Throwing a dress carelessly upon a chair with other clothes taken off at night, because it is only a common one is a very bad habit. Ordinary dresses are worthy of care, and pay for it by presenting a better appearance to the end. They should be brushed, shaken, turned wrong side out, and hung up in a closet which has a door to shut out dust, and above all they should be kept in good repair. Every rip and rent should receive attention as soon as it occurs, or a condition of shabbiness will ensue that will be a great obstacle to making the dress over when the time comes.
A clothes brush, a wisp broom, a bottle of ammonia, a sponge, a hand brush, a cake of erasive soap, and a vial of alcohol should form a part of the furnishings of every toilet. After all dust has been removed from clothing, spots may be taken out of black cloth with the hand brush, dipped in a mixture of equal parts of ammonia, alcohol and water. This will brighten as well as cleanse. Benzine is useful in removing grease spots. Spots of grease may be removed from colored silks by putting on them raw starch made into a paste with water. Dust is best removed from silk by a soft flannel, from velvet with a brush made specially for the purpose, or a piece of crape. Shawls and all articles that may be folded, should be folded when taken from the person in their original creases and laid away. Cloaks should be hung up in place, gloves pulled out lengthwise, wrapped in tissue paper and laid away, laces smoothed out nicely and folded, if requisite, so that they will come out of the box new and fresh when needed again. A strip of old black broadcloth four or five inches wide, rolled up tightly and sewed to keep the roll in place, is better than a sponge or a cloth in cleansing black and dark colored clothes. Whatever lint comes from it in rubbing is black and does not show. When black cloths are washed, as they may often be previous to making over, fresh clean water should be used, and they should be pressed on the wrong side before being quite dry. If washed in water previously used for white clothing they will be covered with lint. In securing clothing against moths, if linen is used for wrappings no moth will molest. Paper bags are equally good if they are perfectly tight, and so are trunks and boxes closed so tightly that no crevice is left open for the entrance of the moth fly. As the moth loves darkness, it will not molest even furs hung up in light rooms open to air and sunshine.
Bonnets and hats also merit tender care, and should not be allowed to lie about and gather dust; but, after being taken from the head, should be dusted, the bows and trimmings straightened, and laid away in boxes. If the feathers seem limp and slightly uncurled, sometimes holding them over the hot air of an open register will restore them. Veils, neck-ribbons, and cravats will also keep fresh much longer if carefully folded up and laid away under a weight sufficient to keep them in place. Soiled, ribbons, in most colors, can be restored by washing in alcohol and water, and, instead of being ironed, smoothed by being stretched tightly upon a board, held in place by pins, and wiped gently with a soft handkerchief once or twice in the drying.
Shoes even pay for good care. On taking them off do not leave them in the shape of the foot, but smooth them by stretching out the wrinkles and bending the soles straight. If buttons are lacking, sew them on immediately, and if other repairs are needed, have them attended to at once. Never wear a shoe with a single button off as it destroys the shape. On old shoes the lit is greatly improved by setting over the buttons as far as comfortable for the foot. If the heels become worn down on one side, straighten them without delay, or the shoe will take a permanent twist.
Gloves with many are greatly abused, which is a mistake, because to be well gloved contributes very much toward a lady like appearance, and unless one can afford a constant procession of new gloves it is desirable to keep the old ones in order. When taken off they should not be rolled together in a lump, as is the custom with many, but pulled and stretched lengthwise, and laid away in a box, like new gloves, without any folding. They should also be kept repaired, for if rips on the ringer ends are neglected they soon get so large that in mending them it is impossible to restore the proper shape of the fingers. Kid gloves should be turned and the tears mended upon the wrong side; they can be sewed more neatly than upon the other side. When gloves are of poor kid, or where there is a weak portion which parts easily, it is well, instead of darning them, to work in an elastic lace stitch, with silk of the same color. This is done by making a succession of buttonhole stitches, catching one to the other till the rent is filled up. When soiled they can be cleaned at home as well as at a professional cleaners. Wash them in benzine, using quite a quantity, as it is cheap when bought by the quart or half gallon, being very careful to keep a good distance from the fire or any lamp, as benzine is very inflammable and dangerous. The common benzine is best. Perhaps the best plan is to let them soak for ten minutes in the benzine, then squeeze out the gloves, wash them out in a fresh cupful until the dirt has made the liquid quite dark, then rinse in a clean cupful. This last may be put away in a close bottle to use for soaking the next pair that is to be cleaned. Now pull them straight and rub with a soft handkerchief until dry. Place over them thin, soft white paper and iron them hard with an iron not hot enough to draw them. This puts a polish on them and makes them look like new. If too large they may be shrunk a little by using a hotter iron. Now place them in a towel and lay near the stove for two or three hours to remove all smell of benzine, and then place in the glove box with sachets of violet between them.
It is an excellent plan, when one glove of a pair has unfortunately been lost, to preserve the odd one to mend with. It is not usual to patch gloves, but it often happens that a misfit can be remedied by inserting a V. shaped piece in the palm; for this and other contingencies a supply of odd gloves often proves valuable.