How to properly take care of clothes so they last and keep on looking good?

Proper care of clothes is not only a friendly gesture towards your wardrobe but also your wallet and the planet. Thanks to proper washing, drying and storing, clothes will endure. And this also leads to the consumption decrease and, consequently, the drop in the level of environmental pollution. So what is the best way to take care of our clothes?

First of all, it's crucial to be aware that the way we care for our clothes has a greater impact on the environment than we think. Did you know that:

75% to 90% of the energy used by a washing machine is used for heating the water? The lower the temperature, the lower the energy consumption!

190 kg of CO2 on average is emitted into the atmosphere annually by those who iron their clothes regularly?

Simply speaking – our seemingly ordinary, everyday decisions have power. With this in mind, let’s brush up what we know about caring for clothes and follow the tips that will contribute to reducing the environmental pollution.


Washing



Washing in a nutshell:

  • Wash like colours together – it minimises the risk of clothes staining.
  • Wash in low temperatures – not only is it more ecological, but also reduces the risk of the fabric shrinking, protects it against colour loss and yellowing.
  • Do not spin – spinning facilitates water drainage and makes clothes dry faster, but it can stretch the fabric.
  • Do not wash in an overloaded washing machine – it can cause the fabric abrasion or uneven discolouration.
  • Wash inside out – it minimalises the risk of colour losing and abrasions.
  • Wash delicates in a bag – it protects against discolouration and the risk of holes.
  • Rinse – it is very important to rinse well all detergents. Otherwise, fibers reduce their quality and the fabric may get rigid.
  • Do not bleach and avoid strong chemicals.

Hand or machine?
Hand washing, without unnecessary rubbing, is definitely recommended for Tencel and wool clothes. Our Tundra recycled sweater is also to be washed by hand. For Tencel and wool, avoid long-term soaking – the lyocell fabrics may lose their colour. Woolen clothes are better pressed in a bowl than rubbed. Nor is linen a fan of a handwashing rubbing. Moreover, woolen and linen clothes must not be wrung out. Any water excess should be squeezed off with a cloth or towel.

If machine washing can’t be avoided, choose a delicate program without spinning and put wool into a cotton bag. It is recommended to put Tencel and fine cotton clothes into a bag too. When washing cotton, linen, viscose or Tencel in the washing machine, choose a delicate program with gentle spinning. Make sure the washing machine is lightly loaded, as it minimises creases and the risk of a fabric damaging.

Clothes with prints should be washed inside out. This will protect them against uneven colour loss and against possible nudging on drum, other clothes or metal elements such as zippers.

Better together?
Definitely no! Even viscose, although it is not so decoloutarion-prone during washing, appreciates if being like colour clothes washed. The vivid colours of linen may wash out. Cotton may lose its colour during washing, but it can also easily absorb other dyes. Modal itself is resistant to washing and dyeing, but not so anymore if blended with cotton; therefore it is recommended to be like colours washed, just in case.



 Temperature


Each piece of clothing will appreciate being treated as gently as possible. Linen and unblended modal are those few fabrics that don’t mind being washed at high temperatures. Unless the label says otherwise, and linen is the main component of the fabric, it is recommended to wash it at 40–50°C. Linen is resistant to high temperature and that means it can be sterilized. The temperature of 40–45°C will also protect the linen fabric against colour loss. Other materials – cotton, wool, lyocell, blended modal, viscose, clothes with prints should be washed at 30°C.

For coloured cotton, the temperature may be slightly warmer, but it should never exceed 40°C. White cotton clothes are happiest if washed at 30°C, otherwise, the fabric runs the risk of yellowing. If a white blouse gets stained, it is best to soak it as soon as possible, hand wash the stained area, gently (but not too hard so as not to draw the fibers out) rub and then wash it in the washing machine.

Don’t forget that wool tolerates water temperature fluctuations very badly, so a similar water temperature should be provided during the entire washing and rinsing process. Otherwise, the fibers may shrink.



Drying



Tumble dryer
Efficient drying is important especially for viscose, as it goes mouldy if humid for a long time. Cotton, clothes with prints, viscose, wool and our Tundra sweaters should not be tumble dried as this can cause twisting and stretching. Thickly waved and light colours linen can be tumble dried, but at low temperature, and it is better to take the clothes out while still wet. Modal is highly resistant to washing, so mechanical drying is possible. However, if you care about keeping clothes in good condition – it is not recommended. Better hang clothes on a line or drying rack and let them evaporate on their own.

Sun
Most clothes do not like full sun, as they risk losing hue intensity. Sun should be particularly avoided by cotton and clothes with prints. Light linen can dry naturally in the sun. What’s more, viscose is so susceptible to high temperatures that it is recommended to dry it away from any heat sources, including a radiator.

On a line or flat?
Line-drying works best for cotton clothes. Before hanging them, shake them off with a quick move so they get back to their form. This trick minimises creases, straightens the fabric and makes ironing much easier. You can also gently hang light viscose and Tencel clothes such as T-shirts on a line.

However, most clothes, linen, large and heavy clothes made of viscose, Tencel and wool are better to be dried flat. In the case of linen, hanging on a line does not threaten the quality of the fabrics, but causes creases that are difficult to iron. Drying flat prevents clothes from stretching and keeps them in shape. It is also not recommended to dry clothes on hangers as it may cause bulges in the fabrics. Linen knitwear is especially prone to it.


Ironing



Having environmental protection on our minds and in our hearts, we do not recommend ironing.
In many cases, proper washing and drying is all it takes to avoid ironing! However, if you need to iron your clothes, remember a few rules:

Ironing at low temperatures – prevents fibers from burning and prints and adornments from unsticking.

Ironing at high temperatures – sterilizes the fabric and facilitates ironing, but may cause the fabric shrinking and burning its fibers.

Steamless ironing – protects fabric elements against unsticking and fabric itself against shrinking due to the influence of high humidity temperature differences.

It is good to iron Tencel, viscose, prints and dark fabrics made of cotton and modal inside out and through a cloth. It prevents the fabric from fatiguing.

Cotton clothes should be ironed at appropriate cotton program or at 150–180°C without steam. The temperature of the iron should never exceed 110°C for modal, Tencel, viscose and the Tundra sweaters, and 150°C for clothes with prints. It's best to give up using steam too. Wool, treated gently with steam gets „refreshed”.

Linen should be ironed at a minimum temperature of 220°C. It is a difficult fabric to iron. Its fibers are hard, not very elastic, and not easy to straighten. The high temperature gets rid of creases easier, but also eliminates bacteria and strengthens the antiseptic effect. It is easier to iron linen clothes when still damp.



Storing



Hangers
Hanging in the wardrobe is recommended for linen clothes and heavy outerwear. Hangers are also allies against ironing! Likewise, cotton or viscose clothes mixed with cotton or wool can be stored on hangers. It is important to use soft hangers without sharp ends to prevent the fabric from being stuffed.

Flat
Clothes made of 100% Tencel, viscose, modal, as well as other cellulose fabrics, should be stored flat due to their stretching tendency. It is important that clothes are well dried so they are protected against mould. This is especially true for viscose and wool. Keep your wardrobe well ventilated. Clothes love the flow of fresh air.

Wool
It is not recommended to store woolen clothes on hangers (except for jackets and coats, i.e. clothes that have clear support in the form of e.g. good-quality lining). Sweaters, pants, scarves should be stored on shelves. What is also important – woolen clothes should be left to „rest” after each use. Jackets and sweaters should not be worn daily. After using, they should be left hanged for the whole day to get some air and get rid of moisture.

Caring for the environment and caring for our clothes do go hand in hand. And it is all in our hands!

How to take care of our clothes – crib notes




References:

https://www.treehugger.com/htgg/how-to-go-green-laundry.html

https://www.euronews.com/living/2019/07/14/eco-washing-your-way-to-a-cleaner-planet

https://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Living-Green/2008/1002/heat-up-that-iron-a-guide-to-ecofriendly-clothing-care


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