With environmental awareness being all the rage now, and for a good reason, most people are looking for clever ways they can reduce their carbon footprint and help save the planet. One of the great contributors to climate change and pollution is the clothing industry. Cheap and harmful production methods, fast fashion, and consumerism have all severely impacted our society.
We need to make a conscious effort to avoid supporting fast fashion brands, which means investing in quality clothes, and actually wearing them out. Now, in order to do so, we need to learn how to take care of our clothes – and it all begins with proper washing.
Wash clothes inside out
Tumbling around in the washer really takes its toll on your clothes. Not only can they get caught and rip, but the color also dulls over time. A great way to prevent the color from washing out is by turning your clothes inside out and washing them like that.
That way there is less chance for buttons to rip off, and the color will stay vibrant for longer. Additionally, sometimes the detergent can cause buildup, especially on darker clothing, which may leave white streaks. Washing all of your clothing inside out will avoid the risk of white streaks on the outside of your favorite custom T-shirt.
Follow the Clothing and Detergent Labels Carefully
You’d be surprised that not many people follow the instructions on clothing tags and detergent bottles. They exist for a reason. Most people wash their clothing in temperatures that are too high or tumble dry when they are not supposed to. Even though they have the right intention, instructions for different fabric blends are not to be taken lightly.
If you want to ensure longevity for your favorite pieces, you better follow the temperature levels on the label. While there are some garments that can be successfully hand washed instead of dry cleaned, there are a lot of textiles that will be ruined even by the gentlest swish through water.
Similarly, pay attention to the label on the detergent bottle. Some detergents are meant for certain fabrics and colors. And do not exceed the amount recommended by the manufacturer.
Pick the right washer setting
Just like following the labels on clothing for the right temperature setting, you should also pay attention to the recommended washer setting. Most clothing can be washed at the lowest temperature, apart from towels, kitchen rags socks, and underwear, and they do not require a high-speed setting.
Delicate clothing, wool, sports clothes, and silk usually require separate settings, so having a washing machine with different settings makes your life that much easier. If you have an old, last-century machine, chances are it is too harsh for today’s fabrics. Why not buy a washing machine that provides gentle cleaning at lower temperatures?
Buy Quality Clothing
This may sound like a no-brainer, but most people underestimate the longevity of quality garments and materials. Good-quality clothing is much less likely to distort and shrink in the dryer, it retains color for much longer and the material itself is less prone to holes.
Most people think they have to spend a lot of money on good clothing, but that is not always the case.
You can always find good pieces in thrift shops, for just a fraction of the price. And besides, not all expensive clothing is well-made. When picking out an item, always get a good feel of the material, check if it will wrinkle, and inspect the seams. Are they tightly sewn or loose?
Hand wash delicates
Speaking of quality clothes and fabrics, there are some pieces that are better off hand-washed. Lingerie, blouses, wool, etc., should be hand washed after use, and only seldomly washed in the washer. Those delicates that come in contact with your skin should be hand washed after every wear.
Hand washing is no big deal, all you need is a water basin and some soap. Gently swivel the clothes in soapy water and rub out the stains. Then drain and wash out the soap in pure water. Repeat as many times as necessary to wash out all the soap. Drain again and hang to dry.
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Give Your Clothes a Break
All we did was talk about how and when to wash your clothes, but we never mentioned when NOT to wash your clothes. Most people are guilty of over-washing clothes. If they wore a shirt once, they immediately put it in the laundry basket, even though it is practically clean.
Just because you can smell some deodorant or perfume on a shirt, it does not mean the shirt is dirty. Give your clothes a rest, wash them only when they look or smell dirty.
Photo by RODNAE Productions
Buy some mesh laundry bags
If you have a machine that does not have a gentle cycle, do not worry. A simple mesh bag will help keep your delicates extra safe in the washer. Place items into the bag, throw them in the washer, and you won’t have to worry about any snags, rips, or tangled clothes. Score!
Keeping your clothing looking like it is new begins by properly washing it. By following our advice, you will not only save money on water and electricity, but you will extend the lifespan of your clothing, thus minimizing the amount spent on new clothing. Not to mention that it is good for the environment.