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How to properly maintain your shirt?

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Maintaining a shirt is an art that we don't necessarily consider all the issues involved. To wear it well and to wear it as much as you want, it should be washed according to a particular methodology. Here are some tips on the subject, with the collaboration of Nicolas de Bronac, founder of Sequoia dry cleaners. They know how to do this since the chain now has 57 stores, each of which processes around 1,000 shirts per month. Bonus: at Sequoia, the treatment of clothes is done without perchlorethylene, this carcinogenic solvent used for years by many laundries. Nicolas's chain, on the contrary, uses liquid silicone solvents, odorless and colorless, which are recycled, just like the water from the machines.

At home

• We never pay too much attention to it, but by wearing and putting on a shirt without washing it, tiny deposits of fat secreted by the body end up clinging to the collar and the ends of the sleeves. These stains encrust and eat into the fibers, to the point that when it's time to finally wash your shirt, it risks tearing. “At the slightest drop of washing water, everything can explode,” explains Nicolas de Bronac. You have to have the reflex to wash your shirt regularly, even if you don't have any particular stain. This extends the lifespan of your clothing. »

Whether it's a mark of perspiration or a common grease stain after a wild meal, it is important to start caring for your shirt with a pre-brushing. This serves to reduce the thickness of the stain. You must then dip a small nail brush, one of those sold in any drugstore, in a homemade preparation made of water and Marseille soap, and then pass lightly over the attacked areas of your shirt. Sequoia dry cleaners employees take care of these stains using a silk brush for wool items, and a nylon brush for cotton items.

"You have to have the reflex to wash your shirt every week, even if you don't have any particular stain. This extends the life of your clothing."

• To wash your cotton shirts in the machine, it is absolutely necessary to never exceed a temperature of thirty or even forty degrees. “If we increase it, the cotton will heat up and the stitches will tighten. The clothes will shrink and then it’s ruined,” warns Nicolas de Bronac. The choice of detergent is also decisive. Low-end brands contain active ingredients that don't quite work at low temperatures. You therefore have to know how to put the price on a detergent, as you do for any good product that you like.

It's an essential rule: you should never dry your wet shirt on a hanger. Never. With a metal hanger, red rust stains can quickly appear. With a painted wooden hanger, traces of paint may bleed onto the shirt. The ideal is to place your shirt on a drying rack. Better yet: if you only need to dry one shirt, you can spread it out full length on the drying rack.

It's a common problem: a blow from the iron that lasts a second too long and the shirt gets a nasty reddish stain. Burned. To avoid the worst, a tip is to place a thin cloth or an old shirt between your utensil and your clothing. “This also helps prevent white spots from appearing due to pieces of limestone that remain under the iron over time,” adds Nicolas de Bronac.

The cleaners

Because of dark stories in which you never pay too much attention, you sometimes end up with huge stains on your shirt. Paint, wine or even blood. Also, instead of playing apprentice laundryman, it is better to run to your dry cleaner as quickly as possible. In these cases, time is always of the essence: if you wait too long, the stain will encrust the fiber and dye it for good. “You really need to avoid using stain removers and bring us your shirt very quickly,” insists Nicolas de Bronac. By acting quickly, a good dry cleaner has a 99.9% chance of making the room look like new.”

Going to the dry cleaners is also a necessity for flannel or other knit shirts. Stained, these must be put through dry machines, and only dry cleaners have them. “Cold, even with great laundry detergent, it would be suicide,” shivers Nicolas de Bronac. At Sequoia, the dry machines are tall, whirring drums that work with liquid silicone, a biodegradable product that slides between the stain and the fiber while smoothing the garment as if it were automatically ironed.

Once your shirt is washed and ironed, you now have to tackle one last mountain. A terribly perilous exercise that few people master: folding. Here, dry cleaners will always have an advantage over individuals. With this cardboard stuck on the back of the garment that we use in the store, it is always easier to obtain a straight, square shape, ready to be slipped into a chest of drawers. That said, there is another solution, simpler and which requires no expense, to maintain the shape of your shirt: putting it on a hanger. Not stupid, yes.

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