The features of seasonal summer accessories like straw hats, light-colored purses and braided-trimmed shoes that we love so much in the spring often begin to look old and dingy by mid-summer. In this age of recycling, tossing the dingy looking accessories is not the environmentally friendly thing to do, but wearing the grime is a fashion faux pas. Clean the seasonal summer accessories and extend their usage with these tips for washing the un-washables.
How to Wash the Un-Washable Straw Hat
The woven texture and natural fibers of a straw hat is what attracts us and dirt to them, those same features is what makes a straw hat challenging to clean. Number one rule for cleaning a straw hat (or straw tote) is to not wet the item with water. Use a soft, sticky, pliable eraser (available at art supply stores) to ‘erase’ the grime from the natural straw fibers. Rub the eraser with the weave of the straw hat, turning the eraser often so a clean portion is always being used on the hat. The eraser will absorb and remove the dirt and grime from the straw and leave the hat looking like new.
How to Wash the Un-Washable Light-Colored Purse
Light-colored purses made from leather, fabric or a combinations of materials show fingerprints, body oils and dirt much more than dark colored purses. Wash the dirt and body oils off a summer purse with a glycerin-based, liquid facial cleaner. Delicate facial skin is exposed to air pollution, dirt, grime, finger-smudges, oils, etc., just like a purse, and what cleans the face gently and thoroughly will also clean a light-colored purse.
Add a few pumps of a glycerin-based, liquid facial cleanser ( like Neutrogena) to two cups of warm water. Dip a soft, clean cloth into the mixture and wring out the excess water, then blot the cloth onto the dirty areas of the purse. Once all the dirty areas have been blotted, rinse the cloth well under running water, wring out excess water then wipe away all traces of suds from the purse. Blot purse fabric dry with a clean dry cloth.
Spot test the purse first before washing with facial cleanser and water. If the light-colored purse fails the spots test, use a soft, sticky pliable eraser to erase the dirt away.
How to Wash Shoes and Sandals with Braided Trim
Breezy sandals, summertime wedge shoes and sneakers often have braided trim or rope-style trim. Braided trim attracts dirt like a magnet and can’t be washed the traditional way, as water will cause the trim to unravel or come unglued from the shoes. So how to wash the un-washed braided trim shoes? The same way carpet and upholstery is cleaned, by pulling the dirt out with a dry, foaming product. Apply the same spray foam to the braided trim as you would to carpet or upholstery, then gently work in the foam with an old, soft-bristled toothbrush. Let the braided trim dry for 30 minutes, then brush away any foam residue, brushing in the same direction of the braided cords. No need to rinse, repeat if needed and always spot check first.
Washing the un-washable takes a little ingenuity and elbow grease, but it will prolong the usage life of some of our favorite seasonal accessories.