Think twice before washing your clothes. Washing garments too often can actually cause damage to the fibres and hence decrease the lifespan. This is especially true with dry cleaning, which uses harmful chemicals that flatten the natural fibre follicles in some fabrics.
If an item isn’t dirty but just needs freshening up, rather than slinging it in the wash bin, try hanging it outside or in a steamy bathroom to breath first.
Wash at low temperatures
When the time does come to do a clothes wash, wash at lower temperatures. “Wash clothes at a low temperature with a gentle and natural laundry detergent to keep the fabric clean and soft, and also to prevent colour fading,” advises Morton. For an average shirt over a year, 80% of the emissions produced during the ‘in-use’ stage of its life cycle are from washing and tumble drying – washing at 30° or less helps to reduce those emissions, while also protecting your clothes. The exceptions might be items that are in close contact with your skin, such as underwear, bedding and towels – which may need a higher temperature wash.
Use eco-laundry powders and detergents
Standard detergents can contain fossil fuel-based substances, which can have negative effects on the environment as they don’t biodegrade. “Using specialist laundry products like our range of eco-washes and a delicate hand wash can also go a long way to making your most treasured items last longer,” says Chris. Thankfully, there are now a growing number of eco-laundry products that are made from biodegradable, plant-derived ingredients, and which also have the added bonus of being refillable. For example, B Corps Ecover and Method both offer cleaning products made mostly of natural, plant-based ingredients and come in 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, while Clothes Doctor’s new range of clothes wash products for cashmere, silk and everyday washing are made from plant-based ingredients that nourish delicate fibres, and arrive in recyclable aluminum bottles (it also offers a refill programme).
Find more eco-friendly cleaning products.
Wash inside out
“An extra handy tip is to wash clothes inside out when machine washing, and to avoid overfilling, as this can cause friction and damage the fibres,” adds Chris.
There’s nothing like that freshly laundered, air dried smell when you get your clean clothes in from the washing line. And not only does it smell great, air drying is also better for your clothes and the planet compared to tumble drying, which uses a lot of energy to run and can also damage certain fibres.
Instead, shake out your clothes and hang either outside on the washing line, drying rack or on hangers to air dry. Again, pay attention to clothing labels as some garments, such as woollen jumpers, might be better dried flat.
“Correct storage can really prolong the lifespan of a garment,” says Chris. “Store all clothes in a cool and dry space to protect them from damp, sunlight, and heat, which can all cause damage. Make sure clothes are clean before storage, as dirt and surface debris can attract clothes moths, which will damage your clothes. Try storing your knitwear with lavender or moth balls for added protection against clothes moths. It’s important to not overfill your wardrobe, as clothes need breathing space – this will also prevent wrinkling and colour loss from clothes rubbing together.”
When hanging clothes, use wooden or padded hangers to further protect garments from becoming misshapen.
Satin Fabric Care and Repairs
Snags and pulls in satin might be inevitable, but you can make them less noticeable. Lay your item on a flat surface, shiny side up. Grab the fabric on either side of the snag, and pull it taut several times. If this works, shake the fabric until it hangs correctly.
For a larger snag that remains after pulling it taut, find a needle and thread that matches the colour of the fabric. Insert the needle on the wrong (opposite) side, push it to the right side, and catch the snag. Then, reinsert the needle through the same hole, and pull the snag gently through. Steam the right side until the fabric hangs correctly.
The pills are usually found on the areas of clothing or linens that receive the most abrasion in day-to-day use, such as center of bed sheets, under the arms of clothes, around the collar and cuffs of a shirt, and between the thighs and on the rear of pants; but can happen anywhere on fabric.
While it is difficult to predict which fabrics will pill, there are some types of fabrics and fibers that are more prone to pilling. Knitted fabrics tend to pill more than woven fabrics because the threads are looser. Fabrics made of long fibers like silk and linen pill less than wool, cotton, polyester, and other synthetic threads. When fibers are mixed in a fabric like a cotton/polyester blend, one fiber is usually much stronger than the other. The weaker fiber will break, knot around to the stronger fiber, and a pill is formed.
The pill, unfortunately, becomes a magnet for other loose threads in a wash load and the two become entangled. That's why a black fabric ends up with little white knots. That white knot is fuzz from another fabric.
CARE FOR GARMENTS BOUGHT AT MAIA
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