Looking to wear a sundress or short-sleeved shirt for a BBQ, but it’s wrinkly and has a musty odor? Well, you can restore those warm weather clothes in no time with a few tricks. Here are six budget-friendly laundry hacks guaranteed to make all your summer favorites feel new again!
Restore faded colors with this rinse.
Pull out your red sundress only to find it duller than you remember? “Detergent residue and hard water fade colors over time,” says seamstress Bonnie Fisher. The fix: Mix 1⁄2 cup of white vinegar and 1⁄2 cup of salt, pour in the washer, then toss in your clothes and wash on cold. “Vinegar and salt break up minerals that settle on garments, leaving brighter colors behind.”
Also smart: To revive whites, skip bleach, as it can worsen yellowing by reacting with proteins that cause discoloration. Instead, add 1⁄2 cup of baking soda to your load (along with your regular detergent). Says Fisher, “It removes yellowing agents, restoring whites.”
Lift musty odors with a vodka spritz.
Clothes tucked away for the winter can grow musty, owing to everything from dust and dander to mildew, says stylist Erica Ball. “Luckily, a simple vodka mixture will kill odors.” Just combine equal parts water and vodka in a spray bottle and spritz the garment. Let dry and voilà — the smells will be gone. This spray also works on sandals that may have been left smelling not-so-fresh after being packed away for the winter.
Also smart: When storing clothes for next season, consider packing them away with a bit of activated charcoal. Just place the charcoal in an old pair of stockings and tie off the ends. This “sachet” will absorb moisture and odors like a sponge.
Outsmart wrinkles with an ‘ice bath’.
Natural fibers like silk, linen, and cotton are prone to wrinkling — especially when folded away for months. No need to pull out your iron, says dry-cleaning expert Jonathon Reckles. “Simply throw wrinkled clothes in the dryer, and add a couple of ice cubes. As they melt, the cubes will release steam that relaxes creases.” No ice on hand? Create the same effect by adding a damp towel to the dryer.
Also smart: DIY your own wrinkle-reducer: In a spray bottle, mix one cup of water and one tablespoon of fabric softener. Hang clothes up and spritz — the softener relaxes fibers, lifting creases.
Replace a button easily.
The twist-ties on bread loaves are actually wardrobe-saving wonders, assures Fisher. “If you’ve lost a button, just strip the tie down to the wire, then thread it through the buttonholes to keep the shirt closed.” The wire is so thin, no one will notice it, but it’s strong enough to hold the opening together.
Unstick a stubborn zipper.
Sometimes a zipper just needs a little help to glide over the teeth more easily: Simply rub a candlestick, a bar of soap or beeswax along it. The slippery, waxy residue will ensure the zipper zips again in no time.
Perk up sagging bra straps.
Few things are as annoying as bra straps that won’t stay put. The fix: Secure a paper clip around one strap near the middle of your back, then loop the other strap into the clip. This pulls them taut so they stay in place!
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.