How to Deal with Deodorant Marks on Suiting

deodorant-marks-on-clothesHow do you deal with deodorant marks on your nice work clothes?  Reader A has a great question:

My question is about sleeveless dry clean shift dresses underneath suits. I don’t dry clean mine every time I wear them, and I notice pretty significant deodorant marks on the bottom of the armhole. Is there any way to prevent this? Or a good way to remove after the fact?

I’m excited to see what the readers say here.  Personally I’ve always preferred to wear something with sleeves beneath suits, in part because it “protects” the suit from your deodorant and sweat, and in part because it’s much easier to toss a t-shirt or blouse in the wash than it is to take it to the drycleaner.  (Remember, ladies: frequent drycleaning is bad for your clothes.)  You could always look into a different deodorant (we’ve actually talked about the best deodorants for women — I’m curious if anyone has any new favorites?) or a “dress shield,” which you could tuck into your dress.  Failing that, I think I might try a deodorant sponge, such as the one above (Hollywood Fashion Secrets Deodorant Removing Sponge, available at Amazon for $5.97, or Miss Oops Rescue Sponge, available at Amazon for $12), to try to remove the deodorant stains.

Ladies, how do you remove deodorant marks on suiting and other nice fabrics?  Have you found a better way to prevent them?

How to Keep Pet Hair Off Your Clothes

how to keep pet hair off your clothesHow do you keep your clothes looking nice when you live with animals?  Reader A has a great question about pets and clothes:

I have a question about caring for your clothes when you live with animals. I have a wonderful dog, who unfortunately sheds. His fur also builds up a lot of dander, and when he walks past me, the dander often brushes off on my pants leg or tights and leaves a white-ish residue (similar to the texture of dry shampoo). I use a lint roller constantly to get rid of the hair, but I can’t seem to get rid of the white residue unless I dry clean it. Any tips, other than washing my dog every day? Thanks!

Pet hair can be a real problem.  Having never had a pet, I’m really looking forward to the wisdom from the readers here.  Some suggestions, off the top of my head:

1)  Lint brush, lint brush, lint brush.  In a pinch, the FedEx pouches are great lint rollers.  Your dog’s dander sounds like you might also want to try out something like a special pet hair remover sponge or some of the other offerings on Amazon such as the magnets, stones, mitts, or brushes.  There is even a Furminator (which seems to be, ahem, pretty popular). [Read more...]

The Hunt: The Perfect Camisole

Sure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

For today’s Hunt, I thought I’d search for the perfect camisole.  In my mind, here is what is a perfect camisole: It’s machine washable (and, usually, can be tumbled dry).  It doesn’t roll up around your sides.  For the office, in my mind the best camisole does not look like lingerie — the less lace and mesh, the better.  It’s a solid color.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I hate the nude camisole for most office looks.  And, I think, the best camisole serves the purpose that you want it to serve — for my busty self that usually means raising the neckline of blouses, sweaters, and dresses.  I’ve also used camisoles over the years as a way to put a layer between myself and the sweater so I didn’t have to launder it so often — so high armholes can be helpful.  My perfect camisole doesn’t have a “shelf bra” attached to it. — and for me, it is almost never a shaping camisole.  (I’ve bought a number of brands through the years and have always been disappointed; I’d much rather wear a high-waisted shaper (like this or this) or even a bodysuit if I want to smooth out my midsection/back area.)  And, of course, the perfect camisole is inexpensive — this is one of the few times where I would rather have 5-10 inexpensive camisoles to throw away at the first sign of wear, rather than to “invest” in a single, expensive piece.  Readers, what do you look for in the perfect camisole?  Which brands have you bought in the past; which have you bought recently? [Read more...]

How to Avoid Ironing

How to Avoid Ironing | CorporetteCan you look professional — without ironing your clothes every day?  Reader K is particularly curious about how to avoid ironing t-shirts:

Not sure if you or the commentators have any tips or tricks to keep folded shirts from creasing. Certain kind of fold? Only stacking two high? Certain detergent that is less susceptible to creasing? I know this sounds like a silly question, but I hate ironing my cotton t shirts (under cardigans, blazers, etc) first thing in the morning! Thanks.

Wow. I have to say, I’m impressed — much of my laundry routine is based around the fact that I will do almost anything to avoid pulling out the iron. I hang-dry my washable pants so the waists drag them down, straightening them. I buy non-iron blouses and hang-dry those after 15 minutes or — ha ha — I wear sweaters and other things don’t require ironing. But part of this may be because I’ve always lived in NYC, and it’s a pain to get the ironing board and iron set up in the inevitable small space that is an NYC apartment.

I’m curious to hear what the commenters say, but here are some thoughts: [Read more...]

Open Thread: Keeping a Clean House When You’re Too Busy To Clean

Cleaning Supplies, originally uploaded to Flickr by SurvivalWomanSo:  one of the big tips they give to working women is to hire a cleaning lady.  I get it, I really do — but I still can’t bring myself to bring someone in more than once a quarter.  I’ve seen a ton of interesting Pins on Pinterest on how to keep your house clean (e.g., this one from The Budget Diet), and I know both Apartment Therapy and Real Simple have written about it in the past.  I know readers have discussed full-fledged “systems” like The Fly Lady cleaning system, as well as newer ones like, ahem, Unf@#$ Your Habitat (which even has an app).  There are even games out there, like Chore Wars! (Pictured: Cleaning Supplies, originally uploaded to Flickr by SurvivalWoman.)

For my $.02: I’ve been doing my own modified version of a few different systems, but in general I’m willing to commit 15 minutes a day to cleaning.  For our 2-bedroom, 1.5 bath, 1000 sq ft apartment, this is what it looks like:

  • Monday: clean bathrooms (counters, mirrors, toilets) and kitchen counters
  • Tuesday: Swiffer floors, dust apartment
  • Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday: spend 15 minutes doing Thing That Bugs Me (maybe it’s scrubbing the stove, or the shower, or decluttering the kitchen table, or cleaning a bathroom floor)

We tend to do laundry as needed throughout the week, and my husband (God bless him!) does most of the dishes and whatever vacuuming needs to be done.  I’ve found the perfect time for cleaning, for me, is after my workout, when I’m already sweaty and gross but want to cool down before I hop in the shower.  I’m starting to get more into nontoxic, green cleaners, and across the board I really like Method products over some other ones I’ve tried.

Readers, do you have a system for keeping your house or apartment clean?  If you have a partner or roommate, how do you split chores?

The Hunt: The Best Washable Pants for Work (and: How to Wash ‘Em)

SIGNATURE STRETCH ORIGINAL EDITOR PANT Sure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

A reader wrote in, requesting I round up washable pants for the office, and I thought it was a great idea. I’ve always drycleaned my suits, but the majority of my pants I’ve washed myself. There are actually a ton of good ones out there, so I thought I’d start the discussion with some tips.

  • Look for stretch if you’re shopping online. If you want to narrow your search to pants that are machine washable, look for ones with stretch in them — they almost always are washable.  (But most online descriptions will tell you what the recommended care is.)
  • Get them tailored only after you’ve washed them first. Some pants are great in the wash, but for the first wash there may be a little bit of shrinkage.
  • Wash them in cold water at home — but don’t put them in the dryer. At least, not for very long. I usually like to put my pants in the dryer for about 15 minutes — it gets the wrinkles out, and just a bit of time with the dryer sheet makes them softer.  I always wash my pants on cold, and I usually do use Woolite and the delicate cycle for my pants.
  • Hang them upside down to dry. The weight of the waistband will pull the pants taut, effectively smoothing them out. (I almost never iron ‘em!) When you put them on the hanger, do your best to keep the crease the pants came with — if there was no crease, just put the inseams together neatly.
  • “Dry clean” on the label usually means you can wash them (but proceed at your own risk).  The big thing to know here is that “dry clean only” means, well, DRY CLEAN ONLY.  If it just says “dry clean,” though, you usually can either dry clean them or wash them.  Your mileage may vary here, but: unless I really loved the pair of pants, I would give “dry clean” pants a whirl in the washer, as well — particularly if the pants are made up entirely of natural fibers.  You may want to do a spot test first.

Readers, do you wash the pants you wear to the office?  Which are your favorite pairs?  Check out our roundup, below…

[Read more...]