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Fed up with clothes not looking nice after one wash

Mr Tickle

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Not sure what I am doing wrong but I am losing enthusiasm for buying "nice" clothes due to the frequency with which after one wash they are losing their shape or becoming worn-looking. It's obviously something I'm doing wrong because I have bought similar items to ones I have ruined second hand, and the original owners have obviously managed to keep them looking nice. An example was a merino wool long-sleeved polo top that I bought on eBay not long ago. I could tell from the faded label that it had been washed but apart from that it was in pristine condition. After one wash by me, however (of course, sticking exactly to the directions on the label) it is noticeably tighter on me. And the collar is misshapen to the point is wrinkled and no longer sits flat.

Another recent example is linen/cotton shirt from Drakes that I have owned from brand new, which after one of wash has become very wrinkled and even ironing doesn't get it back to a very nice state.

It's disappointing due to how, despite it being an expensive and quality item of clothing, by the time it's been through the wash once, I'd feel smarter wearing a significantly lower-quality and cheaper, but brand new, item of the same type from a mass-market retailer. Is there anything obvious I am doing wrong?
 

Napolizzi

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stop putting things in the washing machine, stop using soaps

for expensive items just hand wash in a basin with plain water and line dry
 

Mr Tickle

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Maybe that is the answer? The problem I always have with hand washing however is that the clothes come out very wet and take long time to dry. It's even worse when the items specify "dry flat" on the label, am I supposed to leave my floors carpeted with them for days while I wait for them to dry?

Edit: also, is your suggestion going to remove stains? I am sure will need some type of detergent for that.
 

Napolizzi

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Maybe that is the answer? The problem I always have with hand washing however is that the clothes come out very wet and take long time to dry. It's even worse when the items specify "dry flat" on the label, am I supposed to leave my floors carpeted with them for days while I wait for them to dry?

Edit: also, is your suggestion going to remove stains? I am sure will need some type of detergent for that.
yes stains are an issue, but you should not really be making stains when wearing nice clothing, it happens sometimes and you can get stain remover to target that area specifically

what i do is wrap it in a towel squeeze the water out, then hang or if its wool lie flat. leave in the sun for 1 hour max and it will get rid of any odour then take in the shade

but for my really expensive shirts, i will not wash them much at all...just hang them dry on the line if they get sweaty
 

breakaway01

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I can’t imagine just hanging a sweaty shirt to dry and then wearing it again. Collar stains, sweat stains, etc are not coming out that way. I have no problem washing shirts, either at the cleaners or at home. Iron while still a little damp or lightly spray to dampen. Shouldn’t be hard to iron your Drake’s shirt but if you’re running into problems just take it to your cleaners.

I don’t machine wash wool knitwear. Should be no issues with shrinkage if you either dry clean or hand wash in cool water with a gentle soap. Roll in a towel to get most of the water out. I hope you did not put your wool polo in a dryer?
 

Mr Tickle

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No, don't own a dryer and definitely wouldn't put wool in it!
I am wondering if there is a problem with the detergent I am using. The polo, for example, definitely says on the label that it can be washed at 30 and doesn't say anything about using a particular program or detergent. But I have heard people talking about special wool detergents.
 

breakaway01

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No, don't own a dryer and definitely wouldn't put wool in it!
I am wondering if there is a problem with the detergent I am using. The polo, for example, definitely says on the label that it can be washed at 30 and doesn't say anything about using a particular program or detergent. But I have heard people talking about special wool detergents.
Woolite is the best-known wool detergent. Some people just use baby shampoo. The Laundress is another popular brand.

Something you may need to do with your wool polo is to gently stretch it into shape whilst it is still damp.

If you haven't machine-dried your wool polo, I doubt that there has been any irreparable harm done. Try soaking it in tepid water again, pressing out most of the water by rolling in a towel, and stretching it back out by hand while still wet/damp. The collar can be ironed if wrinkled. For polos
I don’t press a crease where the collar meets the neckband. I flip the collar up and press from the back to smooth it out.
 
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DapperPhilly

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I don't know what you are doing wrong.
I have shirts ( 6 or 7 MTO) from Collaro, S&M, Corneliani, and Canali.
I wash them cold short cycle (front loader) low spin and then hang dry and iron.
Most look like new. As OP says, have to use detergent for collar stain or other.
I use Woolite.
 

rjc149

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I do not wash any of my tailored menswear garments myself -- they're all professionally cleaned. Suits, dress slacks, dress shirts, coats and sweaters all go to the cleaners. This is why I don't own or wear wool shirts, or wool garments in direct contact with my armpits, which need to be washed after 1-2 wears.

I have all my dress shirts laundered mainly because I prefer to avoid the drudgery of washing, drying, and ironing dress shirts every weekend. I don't own very high-end white dress shirts because they get worn, stained, and washed all the time and I consider them essentially disposable.

I wash my chinos and polo shirts in my washing machine, on cold/delicate cycle, and hang them on a rack to dry.
 

Mr Tickle

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Yeah, suits, coats etc I take to the cleaners.
It's mainly wool and linen I have problems with. Most cotton stuff seems to wash fine really. But wool polos, overshirts etc are a real pain, as are linen trousers, shirts and jackets (I have a fairly expensive linen Harrington that has just never looked particularly sharp since I first washed it - wrinkled but not in a cool/casual way - just looks messy - and misshapen collar/lapels. Despite me having tried steaming it, ironing when damp etc, and all the other things I've seen suggested for linen.)
 

Northants bloke

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I just tend to avoid too much knitwear. Linen machine wash shape and hang outside, heated clothes horse or radiator if its cold
 

Daniel Hakimi

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An example was a merino wool long-sleeved polo top that I bought on eBay not long ago. I could tell from the faded label that it had been washed but apart from that it was in pristine condition. After one wash by me, however (of course, sticking exactly to the directions on the label) it is noticeably tighter on me. And the collar is misshapen to the point is wrinkled and no longer sits flat.
It's merino wool. You generally don't want to wash it any more than you absolutely need to. If you do, you hand wash it, and if you do machine wash it, you put it in a garment bag, cold wash, delicate cycle, lay fat to dry. But even that, for a polo, is probably going to be a dangerous move. Ther'es no lining in a knit polo's collar. Did you really think throwing it in a machine that soaks it in water and paddles it around a big metal cylinder for a while was going to end well?

Another recent example is linen/cotton shirt from Drakes that I have owned from brand new, which after one of wash has become very wrinkled and even ironing doesn't get it back to a very nice state.
Linen wrinkles. If you don't think your cotton/linen shirt looks nice when it's at least a little bit wrinkled, you got the wrong kind of shirt. you could try taking it to a professional cleaners' for a wash + iron, they might satisfy you for a bit, but even then, it will wrinkle again, and you will be disappointed.

Drake's actually shows wrinkled and aged garments in their lookbooks more often than most brands.

Maybe I misunderstand how bad it is, but "not very nice" sounds like twisted expectations to me.
 

breakaway01

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It's merino wool. You generally don't want to wash it any more than you absolutely need to. If you do, you hand wash it, and if you do machine wash it, you put it in a garment bag, cold wash, delicate cycle, lay fat to dry. But even that, for a polo, is probably going to be a dangerous move. Ther'es no lining in a knit polo's collar. Did you really think throwing it in a machine that soaks it in water and paddles it around a big metal cylinder for a while was going to end well?



Linen wrinkles. If you don't think your cotton/linen shirt looks nice when it's at least a little bit wrinkled, you got the wrong kind of shirt. you could try taking it to a professional cleaners' for a wash + iron, they might satisfy you for a bit, but even then, it will wrinkle again, and you will be disappointed.

Drake's actually shows wrinkled and aged garments in their lookbooks more often than most brands.

Maybe I misunderstand how bad it is, but "not very nice" sounds like twisted expectations to me.
you should lay off the condescension a bit.
 

rjc149

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Yeah, suits, coats etc I take to the cleaners.
It's mainly wool and linen I have problems with. Most cotton stuff seems to wash fine really. But wool polos, overshirts etc are a real pain, as are linen trousers, shirts and jackets (I have a fairly expensive linen Harrington that has just never looked particularly sharp since I first washed it - wrinkled but not in a cool/casual way - just looks messy - and misshapen collar/lapels. Despite me having tried steaming it, ironing when damp etc, and all the other things I've seen suggested for linen.)
I've had good results steaming my linen shirts, but I've also embraced linen as summertime casual attire only, where wrinkles and some crumpling are part of the relaxed aesthetic. Many of my linen shirts have collar tab slots, which I use.

Have you tried simply hanging linen from a hanger to dry? I find this leaves the shirts wearable, without the extra step of steaming them.

Ease of care and maintenance is a significant factor into whether I purchase something. I don't own white pants or sneakers, mechanical watches, leather watch straps, knitwear shirts, or any garment with the instructions "handwash only" for this reason. I like things to be reliable, sturdy, long-lasting, overbuilt, and easy to clean/maintain. Shedding the unnecessary complexities of life is quite liberating.
 

Blastwice

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Dress shirts I launder in a washing machine. Pod type soap, nothing special. Tumble dry on the lowest setting, and then steaming along with ironing for the finer bits. I invested in a Jiffy Steamer a few years ago and it takes me 20 minutes tops to steam 1-2 loads of laundry. Clean the steamer per the instructions and you're golden. But also invest in a nice steamer.

Suiting and woolens go to the dry cleaners, of course. Woolens I find tend to remain fresh and wearable for longer than you think, unless there are cocktails involved. Wear them and put them back in the closet and get them dry cleaned sometimes. (Assuming you aren't a smoker, work in a sewage processing facility, etc.)

Jeans, selvedge, etc. I wear until I feel like it needs a wash, which can often be after weeks or months of "wear" meaning, during those time periods I might be wearing the same pair of jeans 1-2 days a week at most. Then, depending on a number of factors I either dry clean or machine wash the jeans. Nicer jeans I tend to dry clean to keep them looking newer longer, but there are many opinions on how to best care for denim.

Generally, with pants I try to always hang dry these; and then a bit of steam and/or an iron really makes them crisp. Perhaps just a preference.

Linen or wool shirting/suiting also goes to the dry cleaners. I only really wear it in the summer and let it crumple. Sufficient blends of linen-cotton for shirts or pants should have no issue with a spin cycle.

I've started washing my wool and wool/cashmere socks in a delicates bag-- with the intention of increasing their lifetimes and appearance and I think it helps somewhat.
 

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