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7 Simple Ways to Care for Your Summer Wardrobe

How to stop your sunglasses from stretching, fold your favorite airy sweater, and keep your whites as white as possible.

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Brighten your whites

If you don’t already sort your whites into a whites-only laundry load, start now (and stop making these laundry mistakes). Once you’ve got them separated, set your washing machine to hot, and choose a detergent with a bleach alternative or enzymes. Add a laundry booster, such as borax, oxygen bleach, or washing soda, suggests Here’s how to remove sweat stains from the armpit area of your shirts.

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iStock/Vladan Milisavljevic

Savor the perks of linen

So you moved your arm the wrong way and now your linen shirt is totally wrinkled? Embrace it—linen is a wrinkle-friendly fabric. Iron this summer staple on high heat and high steam before it is fully dried (if the item is already dry, spray it with water first). Pay extra attention to collars and cuffs while ironing, but once you’ve got the item on, don’t sweat a few wrinkles. A crinkle here and there adds character to your ensemble and accentuates the laid-back look of the fabric.

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Protect your bathing suits

As soon as you remove your bathing suit, whether you were swimming or sunbathing, rinse it in cool tap water to prevent body oils, sweat, and chlorine from harming your suit’s elasticity and color. Next, hand-wash the item in your sink with cool water and a tablespoon of liquid detergent. Allow the suit to air dry.

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Don’t screw up silk clothing

Because it’s a natural fabric and breathes easily, silk wears wonderfully during summer—especially in an airy cut. But because most silk garments are dry clean-only, it can be tough to keep them clean during the sweatier summer months. If your garment’s care instructions say you can wash it by hand, give it a go in your sink with cold water and mild detergent. Allow the piece to air dry and hang it in your closet on a padded hanger.

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Prevent fading

Sunlight can cause leather bags and shoes to fade. Store these accessories in dust bags to prevent damage. If you lost the ones they came with, use an old pillowcase. After each wear and before storing, wipe leather with a warm wet cloth to remove any dirt or dust. For leather sandals, hold onto the plastic inserts they are sold with, and replace them after each wear to maintain the shoe’s shape. Here’s how to make your shoes last longer.

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Protect cashmere

A light cashmere sweater is the ultimate summer luxury. Between cleanings, store cashmere flat in a drawer, or fold the sweater and drape it over the rod of a hanger (hanging the sweater by its shoulders will cause it to stretch out). For hand-wash cashmere, try this technique from Real Simple: Fill your sink with slightly warm water and add a small amount of gentle fine-washables detergent. Baby shampoo works well. Place your sweater into the sink, and swirl it around in a circular motion. Twirl for two to five minutes. Keep the sweater in the sink as you drain the suds and refill with clean water. Avoid allowing the water to beat directly onto the fabric. When no soap remains, drain the water and create a loose ball with the fabric and press it against the side of the sink. Be gentle—wringing the sweater out does just as much damage as tossing it in the washing machine. Place a large towel on a table and lay the sweater on top of it. Starting at the top of the sweater, roll the towel and the garment together, squeezing out as much water as possible. Unroll and allow to air dry.

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Store sunglasses safely

That headband trick you do with your sunglasses to keep your hair out of your face? Totally not good for your glasses. Over time, this will cause them to stretch out. Keep these accessories looking new by consciously carrying them in a case and regularly cleaning them with a microfiber cloth.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest