfectly good exercise gear on a regular basis.
The good news is that there is a way to get rid of most smells in exercise clothes (and to stop them from reappearing), and with a little bit of time and effort you can save your workout wardrobe!