5 ways you can refresh your clothes without throwing them in the wash

Once you know how to properly wash your laundry, it should become a regular part of your weekly routine. Normally, it’s a good idea to throw your dirty clothes in for a good washing after every wear, but some items, like bras, can be worn three to four times before washing.

Regardless of what’s considered “normal,” there are times when you just have the urge to grab your favorite comfy sweats out of the hamper and wear them for another day. Right now especially, due to the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19), a lot of us are re-wearing our favorite cozy items more than usual. Particularly if you’re not able to access a laundromat right now, this could be even more of a daily habit.

That’s why we talked to laundry experts Gwen Whiting and Lindsey Boyd, co-founders of The Laundress, to get some tips on how to refresh clothes without washing them. With these easy ideas, your clothes will stay fresh and wrinkle-free just a little bit longer.

How to refresh clothes in between washes:

1Use a fabric freshening spray.

Refreshing fabric sprays work to deodorize clothing in one quick, easy mist. Whiting and Boyd say to look for sprays that contain ingredients with antibacterial properties that eliminate odor and add a fresh scent.

We love this bargain buy from Love Home and Planet. It’s dermatologist tested and naturally derived, plus it uses anti-odor technology to help clothes smell amazing. One writer uses it on her T-shirts and on other light clothing that needs a quick pick-me-up. Simply hang your item and spritz with the aerosol spray to refresh, then gently smooth out wrinkles with your hands.

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For leggings and other activewear, this Sport Spray is specially formulated to blast odors from synthetic fabrics.

2Let your clothes air out.

“Airing out your clothes is a simple but really effective way to increase longevity between wears,” Whiting tells us. If you don’t have access to an outdoor drying line, hanging pieces in an open area outside of your closet will do the trick. Since fabrics tend to hold odors, crumpling them in a pile on your floor allows them to retain the odor longer. You’d be surprised at how effective simply hanging your clothes is at airing out those odors.

If you do have access to a dryer, Whitling and Boyd say another way you can air out clothing is to use the “air dry” setting. Since you’re not using heat with this technique you don’t have to worry about shrinkage, but it does fluff up the fabric and nixes both lint and dust.

3Brush your fabrics.

Here’s one you may not have thought of: Brush your fabrics to remove lint, fuzz, pills, and hair. This will not only help your clothes look cleaner, but fabric brushes work better than a traditional lint roller because they tackle deeper set dirt and debris.

Try a regular clothing and upholstery brush for cotton shirts and delicate pieces that typically need to be hand-washed, and use a more gentle cashmere brush for knit items to release the fabric’s natural oils and rejuvenate the yarns so that they look smooth and fresh.

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4Be careful of how you store your clothing.

“Proper storage in between wears can go a long way,” Boyd tells us. So, instead of haphazardly throwing lightly soiled clothes in a lump on the floor, “make sure to fold or hang your items to avoid wrinkling,” she says.

When it comes to heavy items like sweaters, you’ll want to fold them properly to avoid stretching. For items that may wrinkle easily, you should always hang them. Another tip from Boyd is to use scented drawer liners to keep clothes smelling fresh when storing them.

5Use steam.

If you can’t get to a laundromat but have access to an iron or steamer, you’re in luck. Our experts from The Laundress say that steaming clothes is one of the easiest ways to freshen them up.

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“On high heat, steam works to eliminate odor-causing bacteria and release wrinkles,” says Whiting. “If you don’t own a steamer, you can achieve similar results by setting an iron to the “steam” setting and hovering it over the item. Be sure you’re not making direct contact with the item, as pressing down on certain fabrics, like wool, can crush or damage the fibers,” she points out.

Clearly, if you want to refresh clothes and extend their life, a little care can go a very long way.