With the current climate crisis, we’re all trying to do our bit to be more sustainable, whether that’s buying a reusable water bottle or becoming a smarter consumer of clothing. A big part of sustainable fashion is making your clothes last, so you’re not constantly throwing them away, buying new ones, and getting caught up in a neverending and harmful cycle. Additionally, looking after your clothes properly means they can still look brand new after months and years of wear.
The essence of washing your items correctly is to follow the care labels’ directions. In addition to this, there are a few rules that you should follow to take care of your clothes.
- Do not let clothes stay dirty for long, wash them as soon as possible. Maybe set yourself a laundry schedule (weekly or bi-weekly)
- Sort your laundry by their prescribed washing method and temperature and separate your whites and your coloured items
- Always be careful of clothing items that have elements that will snag or catch on other items
- For the best results do not over- or under-load the washing machine and mix items of various sizes in one load
- Do not buy detergents that have added fabric softeners in them, as they can harm delicate fibres. Avoid any combination/all-in-one products in general. Purchase the substances you need separately and add them in the wash when required
- Do not leave clean clothes to sit in the washing machine
- Reduce fabric pilling by washing items inside out
- If possible, avoid detergents with harmful chemical and opt for eco-friendly options, like Method’s products.
In terms of maintaining the appearance of your clothes, it helps to understand the materials they are made of. The basic component of fabrics can be separated into two categories: natural (cotton, wool, silk) and synthetic fibres (polyester, nylon, elastane).
Clothes made with natural fibres wrinkle easily, so always hang them up if possible. They will most likely need to be ironed often, or, in the case of wool and silk, gently steamed with a handheld steamer. These materials are not elastic so be careful not to stretch them out of their shape. Since natural fibres are water-absorbing and oil repellent, they don’t need much washing. It is better to spot treat them with a clean damp towel when the need arises. Wool is vulnerable to moths so avoid storing it in a dark and damp area. Silk stains easily but is also easy to get clean. However, try to avoid physical exercise when wearing silk, as acidic substances, such as sweat, can damage the material.
There are so many varieties of synthetic fibres out there that it is impossible to make a sweeping statement about what they all have in common. In general, they tend to be water-resistant and oil absorbent. This means that they become soiled easily and are also difficult to clean, so they need to be washed more often. These fibres also pill easily, so invest in a fabric shaver to reduce the pilling and keep them looking as good as new.