Caring for your garments properly will extend the lifespan of the pieces you cherish, and in addition, it will help to reduce your impact on the environment and even save you money. Olearia have put together 4 principles for you to follow to help increase the longevity of your garments.
Although it seems more expensive in the interim, investing in high-quality clothing will make a difference to your spending in the future. Manufacturers will continue to meet consumer demand, so by purchasing higher quality pieces, you will be promoting change (away from poorly, unethically made, cheap clothing) within the industry. This will make it easier and therefore cheaper for suppliers to provide high quality pieces and also helps to conserve resources. Purchasing pieces that you are emotionally invested in will encourage you to take better care of them, thus increasing their lifespan. If you ever outgrow a quality item in your wardrobe that has been cared for properly, you could consider consignment or resale.
The more you wash a garment, the more you will wear it out. Launder your garments as rarely as possible, and instead choose to spot clean if necessary. Attend to any marks or spills on your garment as soon as possible to avoid permanent stains and always read the care label carefully prior to laundering.
Cleaning at home:
Wash light and dark colours separately as this will reduce the risk of colours running and will help to preserve the actual colour of you garments. Wash clothing inside out as this prevents colours and prints fading. Using cool water in the wash prevents fabric from becoming brittle (especially garments with elastane), shrinkage, loss of colour, and change of texture or finish. Soak stains immediately (while still wet).
Many garments are dry clean only or recommended (especially with natural fibres) as this is the best possible option for removal of grease and stains. It also prevents shrinkage, loss of colour, and change of texture or finish and keeps garments looking brand new.
Some things to consider when taking your garments to the dry cleaners are how much it will cost, and the human and environmental impact of the chemical used. There are two main types of dry cleaning products:
- Perchloroethylene (perc)- Perc dry cleaners present a hazard to human and environmental health with the chemicals used in the process. They are however incredibly tough on stains. We recommend only using perc dry cleaners for your heavily stained garments.
- Green earth- As the name suggests, this product has less of a negative impact on the environment, us and our clothes. However, it is more expensive and is not as tough on stains.
When possible, avoid tumble dryers. Machine drying is incredibly harsh on garments, causing them to deteriorate a lot faster than they will if you allow them to air dry. As well as being damaging to your clothing, dryers utilise a lot of unnecessary energy which is expensive and harmful to the environment. As a general rule, hang your woven garments and lay your knits flat to dry (this stops them from misshaping/stretching).
Storing clothes the right way may seem pedantic, but by having an organised wardrobe you can help to increase the longevity of your garments. When storing clothes away, ensure that there is enough room for air to circulate so that the fabrics can breathe. Always fold clothing at the seams as this will help to maintain their shape. Using the correct hanger for each garment will also assist in your clothings life span. Heavier items such as coats and jackets should be stored on wooden hangers. Velvet hangers are the best option for items that are prone to falling off their hanger e.g. camisoles, dresses, tops. They can hold moderate-heavy weight items also! Clamp hangers are fabulous for reducing wrinkles in skirts and trousers. Wire hangers are great for everyday items like shirts. Be sure to invest in quality wire hangers that won’t bend out of shape and are rust resistant as this will save you from replacing them often.
A frustration that anyone who loves wool will have encountered is that moths and other insects love it also. A lavender bag or lavender & cedarwood essential oils also help to repel these insects, however does not solve the problem completely. Always make sure that your garments are clean before storing them away. Not only does this eliminate insect eggs that could be on the garment, it also removes perspiration and food remnants, which attract insects.