Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Our Best End-of-Year Clothes Cleaning Tips

And a couple for the year ahead.

A pile of ribbons
Photo: Getty Images

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

2016 has been, to put it bluntly, a mess of a year. But here at Racked, I've been keeping things in order the best way I know how: by solving your clothing care conundrums, one by one. This year, the format of my fashion- and beauty-obsessed cleaning advice column, Out, Damned Spot, evolved to include the very real questions that my fellow Racked staffers desperately needed answers to.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about how one editor is plagued by underpants that look like colanders. Did you understand completely when another asked "For laundering purposes, is a striped shirt a light or a dark?" I definitely know we blew the minds of some of our male colleagues when we gave tips on how to cope when your makeup has smeared all over someone else's VR headset.

Hopefully, in an otherwise murky year, Out, Damned Spot offered you a tiny, tidy oasis in which the solution to complex problems, like removing beer stains from a Gucci bag, is often a fairly simple one. So before we close the books on 2016, here are some of my best tips from the year that was.

  • Virtually no one is immune to the scourge of deodorant skidmarks, those horrible white chalky streaks that turn up on your clothes after you've slipped them over your head. The good news is that they're almost as easy to remove as they are irritating to discover. In fact, there are nine ways to remove deodorant streaks.
  • With the new year and all its attendant resolutions to get fit and healthy right around the corner, your gym gear is about to take a real beating. Come January, you may find yourself wondering how to clean a yoga mat. Well, wonder no more! And since we're all friends here, this is a safe space to admit that you're also wondering how to keep permastink from ruining your workout clothes.
  • We'll talk a lot more about this in January, but should you want to start off the new year by ridding yourself of last year's brow highlighter, a good place to start is with this explainer on makeup expiration dates. It even comes with a helpful five-step plan for executing a full makeup purge!
  • The holidays bring with them a lot of engagements, which in turn will bring you a lot of outdoor weddings come summer. As one Racked staffer learned the very, very hard way, these can do a number on a pair of fancy high heels, but literally no one ever needs to worry about what to do when you trash your heels on the lawn.
  • And guess what: There are still a few more days to party before we resolve not to party so hard in 2017. Until January 2nd comes a-knockin', this guide on how to handle a red wine stain may come in handy.

Do you have a question you'd like to see answered in my weekly cleaning advice column, Out, Damned Spot? Email me!