The one thing about living in Singapore with its perpetually hot and humid climate? Having seasons is a really awesome and novel thing for us. Winter is extra magical because we just don’t have that in Singapore at all, but it also means that many of us are extra clueless when it comes to basic things like winter wear – what on earth do you do with all these coats and gloves after a lovely winter holiday?
The Honestbee Laundry folk offered me a chance to try out their door-to-door dry cleaning service which sounds super useful if you’re busy running around and don’t have the time to drop off your clothes at the laundromat for dry cleaning. I have a review and some codes to save you a bit of cash if you want to try them out. Scroll to the bottom for more (come on you need to work for it!)
I’ve also put together some tips on how to take care of your winter gear post-holiday, especially in our crazy tropical climate where you will be leaving your winter gear untouched for long stretches and dealing with the moisture in the air. If anyone has their own tips and tricks, do drop a note in the comments section so I can add it into the post and share the genius!
Does winter wear really require special cleaning?
I’m a fan of just dumping stuff into the washing machine and letting things happen, but special care usually has to be taken with winter clothing because of the material – washing machines or detergents can spoil the fabrics if you aren’t careful. So I checked with the Honestbee Laundry folk and did a bit of my own research to find out what to look out for when you’re cleaning your winter wear post-trip.
tl;dr: No time or no idea how to do it? Let the experts do it – pay your laundromat or your dry cleaner to save yourself the headache and effort needed to clean your clothes. Personally I’d suggest using some of these tips for day-to-day basis and then getting the experts in once in awhile for a ‘deep clean’.
My family are big fans of Uniqlo – it’s simple and effective and often comes in pretty colours to boot. I personally like that they squash up really small, great for the carry-on traveller like me. I wore my Uniqlo down jacket a lot during my Career Break but was always kinda nervous about washing it, so I mostly wiped it down and aired/sunned it a lot on the go because I was pretty paranoid about it getting stinky.
This down jacket has been through some intense times around the world with me and because it’s been so long since I’ve cleaned it properly (and I’m lazy, yes it’s true) so I sent it for drycleaning this time with Honestbee Laundry, but from my research, you can wash your Uniqlo down jacket safely, but it takes quite a fair bit of effort to do so:
- By hand: in cold water, gently patting it dry between towels and laying it down to dry, and then you need to fluff up the clumps of down after that
- By machine: In a front-loading washing machine (no agitators) with a special down wash (normal detergents might spoil the down), add washing balls or tennis balls to the machine to keep the down from clumping together when it’s being washed. You can put it in the dryer at the absolute lowest setting, but also dump in the tennis balls to prevent clumping and it might take a few hours because of the low heat setting.
I also wore a lot of this Uniqlo fleece jacket because I liked how warm it was, usually layering it under my down jacket when it was really cold. I like it but it was a tad bulky compared to the down jacket that squishes up small – I’d often wear or tie this fleece jacket on to my bag to save space for my other clothes.
It turns out fleece is actually pretty safe for machine washing as long as you watch for a few things:
- Cold water cycles are best for washing fleece – heat is terrible for fleece and to be avoided as far as possible
- Only wash fleece with other fleece or lightweight materials – abrasion with other heavier materials makes it lose its softness. Turn it inside out when you put it in the machine to help protect the material
- Use gentle detergents – bleach will spoil the fleece, and also make sure the detergent is thoroughly removed from your fleece after washing
- When it comes to drying, it’s recommended to lay flat and air-dry as far as possible, but if you have to use the dryer, make sure it is on the lowest heat settings
I could not resist the cheap and beautiful wool products all over South America. Seriously, my poncho from Quito cost me S$30, my jacket from Arequipa was S$20, and the gloves and hat from La Paz were S$10 in total, which altogether is cheaper than the cost of the Uniqlo down jacket!
Cleaning and storage tips
When do you need to dryclean instead of machine wash?
Honestbee recommends dry cleaning in the case where traditional water washing can cause shrinkage and other issues with wool and other delicate clothing, as the solvents in dry cleaning ensure no damage to the fibers and sensitive materials in the lining and pockets of the coat. Dry cleaning also ensures delicate fibers & embellishment remain intact as before, as opposed to washing with water.
How often should you dryclean your winter coats?
Honestbee suggests you should leave enough time to do it before your next winter holiday, but my personal suggestion would be once in awhile, maybe every 3 major wears or so, but it depends how dirty they get and your tolerance for dirt.
When you return from a winter holiday, the most important thing to do is to remove all the moisture, sweat, dirt and grime from your winter jackets before you store them away if you want them to last longer, because all that grit can cause damage to your coats if you leave them unchecked for too long.
How to store winter wear in hot humid climates?
Ideally, vacumn pack your winter coats to prevent additional moisture, mildew, insects and odour from seeping into your clothes. It also is great for saving cupboard space because winter clothing does get bulky. I’d consider taking them out to check at least once a year just to ensure nothing is growing or disintegrating.
Other good tips:
- Ensure your winter wear is clean and completely dry before you pack it away
- Use good hangers to maintain the shape if necessary
- Get desiccants or dehumidifiers to help remove the moisture in the air around your clothing
- If you have rooms that are cooler or are air-conditioned 24/7 for some reason (some offices and storage units), consider using those rooms. If not, your ideal conditions are dark, dry, well ventilated
- Cedar balls and bags of lavender help to ward off insects and also make your clothes smell nice
My experience with Honestbee Laundry
I am the ultimate lazy person, so when Honestbee Laundry told me they offer a direct door to door pick up service and return, I was sold. The app was pretty easy to use and very efficient. I made my booking at around 3pm on Wednesday for a same day pick up during the 4-5pm slot. My pick up came at around 450pm. I booked the return slot for 4-5pm on Friday, and very promptly at 4pm I get a call that my laundry had made it back to my home 5 minutes before I did.
I sent in 2 winter coats and 2 dresses for cleaning, and they were returned in great condition all wrapped up in plastic and hanging on a black plastic hanger. They accidentally missed out the fur portion on one of my coats when they delivered it and the best part is I didn’t even realise it until they called me a few days later to apologise profusely and set up another delivery free of charge, so I was pretty impressed with that.
Now I hope no one has to use this, but Honestbee also offers some pretty high insurance rates for your clothing just in case your stuff gets spoiled by mistake – 15x the amount you pay for normal dry cleaning, but if you pick the premium option, the insurance goes up to $1,000/item and $5,000/order – especially reassuring if you have some expensive clothing on hand. I had a silk cheongsam and a designer dress that I hadn’t washed in awhile because I was paranoid about wrecking them in the washing machine, so I was pretty happy to finally get them cleaned thoroughly.
I did a quick check of other dry cleaning services online offered for winter clothing, and while there’s quite a wide range of prices available, winter coat dry cleaning pricing generally ranges from S$15-$30 per piece depending on size and material. Honestbee Laundry’s price for a winter coat is $22.90 for the premium dry clean and $19.90 for normal dry cleaning, which does fall in the middle of the range and if you add on the discount codes, drops to an even lower cost.
I did have a good experience with Honestbee Laundry and I’d consider using them again in future for laundering special clothing just for the convenience.
Honestbee Laundry Discount Code
And here’s what you guys have been waiting for! First-time Honestbee Laundry users can use the code WINTER15 upon checking out to get $15 off a minimum order of $25. That means you could be doing dry cleaning for just $10, which is not a bad deal at all. They have another code FIRSTWASH for first time customers that gives you $12 off though you can’t use them both together.
Share with me your nifty winter coat cleaning tips and tricks so we can all make our winter clothing last longer.
The drycleaning and this post was sponsored by Honestbee Laundry. All opinions are based on my own experience using them.
Looking for my favourite winter holiday stories? I’ll always be very fond of Munich just before Christmas, and visiting Gangwon and Pyeongchang in South Korea, or that one time I got stuck on a ski slope in Japan.