Tips to whiten, brighten and mend tired-looking clothes

Whiten, brighten and mend your clothing with these simple tips and tricks.

Tips to whiten, brighten and mend tired-looking clothes

Salvage discoloured whites

Don't toss those drab and dingy whites just yet: dissolve one teaspoon of cream of tartar in cold water in a clean plastic washtub or sink and soak the garment for a few hours before washing. This is also a great way to restore old handkerchiefs. To whiten yellowed clothes, soak the items overnight in a solution of 125 millilitres (½ cup) of white vinegar and 1.5 litres (six cups) of warm water before washing.

Restore crispness to lace

If you have a lace scarf or shawl that's gone limp, wash it as you normally would and then dip it in a solution of eight litres (two gallons) of warm water and 250 grams (one cup) of epsom salt. The salt will cling to the fibres and add body.

No-snag, soapy thread

Anyone who's been sewing on a button when the thread tangles or knots knows how frustrating it is to have to start over when you can't free things up. To prevent frustration and time lost, run the thread lightly over a bar of soap before you begin sewing. The waxy coating will make thread easier to untangle and unknot.

Rethread a drawstring

Did the drawstring come out of your hoodie or favorite PJs? Attach a safety pin to one end of the string and use the closed pin to push the string back into place.

Use marbles to help mend gloves

Drop a marble into the fingertip of a glove that needs mending so you'll have a stretched, smooth surface on which to sew. Mend the toes and heels of socks in the same way, using a tennis ball or billiard ball.

Sewing kit in a film canister

Your button falls off your blouse while you're en route to a potluck supper, but you're prepared. You have everything you need in a plastic film canister in your purse — a few shirt buttons, a set of sewing needles still stuck in their cardboard holder (don't want to get stuck!), thread and different-size safety pins.

Undo a iron scorch

Lucky for you, scorch marks don't have to be permanent. Here are four techniques to try:

  • For white cottons Take a cotton cloth dampened with three per cent hydrogen peroxide and dab at the scorch until it's gone.
  • For coloured cottons Wet a lint-free cloth with three per cent hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar and lay it over the scorch. Press with the iron on low.
  • For all washable cottons Cut an onion in half, rub it on the scorch, soak overnight in cold water and then wash.
  • For woollens Dampen the scorch with water and dab cornstarch onto it. Let sit for 20–30 minutes and brush off.

You'll get more out of your wardrobe with these tips on keeping tired-looking clothes looking fresh and new.

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