Laundry List: How to Keep Your Clothes Like New

Laundry List: How to Keep Your Clothes Like New
Whether it’s a certain fit that flatters your figure or a color that complements your complexion, most of us know how to shop for clothing that helps us look and feel our best. But what many people aren’t aware of is how to keep their clothes looking as good as new over time. As I’ve developed my personal style and added more investment pieces to my wardrobe, it has become even more important to me that I care for my clothes the right way.

Caring for your washable garments at home goes beyond keeping that red sock out of your load of whites. Your mother may have taught you how to sort colors and load the washer, but today I am sharing a laundry list of tips that you might not have heard before. So before you empty your hamper next time, check out these five tips to keep your clothing looking fresh and feeling soft.

Laundry List: How to Keep Your Clothes Like New

  1. Button, zip, and tie. Before you throw your clothes in the washer, spend a moment making sure that your buttons are buttoned and your zippers are zipped. It’s an extra step, but it will mean that your garments are less likely to snag one another in the load. (Case in point: metal zippers don’t mix well with sheer blouses.) Also, make sure you loosely tie drawstrings and sashes to prevent tangling.
  2. Don’t forget fabric softener. I always make sure to incorporate fabric softeners into my laundry routine. Just as you use conditioner after you shampoo to keep your tresses looking sleek and shiny, you should use fabric softener with your detergents to keep your clothes looking just as beautiful. I use Downy liquid fabric softener, especially on my pieces that are worth protecting. Downy provides amazing softness, long-lasting scent, and protection so I can see, smell and feel the difference on my clothes.
  3. Protect with a pillowcase. If you don’t have a mesh laundry bag on hand, you can protect small or delicate items using nothing other than a pillowcase. Simply place your lingerie, hosiery, and other delicates in the pillowcase and then tie it off. This trick will prevent wear and tear, and can also be used to keep track of easily misplaced items like socks. Plus, you’ll have a freshly laundered pillowcase to sleep on!
  4. Wash inside out. Protect the important part of your garment by turning your clothes inside out before washing them. Especially with dark pants and denim, this is an important step to prevent fading. If you have machine washable items that include beading, screen-printing, or other embellishments, it’s a good idea to turn these items inside out as well.
  5. Boost your scent. Scent boosters are my little secret for fresh laundry that smells amazing. Adding a scent booster, such as Downy Unstopables, to my load makes that freshly laundered scent that everyone loves last up to 12 weeks in storage. If you love the smell of fresh laundry like I do, you will wonder how you ever lived without them. My personal favorite is Downy Unstopables Spring.

Do you have any other laundry tips you’ve learned?
Share them in the comments below.

XO Lauren

Photo: Flickr
Categories: Grow, Sponsored Posts, Wear
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  • Sarah Heckle

    It seems obvious, but I’m very careful about reading washing instructions on clothing tags and following the instructions! I also make sure to read the tags before I buy clothes and decide whether or not a piece is worth special care. For example…I refuse to buy dry-clean-only pieces from Forever21. That $15 top is NOT worth $5 trips to the dry cleaners!
    Sarah – new outfit!

  • Paige

    These are great tips, especially the one about zipping and buttoning everything first. Most people would never think to do that.

  • Ashley

    These are great tips! Thanks!!

  • suzanne

    Love your bangs !
    Suzanne from

  • Grazi Oliveira

    Exactly! Completely agree with you!

  • Ashley Rizzardo

    These are some great and helpful tips. Thank you :)

  • Melia Williams

    Part of the problem with clothes looking faded is the material is roughened up (from rubbing against each other while washing). So don’t overstuff your washing machine or wash longer than needed. I also try to wash on cold as much as possible

    The Little Black Book for Shopaholics:

  • Souda Trinh

    These are great tips. I love doing laundry and I already follow all of these steps. I would really like to know, how to care for embellished tops? For example tops with fancy beaded collars, or spikes on the shoulders. Those types of shirts I usually stay away from purchasing because I hate having to hand wash too many items. They end up in a “”To be hand washed”” pile in the corner of my room, only to be forgotten for months. Any tips on that?

  • Ashley at Sincerely Miss Ash

    I do exactly all of this. Especially washing my pieces inside out and I also wash all of my dark’s and colors in cold water to prevent fading..
    Clothing isn’t exactly cheap so why not take extra care of them right?


  • Katelin Absher

    That’s exactly what I do when its laundry day!! Great tips though!!!

  • Larissa

    Super motivational for me to actually get up and do my laundry, hahah! ☺

  • Katie Elisabeth

    I always wash clothes inside out, but never thought to zip up, or tie items, to prevent any damage occurring throughout the wash! Great tip! Also love the smell of clean laundry.. it’s so nice!

    Katie xo

  • Ana Sofia

    Wash our clothes carefully, makes them last longer, and this is very good especially for those pieces that we like very much and, therefore, we wash more often.


  • Raven Locks

    I hand wash all of my delicates. Even some of my designer jeans. I have vintage clothing that looks brand new because of this. I highly recommend it :) It doesn’t take that long, either.

    xo Azu

  • Raven Locks

    Honestly, hand washing in cold water is the way to go. From my experience, it’s the only way to prevent embellished items from getting ruined. You could also dry clean.

    PS. I use Dr Mercola’s laundry detergent because it’s plant based and it isn’t harsh on my clothing.

    Hope this helps!

    xo Azu

  • Harmony

    I wash almost everything on delicate and in cold water, and always use Downey. I do not understand people that do not use fabric softener! it is the best to lie down in clean sheets that smell like lavender and are soft. I use a mesh bag for my delicates always and never dry them. They hang dry always. The Downey Lavender is the best! The spring scent is nice to. I always turn everything inside out and close zippers and snaps. Always dry on low, no need for high heat, it ruins your clothing.

  • Gina Mackey

    Do they still make Dryel? I haven’t looked for it, so don’t know for sure, but that was better for dry cleaning only pieces. I had a business suit that was DCO and used that. Dryel kept it clean and, even though it was in the dryer on LOW, it kept its shape. If they make it still, it’s worth the cost.

  • Sally Sue

    Thanks for that Downy commercial…

  • Amanda Kennedy

    when i use fabric softener i feel like the color looks more faded and dingy. does anyone else have that problem? is there anything i can do to avoid that?

  • Renuka

    folding your clothes right when they come out of the dryer significantly reduces wrinkles!

    great tips, especially the pillowcase trick :)

  • Laurence P

    It’s a really nice post, really useful. But the Downy publicity is a little too much… I really trust Lauren Conrad blog, but it feels like the post is only for Downy’s publicity. Anyway, thanks for the tips like the pillowcase, I’m going to try it for sure!!

  • Shona

    My Grandmother and Mother insist using OMO brand to wash and instead of fabric softner in the rinse cycle, add white vinegar (same amount that you’d use as the softner). You will not be left with clothes smelling of vinegar.
    The benefits:
    it will eliminate any odours that the detergent hasnt been able to lift plus that brand (OMO) already has a nice scent so a softner won’t over-power it;
    it’s cheaper than fabric softner;
    it makes your towels especially soft and fluffy;
    it wont ruin your clothes- it’s been tried and tested for decades!

  • Savvy

    I like to let the wash run with the lid open. It allows the wash to stop before draining and what not and allows the clothes to soak a while. It works well with your everyday clothes that get really dirty. Then I close the lid and let the washer continue the course.

  • Jordan Zavala

    Yes! I was told by the owner of a dry cleaner that fabric softener eats away and ruins clothes! They never use any and recommended I not use it either.

  • Sarah

    Hmmm, I think the idea of this post is good, but I disagree with a few points: First of all, buttoning your shirts before washing them will stretch the button holes eventually (see Martha Stewart on that) and secondly I wouldn’t recommend using commercial laundry detergents/fabric softeners (no matter how good they smell!) They are loaded with chemicals and foaming agents that are bad for the environment and your skin. Instead make your own laundry soap with Dr. Bronner’s or a similar liquid castile soap and baking soda. For Lauren’s “”boost your scent”” just add some essential oil. Easy and natural!

  • Marcy Brazin

    I don’t do this as much as I used to (it gets expensive) but I place a dryer sheet in between each folded item in my drawers. Or when I’m packing for a trip I use them between each item in my suitcase, your clothes will end up smelling like fresh laundry for a lot longer!

  • Amanda Kennedy

    oh i’m glad its not just me! :)

  • Jess Harmon

    I’ve been told by repairmen that fabric softener is the worst thing for your washer. It clogs everything up. I’ve seen it happen to my washer and friend’s washers as well. I won’t ever use it again. Honestly, I think this post is just a subtle commercial for Downy…

  • Deanne Castro

    Thanks for the tips!

    For more on fashion and beauty, check out my blog: Today’s topic: Favourite Celebrity Outfit Of The Week: Stacey Keibler

    Follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @MyFashAvenue


  • Jenny

    I love love love my sheets to smell fresh and clean!

  • Devin

    Thanks for the tips, I’ve learned the first one the hard way :(

    I love your bangs, so cute!

  • Nikki

    I’m a firm believer in zipping and buttoning things before washing. The teeth on zippers can do some serious damage.

  • Mayaa

    For all my jeans i always put them inside out so the denim doesnt fade

  • k.carlile

    According to my textiles professor one shouldn’t use liquid fabric softener every wash. It should really only be used a few times a month; however, I never use liquid fabric softener because of all the chemicals. I’m also allergic to formaldehyde and it’s in many scented fabric softeners.

  • Krystle

    When I purchase something that I don’t want to fade (i.e. – dark denim jeans or a cute cotton t-shirt), I wash it in vinegar before I put it in my washer.

    I clean out my kitchen sink, fill the sink to the point where the article of clothing is submerged in the water and add a few tablespoons of distilled white vinegar. Let sit for one hour and then toss it in the wash inside out.

  • sweetclementine

    Always check your pockets! You don’t want a stray tissue to shred or change jingling around the wash basin!

  • BridgetKH

    Be careful – fabric softner is often filled with toxins. Not what we want on our freshly-washed garments :)

  • sunsets829

    Hi Bridget,
    This is true with many national brands that you conveniently find in stores. However, there are natural alternatives that don’t have toxins in them. My personal favorite is Seventh Generation. :)

  • sunsets829

    Hmm…nice idea that I’ll have to try. Thanks for sharing!

  • sunsets829

    I truly appreciate & love the tips & advice you provide millions of readers every day, so I will overlook this advertising of this brand.
    On that note, I love the idea of using a pillowcase instead of laundry bag if you don’t have one on hand with you at the time. I also take the #1 very seriously as I have learned the hard way with my $300 Marc Jacobs dress. :( Advice to others- please take the few extra seconds to take care of your clothes before throwing the wash together as it will save you much heartbreak (& cash).

  • xxmeghan

    Does anyone have tips on:
    1. When chapstick gets left in the dryer and leaks oil onto your clothes?!
    2. Dryer sheet marks?!

  • tan tan 87

    Dry colored and dark clothes for about 5 mins then take out of dryer while humid and hang. Clothes keep color longer and wrinkle free

  • Kate hartland

    Laundry tips are always great! College washers and dryers are always out to get my cute clothes!

  • Priscilla Rodriguez

    Hey Nikki, I do now and ive always turned the clothes inside out too :)

  • Priscilla Rodriguez

    I will try that for special occasions, such as travel. :)

  • BJ Ballog

    I’ve learned that dryer balls are so much better,for you,your machine,and the environment

  • Kmstyles

    Hi there. try applying baby powder to oily spots just sprinkle a good amount on top of the spot leave for a few hours and then shake it out. The spot just be absorbed by the powder :) I hope this is helpful

  • Kmstyles

    To get your whites really white. Fill your washer with as little water as possible for the amount of clothes you’re washing. The water should be almost boiling hot so if your washer doesn’t get hot, boil water in a pot prior to washing to boost the temp. Pour in Bleach and some detergent and your good to go. This trick gets out some of the most stubborn stains on white clothes. Remember to pre-treat the stain if it’s really stubborn like grass, or anything red. But this even fades drips of blood

  • honeybadgerld

    I was going to write this for my tip. I especially throw dryer sheets in with my linens in the closet, the bottom of my drawers, and in tubs where I don’t use the clothing as much (stored sweaters or cold weather items like snow gear). It doesn’t last forever, but definitely helps keep things fresh!

  • Alyssarae

    It’s subtle?

  • Katlynw02

    For those concerned about the chemicals and non-earth-friendlyness of most fabric softeners, Method makes a great one now! Besides being free of toxic or animal derived (lots of dryer sheets actually use animal fat!) ingredients, since you just spray it on your clothes before turning the dryer on, you aren’t creating extra waste. My first 2 bottles had nozzle issues but they seemed to have fixed that now. I usually buy mine at Target (their cartwheel app usually had a discount on it too!)

    • Beth

      Thankful someone is paying attention to the chemicals they use!!!

      • Beth

        also softened water is a chemical free easy way to see/feel the difference!!

  • DAni

    Wow, what blatant advertisement.

  • Kelsey

    Really helpful! I’ve ruined countless amounts of clothes from being careless with my washing techniques.

  • Jordan Alexandra

    Instead of bleach, I’ve found Oxyclean works SO much better! I notice after time bleach sometimes makes whites have a yellowy tinge. And the smell is can be overwhelming! Oxyclean makes my whites absolutely GLOW and look brand new! I’ve never had it be too harsh for any of my stuff.

    And if you need to get a few wrinkles out of a blouse really quick, throw it in the dryer with a wet pair of socks! It works like a steamer!

  • frillymontana

    What’s so bad about that? This site has a ton of useful stuff on it for FREE and the advertisements are pretty minimal. They should make some money for what they do!!!!

  • frillymontana

    Dude big deal! I love Downy too! It smells so dang good. What is the big deal?

  • DAni

    When you go around saying stuff people pay you to say that may not be true, it hurts your reputation. What good is free information if I can’t trust it to be true?

  • Kailyn Cornish

    Maybe you should create and maintain a site for free

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  • aJAY13

    These tips are amazing. I’m def gonna try the pillow case tip and washing items inside out.

  • Tiffani Stuart

    I just bought the Down Unstoppable in Spring! And I LOVE it! I want to sprinkle it everywhere! I wonder how making a pouch of it to sit in my car will do! Thanks for the recommendation! I love it!

  • Rimedi della Nonna

    Hi ,
    nice tips! Often we can also use natural recipes to wash or pre-wash clothes, I have collected some of them here:


  • Kamile Ko

    I would also recommend to not save money on clothes softener, just because it helps to keep clothes soft, but also to keep it colouful and so on. Not far away I discovered new clothes softenes, which looks like this- Weichspuler , and I do not believe that there is smth better in the market

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    Hey would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re utilizing? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different web browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you suggest a good internet hosting provider at a honest price? Thank you,I appreciate it!

  • Josseline Jones

    I’ve always had problems with the scent of the stored clothes when I open the vacuum bags in spring. I put them inside clean,dried and well scented, but they smell different few months later. It’s a great idea to add a scent booster to the clothes! Thank you, I’ll try it. Greets!

    Josseline Jones

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