Caring for your clothing the right way is essential for anyone looking to go the sustainable way. It not only drastically increases the lifetime of your clothing but also helps ensure harmful and toxic chemicals are kept out of the oceans and landfills. Furthermore, clothes handled the right way are much more friendly to the skin and keep rashes and skin ailments away. We're sharing some tips that you can keep in mind when deciding how to care for the clothing in your wardrobe.
Each piece of clothing in your wardrobe is unique, therefore the care required for each item is unique as well. Usually, clothing comes with an attached care label to provide a few general guidelines or instructions for you to follow with regards to that piece of clothing. Care labels can provide washing guidelines such as the maximum temperature or washer setting to use. They can also specify drying methods that will ensure the integrity of the fabric is sustained. The care labels are your best bet when caring for an individual clothing item as following the guidelines on the care label will ensure that the clothing is washed and cared for correctly. This will increase the lifetime of your clothing as well. Therefore we recommend that you pay close attention and read the care labels.
To keep your clothing in the best condition possible, you should wash it as little as possible. Washing clothes frequently causes deterioration of the fabric and decrease of clothing lifetime as the fibres become damaged over time. Environmental factors such as climate and humidity and other factors such as the frequency and duration of wear can impact the need for washing your clothes. In these cases feel free to use your discretion as sweat and external factors can damage clothes further. However, as a general rule of thumb, washing clothes as less frequently as possible will help keep your clothes in better shape. Bonus Tip: Instead of washing clothing that just needs a bit of refreshing, hang it in direct sunlight or anywhere with good ventilation and airflow (check the label in case sunlight causes damage to the fabric).
When setting the temperature for your wash, keep in mind that higher temperatures can reduce the lifetime of your clothing. Higher temperature wash can cause unnecessary fraying of the fabric and in some instances even scald or burn the fabric. Washing your clothing at lower temperatures prevents damage to the fibres of the fabric as well as colour fading and dulling of the fabric. The maximum temperature we suggest would be around 30° Celsius or even lower as in this case, the lower the better.
The type of detergent you use for your washes makes a major difference. Consider using detergents that are biodegradable, free from phosphates, enzymes, phthalates and harsh surfactants to ensure kindness to the environment as well as your skin. These detergents will be kinder to the environment, your clothes and your skin. We recommend using liquid detergents as they tend to be less harsh on the clothing fibres and condition them as well. Furthermore, we suggest sourcing for detergents that come in biodegradable packaging and refilling when the detergent runs out rather than purchasing a new product.
Washing your clothing inside out acts as a protective layer and helps prevent damage to the fibres of the fabric. The movement and agitation caused during a machine wash can damage the fabric and even pull or fray the fibres apart. Therefore, washing your clothing inside out will help avoid this as the outer layer of clothing is minimally agitated. The friction and movement will only affect the inside of the clothing, which in turn makes the outside look newer and fresher when the wash is complete.
Using a tumble dryer consumes a lot of electricity and energy to run and also causes damage to the fibres of your clothing. It can also cause clothing to shrink or get out of shape prematurely. This drastically reduces the lifetime of your clothing. Instead of tumble drying, we suggest you air dry your clothing. After a wash, lightly shake and spread out the clothing on a drying rack in an area exposed to natural light and ample air circulation. Clothing will dry in no time especially in climates such as Singapore with ample sunlight and breeze.
Instead of an iron, we recommend using a steamer to give your clothes a neat look. Steamers do not directly press the clothing or come in direct contact, making them a gentler option, especially for fragile fabrics. Steaming can also save you time and electricity as it takes just a quick steam to get your clothes looking neat and clean.
The process of dry cleaning involves highly intense and possibly toxic chemicals that have significant negative impacts on our environment as well as the fabrics being dry cleaned. Additionally, the chemicals can cause irritation to sensitive skin when these dry cleaned clothes are worn. Therefore, we believe it is best to avoid dry cleaning as much as possible and instead look to other care options. Bonus Tip: Before purchasing clothing, check the label to see your care options. If dry cleaning is the only suggested option, we would suggest investing in another item of clothing if possible. It will save you the trouble in the long run.
It is essential to store your clothes in the correct manner as it can increase the lifetime of your fabrics. Firstly, clean and washed clothes should be stored separately from the worn or unwashed laundry. This will keep bugs and moths away from your clothes. Clothing should be stored in a dry, well ventilated and cool area to keep away from extreme heat, moisture and direct sunlight. Ensure ample space between your items of clothing to avoid unnecessary wrinkles or crushing of fabrics. Finally, invest in a good set of hangers to keep clothing in top shape and ready to wear out of the wardrobe.
Learning how to mend your clothes will increase the lifetime of your garments significantly. Taking care of any daily wear and tear damage such as popped off buttons, small tears or holes will keep your clothes in top shape at all times. Instead of altering your clothes or disposing of any that have minor issues, mending them yourself is a viable option. You can also get creative and add your own personal touches after mastering your skill set.