Tips For When You Don't Have Clean Clothes

by Toria Sheffield
Originally Published: 
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Sometimes you just don't have time to do laundry and are forced to wear a less-than-fresh ensemble. We've all been there (come on, admit it). It's why knowing how to make your clothes look and smell fresh — even when they're not — is sometimes a necessary part of life.

I live in a city where an in-unit washer and dryer is up there with the notion of an indoor swimming pool: a luxury almost no one has. And because of this, it means that doing laundry usually entails dragging all your clothes several blocks away to a public laundromat and putting your life on hold for the next couple hours until you can haul it all back.

Not only does this mean you have to plan your laundry days to a T, but it also means you generally don't have the luxury of just popping something in before a big event last minute. And even if you do have a washer and dryer easily at your disposal, sometimes life just gets hectic and you find yourself scrambling for something relatively clean to wear anyway.

It's a dirty little secret of adulthood. And if it sounds familiar, don't worry — here are seven hacks for when you haven't done laundry that will seriously save the day.

1. Linen Spray Is Your Friend

Linen spray is exactly what it sounds like and is a tool every time-crunched person should have in their arsenal. If you're unsure if you've worn a particular shirt or sweater one too many times but just don't have the hour and a half to wash it, lightly spray some of this stuff on it and everyone will be none the wiser.

2. Put Your Jeans In The Freezer

Founder of Apartment Therapy Maxwell Ryan said that the best way to "wash" jeans is to put them in a ziplock bag in the freezer overnight. Not only does this limit the wear and tear they receive in the wash, but it kills any living microorganisms (AKA bacteria) that cause them to smell. If you don't have access to a washer of dryer, try this super easy trick.

3. Lint Rollers Are A Must

OK, this one might seem obvious, but it's worth noting since it's such an important part of maintaining the illusion of fresh clothes. Nothing says dirty or unwashed faster than clothes covered in pet hair, rug fibers, or whatever else our clothes pick up throughout the day. And since I'm often stumbling out of the house in the semi-dark in the morning, I always recommend keeping one in your desk drawer at work for those moments when you realize you left the house with your cat's entire outer coat stuck to your tights.

4. Hang Wrinkled Items In A Steamy Bathroom

To steam items in a hurry, simply hang the item in your bathroom as you take a hot shower according to PopSugar's Emily Co. "It takes at least 15 minutes for the steam to uncrinkle the folds in your clothes, so you might want to only use this method when you're taking a long, hot shower," Co said, noting you should make sure the bathroom door is properly closed to make sure steam doesn't escape.

Co also said that you can use a flatiron for hard-to-reach areas, like "your shirt collar or the space between buttons and appliqués," but be sure you don't have any product on the tool that could get on your clothes.

5. Grab The Steam Cleaner

An on-the-go steam cleaner is basically the best invention ever created for those of us who want to keep our clothes well-maintained but don't necessarily have the time or the funds to take things to the dry cleaners. Plus, according to personal stylist Linsday Weiner, it's a great option for maintaining clothes for a long period of time since it's gentler than ironing.

6. Pass The Vodka

Spraying cheap vodka on an odor actually works wonders. However, a light spritz won't do the trick. You really have to saturate the area at hand, so make sure you leave ample time for drying (or have a hair dryer on hand).

7. Perfume It Up!

This tip is less for your clothes, and more for how you feel in your clothes when you know they're secretly not that fresh. According to a study in the Journal of Cosmetic Science, the simple act of grooming can positively affect self image. The study's author, Jorien van Paasschen, PhD, said that even just putting on deodorant or dabbing ourselves in perfume instantly makes us more confident in our appearance. So, if you're bothered by how your clothes are making you feel — even if they look fine to everyone else — try this quick trick.

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