We invest a lot of money in our outerwear. And rightly so. After all, the better the quality the warmer they’ll keep you. And people see your coat before they see your outfit underneath. But let’s be honest… you’ve never washed your winter coat? And if you had to smell your coat, what do you think it would smell like? This likely depends on a number of factors – like where you wear it, how often you wear it and how long you’ve had it.
But the takeaway is the same: Coats are clothes too. And often, they are expensive garments that need to be properly cared for. The problem with never washing your coat is that daily dirt and grime eventually build up, creating a dirty appearance that will completely ruin the look of the coat over time. Treat your outerwear well and it will last longer and look better.
Spot Cleaning: If you have a small spill or splatter, you do not need to wash the entire coat. Simply blot (do not rub) with cool soda water using an absorbent cloth and remove the offending stain.
Sure, you can drop off your overcoat at the dry cleaners. There is no problem. But don’t think that your fancy top coat or pea coat can’t be washed at home. It is a simple process that is easily completed.
Treat collar and sleeves with pretreatment stain remover. Turn the coat inside out and treat the underarms of your coat as well (as most overcoats fit more snugly there).
add a detergent
Prefer Woolite or The Laundress Wool and Cashmere Shampoo to your washer. Put the coat in and set the cycle to “gentle,” using cold or warm water. (You can use a mesh wash bag to prevent any blockage.)
hang to dry
If necessary, steam out the wrinkles. Never put a wool coat in the dryer as it will shrink. The washer’s spin cycle should wring out any excess water, but you can also roll the jacket in a clean towel and squeeze out any excess moisture.
Pro tip: In between washes, keep your coat clean by brushing it with a suit brush. Lay it flat on a hard surface and brush on, starting at the top and working your way down. Be sure to hit areas like under the arms and above pockets, which can easily collect lint.
Boar Bristles Clothes Brush and Lint Remover,
$25.99 by Amazon
Boar Bristle Cloth Brush and Lint Remover, $25.99 by Amazon
Down jackets, parkas and puffer vests
Washing your down-filled outerwear thoroughly once a season will help retain feather oils and keep it from looking like a worn-out sleeping bag.
Check collar and sleeves and apply pretreatment stain remover if there is noticeable grime. (There will be dirt).
wash with warm/cold water
Select the delicate cycle and use your standard laundry detergent. One caveat: When you take the coat out of the washer, it’ll look pretty tattered—wet and disheveled, but everything will be fine in the dryer.
dry on low heat
Use a low tumble cycle. Adding clean tennis balls (or wool dryer balls ) will help redistribute and fluff the down filling and prevent clumping.
Pro Tip: To remove strong odors like smoke, mildew, or spoilage, The Laundress’s Washing Guru suggests adding 1/4 cup of vinegar to the machine before starting the wash cycle. All white vinegar is safe for down, but you can also try a scented version that smells like lavender.
Cleaning Vinegar, $19.99 by Harris
Cleaning Vinegar, $19.99 by Harris
Woolen outerwear is primarily made from polyester due to its warmth and water-repellent properties. Washing can ensure that the texture of the wool is not tangled.
turn wool items inside out
Wash on gentle cycle using cold or warm water. Ideally, wash it separately from other clothes so the wool doesn’t fray. You can also hand wash them in the sink.
Use a mild, powdered detergent
Such as Seventh Generation or All Free and Clear . Standard liquid detergents can cause wool to lose its water-repellent properties.
you can air dry
Lay the jacket on a towel rack, or tumble dry on low in the dryer. If using a dryer, do not add dryer sheets and remove immediately after cycle is complete to prevent any wrinkles from occurring.
Pro tip: Need to brighten up a dingy fleece jacket? Add some OxiClean to your wash cycle to help lift out any stuck-on dirt and generally lighten a dull appearance.
OxiClean by Chlorine-Free Stain Remover,
Chlorine Free Stain Remover, $14.49 by OxiClean
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