7 Things in Your Closet You Should Wash Only Once a Year
We promise it’s still hygienic
Sometimes less really is more. When it comes to these seven closet staples, scale back on the cleaning. It may seem counterintuitive, but it will keep them in better shape over time.
Your real denim
Aka your old-school cotton jeans. You know, the ones that get even better with wear (not the ones with 45 percent Lycra that require a rewash to shrink back any stretchage). Your pure cotton is at risk of spin-cycle damage so it’s best to skip it all together. To refresh your denim every few wears, spritz it down with a fabric freshener and give it a quick steam to pull out any odors. Then, when you do properly launder it, turn the item inside out, only use cold water and never (ever) stick it in the dryer.
Your wool coat
Hopefully you should be taking your coat to your dry cleaner at the end of each season. But anything beyond that is overkill. You can spot treat your coat with a lint brush to remove any hidden surface soil and maintain its shape by placing it on a sturdy wooden hanger (one that won’t buckle at the coat’s weight) with plenty of breathing room in the closet.
That vintage poncho you bought at the flea market
God only knows how old this thing is or how it’s been treated, so don’t tempt its fate in the washing machine. Obviously, give it a warm hand wash right after purchasing, but after that, treat your heavy vintage fabrics like you would your coats: Give them a good brush and plenty of air between wears.
Your leather jacket
Leather doesn’t come cheap, so leave it to the professionals when it comes time to clean. You can spot-clean spills yourself by wiping them off with a damp cloth. Just make sure to let it dry completely before putting it away. On that note, always keep the jacket hanging in a well-ventilated closet (or a breathable storage bag during the off-season) so it doesn’t dry out.
Your fashion-only sneakers
We’re not talking the pairs you wear to the gym. (Please, dear God, wash those often.) We’re talking about trendy little joints you wear to brunch. Right after you buy any, treat them with a stain and water repellent to ward off dirt. Should you see any visible stains, feel free to give them a once-over with a Magic Eraser. But never toss these in the washing machine. Instead, once a year, consider a gentle soak in the sink to rid the soles of bacteria buildup.
Just keeping your rings on when you wash your hands gives your jewelry a necessary spot clean. But don’t worry about doing anything else to them, aside from the yearly trip to the jeweler to check the prongs and give it a steam clean to dislodge any dirt and oil.
Your trusty wool beanie might soak up all your hair grease, but your weekend felt topper is far less absorbent. Just give it a nice, thorough brush (in one direction!) to remove any lint or soil between wears. Turn the sweatband down and let it air out (to keep any perspiration from soaking into the felt). When storing the hat, set it upside-down on its crown and in a hatbox (or a clean surface) to help it keep its shape and prevent stains. This should keep your hat in good shape, but if you have a stubborn stain, take it to the cleaners.