Tips to Care for All Your Favorite Summer Items

Maybe it’s because we actually want to spend time outside, but our summer clothing and accessories seem to take more of a beating then those we don during cooler months. To that end, below is your go-to guide (from the most expert of experts) on how to keep each treasured piece of warm-weather-wear looking good as new for next year—and the one after that.

1 Leather Sandals

Comfortable, effortless, and chic. How could you not want to wear these every single day that the sun is shining and the temp is over 70 degrees? To make sure your favorite pair is around for the long haul, follow the wisdom of shoe designer-extraordinaire, Stuart Weitzman:

After each wearing, clean leather sandals with a damp, soft sponge to remove the dirt and oil residue. This will help prevent buildup or discoloration.
Keep the packaging sandals come with—those plastic inserts and supports from the box—and tuck them back into sandals when storing them to help them retain their shape.

2 Straw Beach Bags and Totes

Nothing says summer quite like a pretty woven beach tote (and for style’s sake, they definitely beat out their canvas competition), but they do take a little extra love and care. Laurel Brandstetter, whose brand Mar y Sol has gone from an insider cult obsession to selling at nationwide retailers, like J.Crew, has a couple of tricks up her sleeve:

Throughout beach season, give straw bags a good shake to knock any sand out after each use. Then, spot-clean with a damp cloth.
If you’ve overstuffed or accidentally created a bulge in the straw, a good spritz with clean water from a spray bottle will dampen the fibers just enough to help you reshape a misshapen bag.
Store basket style totes upright—and make them multitask. They can be filled with towels, magazines, knitting supplies or anything else during the off-season.

3 White Denim

‘Tis the season! White jeans, ubiquitous during the summer months, pose one of the trickiest “keep it clean” conundrums. Mary Ellen Moschetti, the CEO of the fit-obsessed, trend-focused denim line Parker Smith, comes to the rescue:

If you’ve spilled something on your white jeans, treat the spot with a stain-remover, then turn it inside out and machine-wash in cold water.
For whites that are starting to look dingy, use a non-chlorine, oxygen-based bleach detergent when washing to help restore the brightness. No matter what, only wash them with other whites.
If your jeans contain stretch and have gotten baggy, throw them in the dryer. The heat will help stretch fibers bounce back to their original shape.

4 Sunglasses

Whether your pair is a statement accessory or more low-key, you probably wear your sunnies every day. And even if you’re careful with them, they’ll start to show signs of wear over time. Kristen McCabe, Sunglass Hut’s Vice President of Product, offers these tips for keeping your frames in good shape:

Clean your lenses regularly, even if they aren’t prescription. Always use a sunglass cleaning solution and a microfiber cloth. As tempting as it is to just fog the lens with your breath and swipe your shirt over it, resist—this can actually compound dust and dirt on the lens and cause scratches.
Don’t push your sunglasses up onto the top of your head like a headband. This will cause them to warp and stretch out over time.
Be conscientious about carrying your sunglasses in a case, so your keys or anything else in your handbag doesn’t scratch the lenses. If the box they came in is too bulky, opt for a space-saving microfiber pouch.

5 Flip-Flops

Maybe even more than your leather sandals, trusty flip-flops get the most abuse during summer. They’re everyone’s favorite footwear for the beach, the pool, running errands, and getting a pedicure—and over the course of all of this they acquire quite a bit of grime. Tara Wessells, Senior Merchandising Manager for Havaianas (a.k.a. the flip-flop), has the dirt on getting them squeaky clean again:

Using a soft-bristle nail brush and gentle dish soap, scrub the flip-flops gently under running warm water. Let them air dry, and they’ll be good as new.
Store brightly colored pairs in a dark place or stow them in shoe bags, as the rubber can fade easily in the sun.