YOUR GUIDE TO LAUNDERING WITH CARE TO INCREASE LONGEVITY AND MAINTAIN THE APPEARANCE OF YOUR APPAREL WHILE REDUCING WATER, ENERGY AND HARMFUL DETERGENT USE.
Our last blog covered general washing techniques which will preserve your clothes and reduce your environmental impact. Below is a guide to washing individual fabrics that need a little extra TLC.
Keeping your black garments black is a challenge we are familiar with. In recent years, it has become even more of a pickle as the chemicals which were previously used to resolve blacks have been banned by the EU due to serious health and safety concerns (trust us, you don’t want them next to your skin). That being said, there are a number of steps you can take to prevent fading:
Wash at 30 Degrees
Wash these items in water of up to 30 degrees to keep them looking fresh, dark and fitting right. Hot water will increase the bleeding of dye from the cotton cloth and can also lead to shrinkage.
Turn inside out... When washing and drying
Turning your black garments inside out before you throw them into the machine, protects the outside of the fabric and allows any leached dye to run into the material itself rather than out into the machine water. When drying out in the sun do the same, this prevents fading.
Don’t use too much detergent
Using too much detergent leaves irritating soap streaks on garments and isn’t great for our waterways.
Use a special black detergent for black items
Many regular detergents contain bleach to make whites pop, but this fades blacks. You can find special detergents with black pigments to keep your black items black. However, if you use coffee, as the perfect pick me up for when you start to fade, it can do the same for your clothes! Throwing used coffee grinds in with the clothes (not in the detergent drawer) once in a while is a natural alternative which keeps your darks, well, dark.
Swap the fabric softener for white vinegar
Adding half a cup of white vinegar to your washing cycle leaves your clothing feeling soft and smelling fresh. Vinegar naturally softens your clothing by removing soap and mineral build-up, it also combats any residual odours.
No need to be concerned about your clothes smelling like vinegar… they won’t! The rinse cycle takes care of that. This method is cheaper and much better for the environment than the damaging chemicals in fabric softener.
If you still want your clothing to smell scented you can add couple of drops of your favourite essential oil to the vinegar. Here's a more detailed guide on how to make a homemade scented fabric softener.
Another added bonus is that vinegar also cleans calcium build-up inside of your machine! Win, win.
Wash denim items as rarely as possible, the more you wash them the shorter their lifespan!
Denim doesn’t need to be washed as often as you might think, hardcore denim experts believe one should limit how often you wash your jeans to around twice a year or never.
While that is a little extreme, even for us washing a good pair of jeans causes damage to the denim and prematurely draws out the indigo dye. Most of the time your jeans probably just need a quick spot clean and a bit of fresh air. A day hanging on the balcony will do wonders for removing odour.
Ice, ice, baby...
To freshen your denim gear in between washes you can also stick them in the freezer. Icing up your denim removes odours and bacteria. You can do this easily by folding and sealing your denim gear into a paper or ziplock bag and placing them in the freezer overnight. Once you’ve removed your crisp and clean feeling denim from the freezer, rest and allow the denim to defrost/ warm up. If you’re after more info about this here's a super helpful blog.
If you have to wash them... wash cold and turn inside out
A cold wash retains the dye, longevity and structure of the denim. Also, turn the denim inside out when washing and drying, to prevent loss of dye, shrinkage and fading. Take your jeans out of the machine straight after the wash to avoid creasing.
SILK, TENCEL AND DELICATES
If you’re not doing a hand-wash, throwing your favourite silk garment, Tencel blouse or lace undies into a laundry net protects them from the friction from other clothes this, extends the life of your most delicate items. Plus it keeps everything together.
KEEPING SILK, SILKY SMOOTH
Silk is a delicate material. Hand wash is usually the best, easiest and quickest method for washing silk. So just fill up your basin or bucket with cool water, add detergent and submerge for 30 minutes. Rinse the garment in cool water until it is no longer soapy. Press dry, do not wring and allow to air dry by laying the item in its natural shape on a drying rack… never put your delicates in the dryer! Here is a super helpful step-by-step video on hand washing silk. If this sounds like too much work, putting the item in your washing machine is also fine as long as your washing machine has a silk or woven program, but make sure that it is set to 0 degrees.
Another helpful hint with delicates is doing a pre-soak with some scented vinegar for 20-30 minutes to remove odours.
Tencel is crafted from the pulp of Eucalyptus trees which has a texture comparable to silk. While it isn’t quite as delicate, make sure your machine is set to a cold hand-wash program if you have it, and use a similar drying process to silk.
If you want to know more about why we like Tencel you can read our previous blog.
WOVEN WOOLEN TROUSERS, SHIRTS AND JACKETS
Woolen pants usually don’t need to be washed after every use, as they are natural textile with anti-bacterial and odour resistant properties. If you want to freshen them up you can hang them in your shower room while you bath and let the steam remove any creases. Additionally, you can also give them a quick iron or steam if your iron has a steam setting.
Cold hand wash or gentle machine wash
When it is time to give them a clean, draw a bath for your wool trousers, add a wool detergent and submerge your trousers for up to 30 minutes in the soapy water. Rinse your pants clear under cool water until all the soap is gone.
If hand-wash is not an option put your machine on the wool setting, which is more gentle. But make sure it is set to 0 degrees, to avoid any shrinkage.
Do not wring, Instead press them dry against the sink. Hang to dry, never use a dryer for woolens. If you’re having trouble removing the excess water from your pants, lay them flat in their original shape and roll ‘em up. Try not to expose them to direct sunlight or heat sources like a radiator, as this will damage or shrink the wool.
Don't wash too often
Most of our knit sweaters are made from 100% Merino Wool. While many brands use a polyester blend, ours are all natural and require a little more care in the washing process. Being a natural material, it is self-cleaning with anti-bacterial properties so, airing out the sweater in the fresh air will do wonders. We recommend that generally you should limit the washes to a couple of times over a season.
When you wash, you can either do it by hand or use the hand-wash program on your machine as long as you don’t have an ancient sweater eating monster machine. Either way, you should always use a wool detergent because the enzymes in a regular detergent will dissolve the fibres in your sweater.
For the hand-wash, we recommend a 10 minute soak followed by rinsing until clear with cold water. To remove excess water roll your garment up in a towel and press to absorb the moisture. After this lay your sweater flat to dry either on the clothesline or on a flat surface; hanging vertically causes pulling and stretches or misshapes the garment, as wet wool is heavy and elastic drying flat is a must to avoid turning your sweater into a dress.
Nobody likes to have their lovely sweater showing signs of piling but it is manageable as long as you take care and get in there early. Small piles can be removed easily with a razor, piling brush or electric pilling remover. Most importantly, piling is caused by friction and so spare your nice sweater from couch hangouts. Also avoid washing your sweaters with denim or anything else rough as this will increase friction.
Here is a more detailed article on how to prevent and remove pilling.
When putting away your wooly goods it’s best to fold them as hanging causes stretching and bumps in the shoulders from of the wool’s own weight. However, if you prefer to hang them read this hack to hanging sweaters so they don’t stretch out.
Keep the moths away
We recommend purchasing cedar wood moth repellent balls or a bag of lavender and placing them alongside your wool garments. These are both affordable and stop moths from feasting on your precious clothing.
If you need to remove any stains, quickly apply a solvent-based stain remover like eucalyptus oil. Add small amounts and gently work the oil into the stain, this will avoid spreading. For more info check out this detailed guide.
Cotton is popular, partly due to its longevity and ease of care. We use particular jerseys, but just follow the washing instructions on the label and you will be fine. For our jersey items, we recommend a machine wash at 30 degrees and an air dry.
We recommend a hand wash for linen that isn't heavily soiled. Treat it with care with swish motion, do not wring, twist or scrub.
When washing linen in your machine set it to a low lukewarm temperature and place on the gentle cycle. As it is a natural fibre linen is very malleable when wet which means it can lose its shape. While we encourage full loads with linen; try to not crowd your machine too much as all the twisting and pulling can lead to misshapen items.
If you find your garment has lost its shape, giving it an iron (inside-out to avoid making the surface shiny) or a steam can restore it.
Text curation by Michelle Torres