Sustainable Garment Care
When you properly care for your clothes, they last longer. When they last longer, they don’t end up in landfills. What does it mean to take care of your clothes in a sustainable way? Is it only about the materials themselves, or are there other things to consider? Creating a sustainable wardrobe is not only about how and where you buy your clothes but it’s also about how you care for what you have. A little bit of attention to garment care goes a long way so here are our top tips to make your clothes last.
BUY QUALITY.Get familiar with what constitutes a high-quality garment in terms of stitching, fabric quality, and fiber – this is the number one way to make your clothes last longer. When you purchase something, consider the life cycle of the garment. It starts from shopping for an item to how often you wear it, wash it, store it, and finally, dispose of it. Choose longevity over trends.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR MACHINE.
When washing items that are machine safe avoid overloading your washing machine. The extra weight causes knit garments to stretch which can distort the shape or rip the garment. Wash your clothing separate from abrasive items like denim, towels, or items with hardware (like zippers and metal buttons) as it causes unnecessary wear and tear. Always put delicate items in a lingerie bag and use cold water whenever possible. Chose a non-toxic, less abrasive detergent. If you’re looking for one, we’re obsessed with products from The Laundress.
PAY ATTENTION TO FABRIC CARE LABELS.
Keep in mind that it isn’t always necessary to wash an item after each wear. Consider saving water, money, and the environment by using an eco-friendly fabric refresher spray between washes. And when it does come time to wash, here’s a detailed look at the care instructions for our most popular fabrics.
Wash by hand. We don’t recommend machine washing this fabric, but if you must, use the delicate cycle with cold water and place it inside out in a lingerie bag. (But really, hand washing is the way to go.) Air dry. Stylist tip: to remove wrinkles a steamer is much gentler on fabric than an iron (just be sure to use distilled water in your steamer, as tap water contains minerals that can leave water spots on your garments).
Machine washable. All of our cotton garments have been pre-washed and dyed, so the maximum shrinkage of the natural fibers has already been reduced. To prevent any slight shrinking, air dry or dry on a low setting. *A note on deodorant: deodorants containing aluminum and/or baking soda can discolor and build up in clothing even after washing. Switching to a natural deodorant will extend the life of your t-shirts.*
We recommend using an eco-friendly dry cleaner to handle your alpaca sweaters once a season. You can also wash them by hand (but never submerge in water, unless you want a shrunken sweater). Add a small amount of delicate detergent into a water basin with cold water. Gently wash your sweater and quickly rinse with cold water, until no longer soapy. Allow to air dry on a flat surface. Fold heavy sweaters rather than hanging them as hanging will cause your sweaters to lose shape and give you those unsightly hanger bumps at your shoulders.
The best way to keep this fabric in shape is to wash it inside out. Keep in mind all sweaters pill, no matter what. The easiest way to keep them looking fresh is to use a sweater stone or shaver to remove the pills. Rather than washing/dry cleaning your sweaters, consider using a non-toxic sweater spray to freshen and deodorize between wears.
PASS IT ON.
Keep your clothes for as long as possible. It’s easy to do when you shop mindfully, that way you’ll have a closet full of chic items that you truly love. Sometimes, however, it’s time to let something go. If it's still wearable, give it to a friend, consign it, donate it, or repurpose it. If it is no longer wearable, find a service in your area that recycles textiles. In the US alone, 21 billion pounds of textile waste ends up in landfills. While cotton garments will biodegrade in about 3 months, rayon/viscose, on the other hand, will take anywhere from 6 weeks to 20 years to biodegrade depending on soil conditions in the landfill. Just a little extra attention to care during the life cycle of your clothing can help reduce textile waste and make your wardrobe truly sustainable.
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