Keep clothes looking great no matter the season with these Lab-approved tips. (Danielle Occhiogrosso Daly)

Steal these proven ways to simplify your seasonal closet swap, make Wash Day a breeze — and rescue your favorite cool-weather clothes from stains and more.

How to Tackle Seasonal Stains

Save washable fall and winter fabrics from these mess-makers in just a few steps:

1. Candle Wax

Let the wax cool or hold a plastic bag of ice against it. Gently pry off the hardened wax with a spoon or dull knife. Place the fabric between paper towels and press with a warm, dry (no-steam) iron, rotating the towels as they absorb wax. Rub in liquid detergent. Wash in warm or hot water with fabric-safe bleach.

2. Pumpkin

Scrape off excess and flush with cold water. Rub in liquid laundry detergent or pretreater. Wait five minutes, then wash in the hottest water that’s safe with a fabric-safe bleach.

3. Cranberry Sauce

Rinse with cold water. Soak 15 minutes in a mix of 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent in 1 quart cool water. Launder as usual in warm water with fabric-safe bleach.

4. Pine Tree Sap

Soak in rubbing alcohol to soften, then gently peel off what you can. Work in more alcohol to dissolve any remaining stain. Rinse. Rub in pretreater, and wash in the warmest water that’s safe.

5. Apple Cider

Flush with cold water. Work in liquid laundry detergent or pretreater, and wash in warm or, if safe, hot water. If the stain remains, rewash and add in a fabric-safe bleach.

4 Tricks to Simplify Storage

Pack up out-of-season clothing like a pro.

1. Organize likes together. Designating one box or bag for casual tops, another for pants, a third for dressy items and so on means you are folding and stashing similar items at once for a speedier and more orderly approach. Add a label (if you can’t see in), and finding what you want next season will be a cinch.

2. Wash smarter. Pick a dedicated time to launder only the items you’re storing so that items go from the dryer to storage. If you mix them in with your usual loads, you’ll waste time separating them from the clothes your family is wearing now.

3. Steam, don’t iron. To dewrinkle items before storing and to save time next season, opt for a steamer (just let damp items dry). It’s faster than an iron and easy to use right where you are packing.

4. Stock up on acid-free tissue paper. Available online or at craft stores, this paper has a neutral pH and none of the acids that can leach out of regular tissue to stain fabrics. Use it as a cushion between items and to keep sequins and beads from snagging other fabrics. Stuff it inside boxes to prevent clothes from shifting and wrinkling, and inside hats to help them keep their shape.

Easy Ways to Conquer Closet Clutter

Winter clothes are bulkier than summer ones, making closets feel cramped. Try these tips to maximize every inch:

Make hangers do more. Who says only one garment per hanger? Place two pairs of pants on the crossbar, or clip two thinner skirts together. Better yet, consider tiered hangers that hold multiples of the same item vertically.

Invest in shelf dividers. Keep stacks of sweaters, pants and purses neat and accessible with plastic or metal shelf dividers. They clip in place, are adjustable and prevent items from tumbling into a jumbled mess.

Use the back of the door. Sure, a shoe caddy can go there, but not all closets are deep enough for one. Instead, mount hooks, like Command brand, or hang a ready-made organizer for scarves, belts and accessories there.

Relocate coats. If you store clothes and coats in the same space, stop. Not only does outerwear eat up room, but it gets worn more and cleaned less, so it’s best not to have it rub up against clean clothes in your closet.


Pet On Board

Bringing your fur baby along on a holiday trip? Check out how to keep him safe and cozy.

Plan ahead. Program the numbers for a vet near your destination and the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) into your phone so they’re handy for any emergencies. Then use the road trip planner at to find animal-friendly lodging, restaurants and activities. If you’re jetting, lists documents and items needed for pets to board, saving you time and headaches later.

Do a crate test. If your pet isn’t used to being confined to her carrier, leave it out for a few days before the trip. Every time she goes into it, give her a treat, and by the time travel day arrives, she’ll perceive it as her place of safety. Just don’t forget to make it comfy by tossing in an old T-shirt. Your familiar scent will keep her calm if unexpected turbulence hits.

Feed him. Think about how you feel when you skip breakfast (read: hangry). Pets are no different. The morning of the trip, feed your pooch a light breakfast with plenty of water. If your dog is prone to motion sickness, administer medication soon afterward.

Offer noise therapy. Look for recordings of ambient sounds such as “Calm Pet” and “Sounds for Hounds” (both on Amazon Music) that can help desensitize a dog to airplane sounds before a trip. Play it on the way to the airport.

Recalls Alert

The following products and vehicles were recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Unless otherwise indicated, discontinue use of the products immediately and return them to the store where purchased for a refund. For more information about the products, call the manufacturer or CPSC’s toll-free hotline, 800-638-2772. Only some cars or trucks recalled are affected. Contact a dealer for your model to see if it is included in the recall. The dealer will tell you what to do.


Brookstone Big Blue Party indoor/outdoor wireless speakers, sold at Ace Hardware, Bloomingdale’s, Bon-Ton, Brookstone and other stores nationwide, on the Home Shopping Network and online at, and other websites from December 2013 through August 2018 for about $200.

The lithium ion batteries in the wireless speakers can overheat and catch fire, posing a fire hazard. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled speakers and properly dispose of the lithium-ion battery packs according to state and local regulations. Brookstone has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Contact Brookstone at 866-576-7337 or visit the Omni Management Group website for information about a possible refund.

2018-2019 Cadillac CT6 sedans and Escalade ESV SUVs, Chevrolet Suburban SUVs and Volt hybrids, and GMC Yukon XL SUVs

Certain second-row or third-row rear seat belt retractor assemblies may not automatically lock when the seat belt is fully pulled out of the retractor, possibly preventing a child seat from being properly secured, increasing the risk of injury in the event of a crash. Dealers will inspect the rear seat belt retractors and replace them, if necessary, for free. Owners can call Cadillac at 800-458-8006, Chevrolet at 800-222-1020 or GMC at 800-462-8782 to learn more.

© Hearst Communications Inc.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate