Around the House: Keep Your Winter Coats Looking Clean and Feeling Fresh

Around the House: Keep Your Winter Coats Looking Clean and Feeling Fresh

by Yehudit Garmaise

Before heading out to brave the cold, New Yorkers should take some time to give their winter outerwear some tender loving care.

Consider the following tips to keep your family’s winter coats and other outerwear looking and feeling great while keeping everyone nice and warm.

1. Don’t forget to wash your coat regularly. Like other clothing, winter coats get dirty and stained.

Even more than other clothing, environmental dirt, germs, and bacteria collect on outerwear, which can collect city grime and germs during cold and flu season. 

Every week, or every other week, collect your family’s parkas and puffer coats.

First, ask everyone to empty their pockets so you don’t wash tissues, markers, candy, or other odds and ends that can stain the coats or create other messes. 

2. Locate any stains that need to be sprayed with a stain remover. Let the dirty coats sit for a few minutes so the stain remover can start to work on removing the stains.

3. Throw your parkas and puffer jackets in the laundry machine together after checking each coat’s label for washing instructions. Most coats can be washed in cold water on a delicate cycle. Replace any coats whose stains do not come out in the wash.

Once a week, wash all gloves, mittens, hats, and scarves, and dry them on a low setting or leave them to dry on drying racks.

Wool coats should not be machine-washed. Instead, they should be taken to the dry cleaners at least once, but maybe twice each winter season.

4. Dry coats on a low and gentle cycle. Avoid high heat settings to prevent coats from shrinking.

Alternatively, you can hang the coats on hangers and leave them out to dry.  You might need to shake out the coat once it is dry so it doesn’t look flattened out by the washing process.

5. To prevent driers from flattening out your coats’ feathers, toss in a dryer ball. Dryer balls, which reduce clumps and smooth wrinkles, help redistribute the feathers and fill on the inside of your outerwear. 

6. Inspect coats to see which ones need mending. Ask each family member whether they were bothered by any rips, tears, or loose threads from last season. Do pockets have holes in them? Are buttons missing, or are any zippers broken? Are coat linings ripped? Local seamstresses or tailors can sew up any small rips, but major tears and broken zippers usually necessitate buying new coats.

7. When the sun comes out in the spring, check for rips and tears to get them mended to have one less thing to do next fall. Before storing your coats for the summer, make sure to wash everything so when the temperature starts to drop, everyone is ready right away to bundle up.

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