Friday, May 1, 2015

Emiii's guide: How to wash (Liz Lisa) clothes

Liz Lisa master post
"How do I wash my Liz Lisa clothes?"
This is one of the most commonly asked questions I field and generally see around more than I thought I would lol.
Which leads me to believe that many of you need a little help and possibly a complete blog post. Plus, this will be useful to me, so I can link back to it instead of constantly writing out the same explanation every time.
I am not a clothes washing expert, and please PLEASE use your own discretion when you're dealing with your own clothes. If you feel like you should use a different method than what I've suggested, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, and it's totally up to you. This is not meant to be the be-all-end-all of Liz Lisa clothes washing rules. I'm just going to try to explain what I do personally since a few people seem to be curious. 

First and foremost, Liz Lisa clothes are not exponentially different from any other brand of clothes where you would need specific and explicit instructions for washing clothes specifically from Liz Lisa. I think this is the most confusing thing for some people. There is no one singular or correct way to wash ALL the clothes based on being a particular brand. That's probably why when you google "how to wash Liz Lisa clothes", nothing extremely useful will come up - because it's impossible to have one answer. So really, lbr, this is just a general "how to do laundry" post.

If you can read (Japanese) or generally interpret the symbols on the inner tag, then the #1 best and safest suggestion is to follow what the care instructions say. Here is a website that might help you.
The care instructions are what the manufacturer/brand suggests and that is what I typically go by for American clothes that I care about. (I'm talking about American clothes specifically because I can actually read the tags on my American clothes.) If it says something on the tag, I trust it. If you can read the tag and the tag says "Dry Clean Only", then I would suggest that you first consider dry cleaning the garment. If it says "Machine Wash, Hang Dry", then I would suggest machine washing and hanging the garment to dry. I think you get the picture.
The tag will also usually list what kind of material the clothes are made of. There are some general clothes washing conventions for each type of material that clothes are made of (and that's usually reflected in the washing instructions). A lot of my Liz Lisa clothes are made of polyester or cotton (blends). I own a lot from summer/spring though. If your wardrobe is more winter heavy (or just includes winter clothes at all really), there is usually greater variety in fabric choice. Generally, none are made of silk or real leather/suede, etc though.

Tbh, even though I openly recommend paying attention to the care tag as the #1 best option, that's not necessarily what I do for myself and my own clothes.
Again, I'm not advocating that you follow my lead, but in the interest of just sharing a personal experience, what I do for myself for my polyester and cotton Liz Lisa clothes is -
throw them in mesh laundry bags, and then do a regular wash cycle. If you want to, you can set it on delicate/handwash. None of my clothes seem to be particularly delicate, so I don't bother most of the time unless there's something special, but it obviously can't hurt if that's a setting on your washing machine. I think it might also help if there's a lot of other clothes in the same load (as cushion).
Speaking of other clothes, be sure to wash with "like colors". This is a general laundry tip, but especially true for clothes that you value lol. If you're unfamiliar with what that means, it basically means wash your dark colored clothes with other dark colored clothes and wash only light colored clothes with other light colored clothes. Why? Because the color from your dark colored clothes may bleed and that will have the greatest effect on light colored clothes and probably little to no effect on other dark colored clothes. If you're unsure about whether something might bleed, it's probably best to do a little test. I did a quick google search and found this guide which is mostly relevant to checking fabric before starting a sewing project, but the general advice can still apply (but just don't cut your clothes). If you're unhappy with the example I just provided, feel free to do a search yourself "clothes bleeding test" or "how do i tell if my clothes will bleed" or something similar.
After the washing machine is done, I try to get to the clothes ASAP (within reason, I mean, I'm not sprinting to the washing machine or anything), take them out of the laundry bags, smooth/whack out the wrinkles as best as I can, arrange ruffles or other details as necessary, then hang to dry. For knits or other clothes in materials that would stretch if hung, I lay flat to dry. (These instructions are likely also listed on the care tag.) "Hang to dry" is literally what it sounds like. I put the clothes on hangers and let them dry with just regular air (no dryer or added artificial heat, but a regular fan is okay). Some people use clothes lines and other people use other kinds of clips, but the bottom line is that the clothes are air drying. "Lay flat to dry" is also pretty literal. It's the same concept where you want the clothes to air dry without using a dryer, but instead of hanging them (because they might stretch due to gravity), you lay them down on an elevated net or a towel or something like that. My family has what is essentially called a "drying rack" that we use that is specifically for this purpose which basically allows air flow above and below the garment. If you are using a towel, be sure to turn the garment over after a few hours or so and to air out the towel afterwards. Typically, you want to avoid direct sunlight for clothes with color because that may drain the color from your clothes.
How do you know when the clothes are "done" drying? Feel them (like literally touch the item). If they are dry, then they are done. If they are still damp, leave them there until they are dry. Repeat check as many times as necessary until the clothes are dry. Fold or otherwise store your clothing as you desire. Then the laundry process is complete unless you need to iron.
Again, ironing Liz Lisa clothes is no different than ironing clothes from any other brand (Japanese, American or otherwise) of the same material. Every iron might be slightly different but generally they will all have different settings for different materials. It's also generally suggested to follow whatever restrictions are listed on the care tag. (Please Google "how to use an iron" or "how to iron clothes" for more information/better information than I can explain right now.)
The reason I wash my clothes like this is because when I bought (and needed to wash) my first Liz Lisa pieces, I was actually in Japan and asked my host mother at the time "do I need to hand wash this?" She said, "No, just use a (mesh) laundry bag." And I said, "And use the washing machine? No need to hand wash?" And she looked at the material once more and nodded and told me machine wash should be okay, lol. I trust her since she has been doing laundry a lot longer than I have that it is fine. They don't use a dryers a lot in Japan, so I figured I should just air dry whenever it made sense (which is almost always).
Since she washed my Liz Lisa clothes that way (she insisted on doing the laundry. I don't know if she was just nervous about me mussing up her washing machine or if that's just how she runs her house lol), I just continue to follow those guidelines for my personal (Liz Lisa) clothes. I'm very lazy about hand washing, especially because sometimes I have a lot of pieces to wash at one time (like after a trip), so I'm glad that my host mom had confirmed for me that machine wash isn't the end of the world so early on. If I ever feel the need to dry clean something, I usually use at home products like Dryel because dry cleaning here is a bit expensive for casual clothes like this. (A coworker who just moved here from the mainland told me that it's a lot more expensive here in comparison, but I'm not sure if that's true.) Even if hand washing or dry cleaning might be the best option, I know that, for me and my personal standards and priorities, machine washing with like colors and hanging or laying flat to dry works fine. (If I knew I was going to sell an item, I would definitely follow the care instructions for best results. This is also why I tend to like to ask sellers who are selling used clothes how they launder their clothing.)

I mentioned earlier that winter clothes are sometimes made of much different material than summer/spring(/even autumn) clothes because they are meant to keep you warm, like coats. I've owned a few Liz Lisa coats but have never actually worn them. I mean, there's just really no need. Therefore, I've never washed any of them. However, my friends who've lived in places where you need coats have told me that you generally dry clean them, depending on the material. You might even just air them out? And some coats can be machine washed. I guess it depends on how much you wear them as well. I'm pretty sure if you wear a Liz Lisa coat, you probably own other coats and know much better than I do about how to generally wash/launder them. So essentially, again, the same rule applies that you would wash/care for Liz Lisa coats the same way you would wash any other coats of the same material and that you should follow the instructions on the tag for best results. Feel free to google search for more specific care instructions!

While I was thinking about this post, I remembered there was a nicely illustrated translated graphic on tumblr somewhere, and I went through my likes to track it down -
Translation and photos in current state credited to nandeyan3n on tumblr. Sorry, I can't seem to find a source for the original (Japanese) image but it seems like it might be from a magazine judging from the page numbers?
This may also be a good resource for you. It's specifically catering to lolita/lolita fashion in the graphics, but a lot of it is just general care for your wardrobe which is great to read. Unfortunately I don't know the author and can't field any questions related to this specifically since I didn't write it, but I thought it would be nice to include here as a second opinion. 

If you want to take special care of any of your Liz Lisa clothes (better than I do but for some reason don't want to follow the care tag), my advice would be to read up on how lolitas launder their clothes, etc. Whereas "how to wash Liz Lisa clothes" generally doesn't yield very many results, "how to wash lolita clothes" is a very different story. Others have written extensively about the subject in blog posts, forums, etc. I looked through quite a few of them to help me write this post and give you all a few other resources. Please feel free to google yourself for more information as there is much more out there!

Once again, please choose the washing/care options that make the most sense for you and what your priorities are. The information I provided about my own experience in this post was just from what my mother (and host mom) taught me and googling a bit on the internet. You may consider using those as resources for yourself as well. I don't think you can ask my mother, but you can ask your own. Or your father or an aunt, uncle, cousin, grandma, grandpa, teacher, coach, guardian, etc. Anyone who has done laundry for a significant part of their life probably knows a little something or a tip or two. If you don't feel comfortable asking anyone or just want a second opinion, then definitely go ahead and try google. I do that myself if I can't remember how to launder a certain fabric (i.e. Google search: "how do I wash a faux leather jacket?" or "how do I dry my clothes?" or "I live in a humid climate, how do I air dry my sweater?" or "how do I iron a polyester dress?" or "what are alternatives to using a dry cleaning service?"). It's a great resource! And please use common sense as much as possible. When in doubt, I would just do exactly what the care tag suggests.
Also a reminder note that I cannot read (/write or speak) Japanese fluently so if there is a translation problem anywhere, sorry. 

Please feel free to leave other tips or tricks in the comments or other websites that might have helpful information! Or any mistakes that you made that you want to help others avoid! Since there is no one singular correct way to do laundry, I'm sure anyone reading this might benefit from learning about other methods or mishaps as well.


  1. For my beloved wool pieces (Liz Lisa or not), I throw them in the washing machine and I use Woolite Everyday laundry detergent and I set the washing machine to handwash mode and to change the water temperature settings to cold if it hasn't been set to that already. My personal reason for doing this method because Woolite is safe for wool fabrics and this detergent doesn't eat at the material, nor does it stretch it, fade it or mess with it in any way. Handwash mode and cold water settings of course for the same reasons, since wool is a delicate material, it needs to be treated delicately. Air drying is the way to go for my wool pieces since shoving them in the dryer will make the clothes shrink.

    I've also washed my Liz Lisa jackets with this method as well (handwash cycle + Woolite everyday detergent + air drying) and they've come out fine. Just remember to remove the fur parts.

    If there's any more stuff, I'll comment it again!

    1. Thank you Catherine! I'm sure this information will be really helpful to someone :)

    2. I forgot to mention! Since Woolite Everyday detergent is a gentle detergent, it is not very effective at stain removal. So don't intentionally spill spaghetti on yourself thinking Woolite will save you, because it wont since it's weaker than the average detergents on the market (for a reason of course).

      Also if I do face one of these food mishaps, I keep a Tide-To-Go pen with me so I can get most of the stain out on the spot while it's fresh instead of waiting to go home to throw it in the wash since that gives the stain some time to set in. I do not recommend this method on wool though (just because wool is so delicate). For cottons and polyester materials, this is A-OK!

  2. Thanks for this post! I do the same thing as you, put it in a mesh bag and wash them normally. And I also air dry, but mostly because I try and save power where I can. Glad to know it's a good way to do it. :)

    1. Haha actually most of the tags say dry clean or handwash but I think most of us can't be bothered if machine washing will be just as good!

  3. I always air dry my clothes as well since my dry cleaner is expensive to run - plus... air drying it free so might as well. XD I wouldn't suggest washing your coats in a washing machine at all tbh, I have no idea how you would even fit a coat in a washing machine but okay. One thing - I think you forgot (or maybe I just didn't read it) is to remove things that can be removed like ribbons (they can come off in the wash and get lost easily), broaches and chains etc. If it's removable it's a good indication you shouldn't wash it!

    1. I think "coat" is loosely defined by some people? Idk lol.
      I think the graphic might mention something about removable items but I didn't mention it myself since I'm typically not super careful about it lol. Good catch!

  4. i love how thorough this post is. Future citations: 100000

  5. Thank you so much for this post :D

  6. Wow, these are really cute dresses! I think my niece would love to have these for her birthday. Have you ever tried steaming it instead of the traditional iron press?

    1. I would try steaming if I had a steamer lol.

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