So you splurged and bought the ridiculously expensive t-shirt/bra/sweater. "Sure, it was pricey," you told yourself, "but it will last a lifetime!" Right?

Well, that depends. How you wash an item of clothing will go a long way in determining how long you will be able to wear it proudly.

The first step is to wash with a gentle cleanser. Caldrea manufactures beautiful and beautifully-scented home products, including these from their gentle "Sweet Pea" line.

Sweet Pea products are marketed by Caldrea for baby clothes, but they should also be gentle enough to handle even your most delicate couture.

For more laundry tips,

Dryers. They're dreadfully convenient, but high heat is the enemy of delicate fabrics. To break the dangerous cycle, Williams Sonoma offers this great collapsible drying rack for $44.

With multiple bars to hang clothing and a flat rack to dry your sweaters, the best part of this drying rack is that it folds down to just 3" deep.

And for more helpful information on fabric care, Woolite has put together this great fabric care chart to show you how to launder everything from acetate to wool.

Now I've got to go do my own!