When fall finally rolls around, or should I say shows up too soon, it’s time to think sweaters and jackets to layer on for comfort before we bring out our big winter coats. Leather and wool items can, and in many cases, will last for many years if cared for properly. They’re even known to provide decades of service for when the chill sets in this time of year. But, did you know that you can care for, and even restore items that aren’t washable at home by using simple household items? After doing some research I found some great tips to keep your non-washables looking great before the months fly by and we’re on into winter the winter months …
Here’s how to refresh 100% wool sweaters, scarves or blazers that aren’t stained, but might need a little TLC. It’s as easy as walking into your laundry room or a Laundromat! Just simply take your sweater, or other items, turn them inside out, and toss them into the dryer along with a dryer sheet. I prefer a scented one, but unscented will work just as well. Make sure to turn the dryer controls to one of the lower heat settings or air fluff. Let tumble for 10-15 minutes and remove. The air, plus the tumbling of the dryer will help release dirt and anything else that may have been sticking to the sweater. The dryer sheet will also fluff up and condition the woolly fiber making it look almost like new! If your item has a small stain on it, you might want to look into one of the at-home fabric treatments that you can purchase at any local drugstore or supermarket. I only take items that are too bulky for my dryer, or have a stain that I am unsure about removing myself, to the professional dry cleaners for bulk cleaning. It’s cheaper than individual cleaning, but you have to ask for it.
With leather jackets and coats, there are a number of things you may want to do to extend their life and beauty. With a jacket or coat that has been sitting in a closet all summer, first take a disposable dusting cloth and wipe it down gently while you check for stains or anything else that you might want to address. Next take a slightly damp microfiber cloth, or soft t-shirt material rag, and swipe it across an inexpensive bar of moisturizing soap. Work circles into the leather and leave sit for 10 minutes or so. Then buff it for a nice shine! TIP: Use an old ankle sock turned inside out to buff with. It fits over your hand perfectly!
My mom always used vinegar and water to remove salt stains from leather boots. Try one cup of water to one cup of vinegar and apply sparingly to the area affected by the salt stain. Because these stains tend to absorb deeply, you may have to repeat this a few times. When it looks like the salt is all gone, let dry and apply a paste, polish, or other leather treatment to them. I’ve learned from experience that keeping an old towel or rag in the closet near where I take my boots or shoes off is a great idea. You can wipe them off in just a minute, and they’ll require less maintenance throughout the long winter season.
Giving new life to gently used items is what Goodwill and our mantra of “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” is all about. Our mission to help others in need can be easily supported by your donations or purchases at any one of our stores, and in turn we’ll help make the lives of those we serve better and brighter too!