Stylish Men Understand Laundry Care Symbols

There are many things the modern man must face on his own these days and one of the scariest things just might be laundry. Okay, it may not be the scariest thing you will face in your day to day life but when you ruin your favourite shirt due to the fact that you didn’t bother to read the care instructions you will finally understand the fear we are talking about. How will you ever replace it? Do they even make that shirt anymore? Probably not. Fear not, the whole situation can be avoided with a little laundry care education.

Most guys think they mastered the art of doing their own laundry during their college days. Back then laundry was easy – jeans, t shirts and underwear. Hard to screw that up; you separated colours from whites and threw them all in the dryer. But as you have grown up, so have your clothes. And here’s the rub – nicer clothes are easier to destroy.

Read the care tags
This may seem obvious but you would be amazed how many of your clothes have care tags you have never even examined. Be aware that most clothing manufacturers err on the side of caution; there is always a little big of wiggle room. But we wouldn’t recommend ignoring some of the more extreme instructions – no bleach means no bleach; lay to dry probably doesn’t mean put it on high heat. You can probably throw some of your dress shirts into the wash that say dry clean only but do it on a cold wash and a hang to dry, and separate them out – dress shirts shouldn’t be washed with your selvedge denim.  To make this simpler, we have included a handy chart to save the day.

Make separate piles
This may seem obvious – white and colours should be washed separately but also consider the fabric type too. Like-minded items should be washed together, for example a pile of gym clothes, pajamas, and cotton T-shirts can probably be washed all together in warm water and dried in high heat. If you are not sure and the fabric seems to be a mixed bag, cold wash and low heat dry is your safest beat. Just ensure that you separate out delicate items (this is extremely important if you are now cohabiting and you want to keep her around).

Not all detergent is created equal
Any brand of bleach and a color-safe detergent may work for the majority of your laundry needs but unless your wardrobe is all t shirts and sweatpants you will need a few other options as well. Brands like Woolite were made specifically for delicates and their Darks detergent really does keep your blacks blacker longer. Consider adding a colour safe spot stain remover and a mesh bag (which helps fabrics from getting snagged in the wash or dryer) to your laundry arsenal. Finally, invest in a steamer – it will change your life.

Extra tips:

  • If you want to keep your dark raw denim longer, resist washing them as long as possible and then wash them inside out and in a cold wash. Hang to dry.
  • A dryer will make clothes fade faster so consider hanging items to dry to preserve the colour.
  • Items made with delicate fabrics that can stretch out easily should always be laid flat to dry – wool sweaters are a prime example.

Christian Dare

Christian Dare

Christian Dare spent much of his formative years working in the fashion industry as a Visual Manager before pursuing a Masters’ Degree in Design. He is the Principal at Christian Dare Creative, the co-founder of Stylist Box and runs a successful men’s lifestyle blog, Christian Dare Edited,focusing on menswear, interior design and craft cocktails. You can find him online at www.christiandareedited.com or follow him on Twitter @christiandare but he is more fun on Instagram christian_dare. 

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