Closet Spring Cleaning Tips for After You’ve Sorted Your Clothes
Spring is such a beautiful, rejuvenating time of year with the warm weather, the flowers, the rain showers – and the urge to purge! I absolutely love spring cleaning because it feels like a fresh start. I’m ready to shake off the snow, clean out the wintery dust, and break out a fresh, clean closet and home.
When it comes to spring cleaning your closet, you’ve probably heard these three basic steps before:
- Take everything out of your closet.
- Sort all your clothes, shoes, and accessories.
- Keep the clothes you love. Sell or donate the clothes your closet doesn’t need anymore.
If you want assistance with these first three steps, check out the following resources:
- The Ultimate Closet Clean-Out Guide and Checklist
- Quarantine Closet Clean Out: Love Your Wardrobe And Make Money
- 9 Ways to Organize Your Closet
- Let’s Do A Sustainable Closet Audit Together
But what about what comes next? No one ever talks about what to do after you sort through your clothes and are preparing to put them back in your closet. The rest of the steps of spring cleaning include:
- Clean the clothes you’ve decided to keep so they feel fresh and new.
- Clean your closet so it’s not dusty or stinky.
- Put your clothes back in an organized, practical, and aesthetically pleasing way.
This article is about those last three steps. We’re focusing on how to clean and refresh your clothes and the interior of your closet. We’ll teach you how to extend the life, usefulness, and beauty of the clothes you’re keeping, while also freshening up the look and feel of your closet itself – because your clothes deserve a nice, clean home!
Spring cleaning clothes
After you’ve sorted your clothes, it’s time to clean those clothes that you’ve decided to keep. We’re not talking just throwing on a load of laundry and calling it a day. I mean really cleaning your clothes: pulling up that coffee stain, whitening those yellowed whites, cleaning the grime off the soles of your shoes, fixing the rip in that dress, sewing a button on those pants. This step is about making your clothes feel like new, so you’ll actually be excited to wear them every time you put them on. Refreshing your clothes will boost your appearance so you look more put-together and stylish, which in turn can bump up your confidence and happiness.
Below are some of our favorite ways to clean and repair your clothes so they’re just like new.
Brighten whites without bleach.
Bleach is bad for the environment, bad for your clothes, and bad for your health. Thankfully, you can brighten your white clothes without bleach – and it’s safer and just as effective! Here’s a great video about how to whiten whites without bleach.
My favorite whitening method recently is lemon (or lemon juice). Lemons work wonders to brighten whites and remove stains. Pair lemon with baking soda and white vinegar and you have a natural powerhouse that works just like bleach to break down yellow stains. When whitening clothes, be sure to hand wash in cold water, not in hot water since heat can actually make yellow stains worse. Afterward, let your white clothes sit in the sun because the sun has bleaching effects too. Your whites will look brighter in no time! Here’s a great how-to article that tells you how to use white vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, lemons, and sunlight to get the job done.
Try laundry stripping.
You might’ve seen laundry stripping on Tik Tok because it’s such a hot trend for thrifters. Laundry stripping is an aggressive cleaning method that helps get rid of the layers of grime that accumulate on clothes and fabrics over time, like fabric softener, laundry detergent film, dirt, stains, dust, hair, and more. If you have old clothes that don’t look or smell as fresh as they once did, you can try laundry stripping to bring them back to their original luster. Laundry stripping is a great way to give renewed life to clothing so you can continue to wear your beloved pieces for years to come.
With that said, laundry stripping—although oddly satisfying to watch— isn’t right for all clothing. It works well on towels, linens, and hefty clothing, but it’s not the right move for:
- Dark fabrics or cold-water clothes because laundry stripping requires hot water
- Workout clothes because the spandex and polyester can wear down from the stripping process
- Wool because the laundry stripping process removes the wool’s lanolin, which is what protects it and gives the fabric its longevity
- Other clothes that can be damaged with heat or strong detergents
Still, if done correctly and safely, laundry stripping with hot water and a laundry stripping recipe can be a great way to deep clean your clothes! Learn more about how to do laundry stripping here. Be mindful of how you use laundry stripping, and first try it on an old towel or t-shirt before throwing in your favorite dresses.
Learn how to clean your shoes.
When was the last time you cleaned your shoes? Every time you go outside, your shoes are picking up dirt and bacteria, and then tracking that gunk back into your house. This can have a long-term impact on your health, your home, and the longevity of your shoes! Periodic shoe cleanings are the best way to keep your shoes looking fresh, extend their life, and reduce the spread of bacteria. Plus, your shoes can make or break an outfit: clean shoes feel put-together and sophisticated, while dirty shoes can instantly make even the cutest outfits look drab.
Different materials and styles of shoes call for different cleaning methods, so we’ve rounded up some of our favorite resources for you:
- Learn how to care for leather shoes with this New York Times article.
- Get the scoop on how to clean canvas shoes with The Spruce.
- Take care of your suede shoes (especially if you live somewhere wet) with these tips on Marie Claire.
- I adore a good pair of patent leather heels! Learn how to clean patent leather here.
- Renew your rubber rain boots with these great tips with items you already have laying around the house.
- Learn everything about caring for your sneakers on Hypebae.
- Check out these six tricks to keep your white sneakers clean. (Baking soda is a must-have!)
Some of our favorite tips for cleaning shoes:
- Sprinkle baking soda inside your shoes to soak up sweat and odor-causing particles. Leave the baking soda for at least 15 minutes or even overnight. Then dump the baking soda in the trash or vacuum it out, and your shoes will be odor-free again!
- Use a nail file to clean suede shoes (and clothes). Remove scuffs with a soft pencil eraser.
- Get rid of scuffs on patent leather shoes with petroleum jelly. Dab a little petroleum jelly on with a Q-tip, wipe it off, and then use a cotton ball with a little glass cleaner to renew the patent’s shine.
- Get waterproofing sprays or conditioning creams to prevent further damage to your shoes or to protect new shoes out of the box.
Get your clothes tailored.
Clothes that fit right feel right. Whether you need something taken in, loosened, lengthened, or shortened, getting your clothes tailored is a worthy investment for your closet. You’ll extend the life of your clothes while also improving the fit and finish of your look, which will make your outfits more put-together and polished.
Tailoring isn’t just for fancy dresses or long pants. A good tailor can completely upgrade your wardrobe, particularly if you tailor those go-to basic pieces and workwear that you wear frequently. There’s a lot that tailors can improve about your favorite clothes, like:
- Hemming pants, skirts, and sleeves that are too long
- Shortening shoulder straps so your shirt or dresses stay up better
- Replacing zippers and buttons (pro-tip: ask your tailor to upgrade your buttons to fancier looking ones to instantly get a more elevated aesthetic for cheap)
- Pull-in loose or oversized items
- Ask your tailor what they can do for your favorite pieces – they’re professionals and should know how to tweak your clothes for your unique body type!
Although tailoring can sometimes be on the expensive side, I guarantee you’ll love this investment in your clothes, your closet, and yourself.
Try freezing your wool, cashmere, and denim.
I love natural fabrics like wool and cashmere but I hate how they “shed.” So, I learned this little hack that says goodbye to shedding. Put your cashmere and wool in a zip lock bag and then throw it in the freezer overnight. This can help preserve and strengthen the integrity of the fibers, which minimizes fabric shedding and helps maintain the material.
Plus, the low temps in the freezer may help kill odors and bacteria on certain fabrics, like denim. I sometimes throw my denim jeans in the freezer to help kill bacteria and keep them fresh without throwing them in the wash, since you want to avoid over-washing jeans to ensure their longevity. The freezer can help spruce up the denim while also helping it to better retain its shape and color.
Spruce up your accessories.
Don’t forget to clean those accessories that rarely ever get cleaned but are probably in need of some TLC.
- Handwash your scarves to keep them fresh, clean, and stink-free.
- Give your baseball caps, sunhats, wool beanies, and virtually any hat a facelift.
- Don’t forget to clean up those winter mittens and gloves! They might not seem dirty, but they’ve seen a lot of surfaces and bacteria over the winter.
- Learn how to clean your jewelry like a pro so your favorite pieces will sparkle and shine for years.
- Clean those gunky makeup brushes so you stop putting bacteria and grime on your face every morning.
- While you’re at it, go through your makeup and get rid of any old makeup that is probably expired. (Yes, makeup expires!)
- Get your sunglasses tightened (or try to do it at home but be careful with this process.)
Spring clean inside your closet
All the clothes are out of the closet and they’re soaking, drying, and glowing up. In the meantime, let’s clean out the closet itself and give your clothes a fresh, clean, beautiful home. Nothing feels better than walking into a clean, organized closet to choose out your outfits for the day. To do this, you’ll want to give your closet a deep clean, get it smelling fresh, and then be mindful about how you reorganize your clothes when putting them back in.
Give your closet a deep clean.
To make the deep cleaning process easier, here’s a checklist of all the things to clean in your closet:
- Clean the shelves and interiors of drawers and cabinets with a microfiber dusting cloth to remove all dust.
- Use an all-purpose household cleaning spray to wipe down the shelves, drawers, and cabinets. Wipe the outsides of the drawers and cabinets as well. Make sure the cleaner is mild enough that it won’t damage your dresser or closet, particularly if they’re made of wood.
- Use an all-purpose spray to wipe down the inside and outside of the closet door(s) too.
- If you have any glass or stainless steel in your closet, use a glass cleaner to get rid of fingerprints and smudges.
- Wipe down the walls and ceilings with a mild cleanser. You might want to use a long-handled duster to reach high places, like ceiling corners that fill up with dust, grime, and cobwebs. Get the light fixtures too.
- Vacuum the floor in your closet. To remove old, musty smells, sprinkle baking soda over the entire carpet. This acts as a natural deodorizer to lift and remove odors, even deep-set smells. Sprinkle it on the carpet and leave for at least 15 minutes (close the door so kids and pets don’t get in). Then, vacuum the floors again thoroughly to get rid of the baking soda, and voila, no more smells. Don’t forget about the corners and deep nooks and crannies of the floor.
This is important: make sure everything is dry before putting your clothes back. Any moisture sitting in your closet can ruin your clothes and encourage mold growth. I recommend going over your closet with a dry, clean towel after using any cleaner to help remove any moisture. Then, wait a few hours with the door open to let it air dry fully before putting your clothes back.
Also note that you want to check the label on your cleaning agents to make sure they’re safe for the surfaces in your closet. I like natural cleansers like Puracy all-purpose spray because natural cleaners are more sustainable, better for your health, and less harsh on surfaces.
Give your closet a scent that makes you happy.
Now that your closet is clean, let’s make it smell good too! A closet can be such a beautifully sensory experience from the way it looks to the way the fabrics feel to the aroma when you walk in. So, for spring cleaning 2022, we want to focus on smell just as much as sight.
This starts with keeping bad odors at bay. That means cleaning clothes and your closet regularly. You can also purchase odor-absorbing charcoal packs that can keep your closet fresh and humidity-free. You can also put a jar of used coffee grounds in your closet to help absorb bad odors; just poke a few holes in the lid and change it out once a month to keep your closet smelling fresh (and a little like coffee!). Make sure the coffee grounds are dried out, though, or they might start to grow mold.
You have a few options to make your closet smell good:
- Hang fresh eucalyptus sprigs in your closet to help repel pests and make your closet smell like a 5-star spa.
- Keep a spritz bottle of water and your favorite essential oils in the closet. Lightly spray it in your closet or directly on clothing whenever it needs a pick-me-up.
- Make DIY lavender sachets to repel moths and keep your closet smelling fresh and relaxing. Check out this beautiful video to learn an easy way to create a lavender sachet.
- Keep it simple by putting your favorite bar of soap in the corner of your closet. It will make your clothes smell like clean soap (which is better than musty smells). Opt for an all-natural bar soap that’s good for your health, your clothes, and the environment.
Buy matching hangers.
Matching hangers is a small change that can make a huge (and beautiful) impact on your closet. It doesn’t matter whether you like upscale wood hangers, felt hangers so your clothes don’t slip off, or hot pink hangers to make you happy – just get matching hangers for all your clothes. Your closet will look put-together and organized, which will translate into a more polished outfit and joyful daily mood too.
Invest in a full-length mirror.
If you don’t have a full-length mirror, it’s time to get one. This is the best way to make sure your outfits match from head to toe. Plus, full-length mirrors can help boost your confidence when you say affirmations in them and treat fashion like self-care. You can buy a cheap one from Amazon or Home Depot or get a high-end one from your favorite furniture store to function as a décor piece in your closet. Either way, trust me, this will be a game-changer for the overall polish and refinement of your outfits.
Putting your clothes back
Now your clothes and closet are clean (and dry), let’s put your clothes back in the closet. But don’t just throw them back in there, or your closet will instantly feel messy and cramped again. Go in with a game plan to organize your clothes and store them in the most practical and visually aesthetic way.
There are a few ways to organize your closet, and you’ll have to find the solution that works with your closet and personal usage. So do a little research on how to organize closets (Pinterest will be your best friend). Here are my favorite tips for organizing your closet:
- Put the clothes you wear most often at the front or most accessible part of your closet. Lesser-worn items should be in the back or stored separately.
- Keep like-with-like. Belts go with belts, sweaters with sweaters, tees with tees, etc. The brain typically thinks of clothes in terms of “pieces” (like: I want to wear jeans and a sweater today), so separating your closet into these different pieces is the easiest way to find what you’re looking for.
- Learn how to fold your clothes the Marie Kondo way to keep everything wrinkle-free and looking gorgeous.
- Don’t hang your sweaters because gravity can stretch them out and ruin them. Fold sweaters and put them in drawers if possible.
There is no better feeling than walking into a clean, organized closet filled with refreshed, deep-cleaned clothes that you love. Have fun with your spring cleaning this 2022! And if you’re looking for new items to add to your new-and-improved wardrobe, look no further than the high-end designer preloved goodies at Current Boutique!
- Brighten whites: @CassMcD via Twenty20
- Laundry stripping: @nei.cruz via Twenty20
- Clean shoes: @gballgiggs via Twenty20
- Get clothes tailored: @KostikovaNatalia via Twenty20
- Freezing cashmere: @nataliazera via Twenty20
- Spruce up accessories: @bubblegumwhore via Twenty20
- Deep clean closet: @JulieK via Twenty20
- Add a scent: @magic_cinema via Twenty20
- Matching hangers: @MargJohnsonVA via Twenty20
- Full length mirror: @evakerrigan via Twenty20
- Putting clothes back: @lmallo via Twenty20