Tips for Caring for Your Summer Clothes

Tips for Caring for Your Summer Clothes

Think back to January when temperatures were chilling us with lows in the 20’s. You could hardly wait until the temperatures warmed up and summer arrived. Well, your wish came true. We’ve come through temps near 100° that feel like 110° with more to come.

Elevated temperatures bring on challenges when caring for your summer attire. Here are some tips for these challenges:

Caring for Your Summer Clothes Tips

Tropical Threads

With flowered shirts, blouses, pants, and dresses from retailers like Tommy Bahama® and other common tropical-style fashions, dry cleaning may not be the best cleaning method. We wash many tropical fashions (and so can you if you know the tricks of the trade). That does not mean any method of cleaning is without some degree of risk. Color change can occur, especially khaki colors that can turn green when cleaned.

Suntan Lotions and Sunblock

Suntan and sunblock lotions and sprays contain dyes and oils that can stain clothes. This can affect your clothes whether you wash them at home or take them to your dry cleaner. It’s especially troublesome because these contaminants might not appear until after they’re cleaned. Heat from drying and pressing clothes can reveal the stain for the first time.

The best way to avoid this problem is to apply the lotion and allow it to dry before dressing. Also be sure to do a thorough handwashing after applying the lotion and before handling the clothes. Unfortunately, lotions can still stain after following these precautions, often through perspiration.

Summer Weather Garment Care

Self-Tanning Lotions

It shouldn’t be a surprise that self-tanning lotions can “color” most anything, including your clothes. If you find brown, tan, or yellow stains on cuffs, collars, neckbands, and button areas, you may have gotten self-tanning lotion on your garments.

The best was to avoid this problem is to wash your hands immediately after applying the lotion. Allowing the lotion to dry before dressing is also helpful in avoiding these stains. If you accidentally get the lotion on your clothes, wash them as soon as possible. These stains are near impossible to remove once the stain is set.

Self-tanning lotions will even stain your yoga mat. So before you get your inner self aligned with your divine self, allow your tanning lotion to dry before getting into your best Savasana.

Traditional washing and dry cleaning will not always remove sunscreens and tanning lotions. But skilled stain removers can have some luck with these oil-based stains. It’s important to tell your dry cleaner if you think sunscreens or tanning lotions may have contacted your garments.


The chlorine in pools, hot tubs, and spas can damage spandex and cause colors to fade. I don’t have a magic answer to this problem but be aware of the potential problem. But be sure to rinse your bathing suit immediately after removing it. Then follow the care label instructions.

Insect Repellents

Many insect repellents are designed to not damage fabrics. But repellents that contain alcohol can cause color change on acetate and rayon fabrics. Be sure to read the label carefully if insect repellents are applied directly to your clothes.

Garment Care for your Summer Weather Clothes

Always Put -Em Away Clean

My top recommendation is to never put away last year’s clothing before properly cleaning. Even if it’s been worn for just a small time, be sure it’s clean. Stains are easier to remove today than in six months. With the possibility of perspiration or food particles on clothes over the off season, bugs like moths can take up residence and damage your clothes. This is much less likely if your clothes are cleaned before you put them away for the season.