25 New Clothing-Care Uses for Old Things
Nestle tea bags scented with jasmine, mint, or vanilla into a dresser drawer to infuse your clothes with a fresh, subtle fragrance.
Help wet shoes preserve their shape―and speed up drying―by placing crumpled newspaper in them overnight.
Velcro as Blouse Closer
Prevent a blouse or jacket from gaping open by sewing small pieces of Velcro between the buttons.
Pencil as Zipper Releaser
Unstick a stubborn zipper by rubbing the teeth on both sides with a pencil—graphite is an excellent lubricant.
Dryer Sheet as Static Stopper
Stop static cling on clothes—or tame flyaway hair—by rubbing a sheet over the problem area.
More new uses for dryer sheets: Insert half of one into a shoe, slipper, or sneaker to combat odor. (Bonus uses: Toss dryer sheets in hampers, on closet shelves, in diaper bags.)
And run a threaded needle through a dryer sheet right before you begin sewing to prevent the thread from tangling.
Wire Hanger as Static Stopper
Nix static cling by running a wire hanger over the spots where your clothing tends to bunch or climb.
Starch as Stain Blocker
Spray starch on white sneakers to help repel dirt and grime and keep your kicks looking fresh from the box.
Salt as Wine Stain Remover
Lift red wine stains from washables with this fix: Stretch fabric over a bowl, cover with salt, and then carefully pour boiling water over it.
Emery Board as Stain Remover
Remove small stains from suede by gently rubbing the file (either side) across the problem area a few times to get rid of the splotch and refresh the nap.
Flat Iron as Touch-Up Iron
Get between buttons, where a regular iron won’t fit, with a straightening iron. Try it on collar creases and minor wrinkles, too.
Aluminum foil helps smooth out delicate fabrics that can’t take heat directly: Place a piece on your ironing board; lay the garment flat over it. Holding down the steam button, pass the iron over the fabric several times, keeping it three to four inches above the garment. Wet heat radiating from the foil will zap wrinkles.
Baby Powder as Stain Guard
Sprinkle a little on the shirt’s underarms and collar, then iron to prevent sweat stains on white shirts. The powder forms a barrier that keeps oil and grime from seeping into the threads.
Traveling? Protect your nicest shoes from wear and tear by slipping them into a clean pair of men’s socks.
Bubble Wrap as Jewelry Detangler
Place chains and earrings on a length of the plastic, roll tightly, and tape closed.
Clear nail polish will keep a loose eyeglass screw in line: Tighten it, then dab polish across the top for a longer-lasting fix.
If a screw has already gone missing, replace it with an earring for a temporary fix.
Vinegar as Shoe Cleaner
Erase salt stains from leather and suede shoes by making a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water and applying it with a cotton rag.
White vinegar also makes wool sweaters fluffier: Drop in a couple of capfuls during the rinse cycle to give your wool cardis and pullovers an extra-soft feel.
Baby Wipes as Stain Removers
Has your deodorant left its mark? A baby wipe works to lift those hard-to-remove stains.
Yes, Swiffer sheets do wonders on your floors and furniture, but you can use them to clean leather shoes, too. You’d be amazed how much dust clings to footwear.
Lip Balm as Shoelace Sealer
A bit of lip balm will keep shoelaces from coming undone. Coat the strings where you loop and knot them, and they won’t budge.
Rubber Band as Waistband Extender
Make pants pregnancy-proof by looping a rubber band through the buttonhole, then securing the band's end around the button, giving your belly a few more inches of breathing room.
Ice-Cube Tray as Jewelry Organizer
Store jewelry in ice-cube trays. Stack trays in a drawer for a multitiered alternative jewelry box.