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Caring for Dog Clothes

You have bragging rights to the best-dressed pooch in the neighborhood. They have an impressive collection of canine couture that would rival the closets of even the most fabulous of fashionistas. And as long as you keep finding more adorable apparel for your little one at G.W. Little, the larger their wardrobe will expand. Sound familiar? If it does, then it may be worthwhile to learn about some of the best ways to care for and clean doggie wear so that your pampered pup can continue to look smashing in their darling duds for years.

Hang It:

To avoid wrinkles and ruining decorative designs on fabrics, it's a good idea to hang your doggie clothing instead of folding and storing them in piles. Folding at the design may damage the decorations like rhinestones, thicker appliqués and even lettering. Avoiding creases avoids ironing which is particularly important as most decorative detail may not withstand the heat. (Who likes ironing, anyway?) And what better reason to splurge on a beautiful little dog armoire chest!

Many of us are tempted to grab any small baby hangers and stretch our pet's clothing onto them. Bad move. I've seen the wrong hanger turn a perfectly fitting outfit into a hanging, droopy mess. I recommend the following hangers from G.W. Little made just for your little one's garments: #103666- A set of six wrought iron hangers with a heart detail to hold matching collars and harnesses. #205105- Wooden Mahogany Hangers- three sizes with special inlayed silicone ribbing to keep garments in place.

Clean It:

I've had great success using a mesh lingerie bag. You can find these, also known as "fine washables bags", at places like Bed, Bath & Beyond, as well as lingerie shops and specialty stores. Another recommended option is hand washing. Be sure to select a mild liquid soap like Woolite or something similar made for delicate fabrics. And no matter how you wash your doggie duds, be certain to only use cold water. Not only will it prevent shrinkage, it will also help keep colors from fading.

Buttery soft but extra sturdy Ultrasuede® is making its appearance in doggie fashion more than ever. But don't let its perceived maintenance keep you from indulging in this practical luxury; Ultrasuede is actually very simple to care for. To keep that rich lush texture, simply go over the fabric- (dry, not wet)- with a medium-bristle brush every once in a while as needed. To clean, simply hand wash with mild soap and water and lay flat to dry. Clean light colors regularly as you would your own light colored garments.

Dry It:

Though it may be tempting to toss wet doggie wear into the dryer to get the job done fast, I've found dryers cause "pilling" and loss of elasticity. Remember small items will not take long to air dry. This also allows the garment to retain its original, adorable shape. If you prefer the dryer, use "no heat" or "fluff" cycle only.

In-between washings the use of a lint roller for loose hair will keep them tidy with the exception of sweaters or fuzzy fabrics like cashmere or angora. For these items you will need to pull off the fur the old fashioned way: with your fingers.

- Written by Sharon Athanasiou
Sharon is a dog clothing and accessory designer, in addition to being manager of South Florida's Mod Dog Boutique. She's also mom to three wonderful furbabies, Fluffernutter, Vanillabean, and Bettie Page.


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