Proper care, such as proper washing and storage, can prevent damage, fading and shrinkage, and you can save a lot of money by taking good care of your favourite Essentials. As well as making the most of your investment, it also reduces your impact on the environment.
Here are some tips on how you can not only make your clothes last longer, but also help keep the planet clean.
The first and most important tip for sustainable clothing care is to wash your clothes less. Because frequent washing washes out clothes over time.
Many people wear an item only once and have the reflex to throw it straight into the laundry basket afterwards. And with a few exceptions, such as underwear or sweaty t-shirts, this of course makes sense. But unless the clothes are dirty or musty, we may as well wear them a few more times before spinning them through another wash cycle.
This will protect the fibres and colours of our clothes in the long run.
One of the reasons clothes are damaged by frequent washing is when washing them in high temperatures. Warmer water is much harder on fabrics and can cause shrinkage, fading and loss of microfibres. Plus, heating water uses 90% of the energy needed to run a washing machine!
Washing your clothes in cold water not only protects the materials, but also saves an incredible amount of energy. But will the clothes still be clean? Absolutely! In the past, washing was done in warm water to activate detergents. But nowadays, modern detergents work just as well in cold water.
To protect not only our clothes but also our skin and the oceans it's better to use eco-detergent for washing. Conventional detergents often contain microplastics and environmentally harmful toxins that flow through our washing machines into the wastewater and ultimately the oceans of our planet, endangering marine life. Fabric softeners are also reputed to trap odours in clothes and contain harmful chemicals and skin irritants. So use only natural soaps and stay away from fabric softeners!
A small but effective gesture to protect your clothes during the wash is to wash them inside out. This way, the fibre structure on the visible surface is rinsed more gently. You should also make sure that the washing machine is never too full. This can cause friction during washing, which can further damage the fibres of the clothes.
To ensure that your white laundry stays white, you should always sort your clothes by color before washing. Basically, only similar colors should be washed together to avoid discoloration and gray haze. Dark and color-intensive laundry should therefore never end up in the washing machine with light or white laundry.
The colors of your clothes will remain forever!
To care for your clothes properly, you first need to know what material you are dealing with. After all, different fabrics have different care instructions. So get into the habit of looking at the labels on your clothes before you buy and wash them. This will not only make you more mindful of what you consume and lead you to buy higher quality items, but will also ensure that your clothes are not damaged or shrunk by improper care and washing.
You can find the care labels and specific care guides for all our Essentials here.
No matter what kind of stain, it is fundamentally important to start and remove stains as quickly as possible and rinse the area with plenty of water. Mild soap or detergent can usually be used for soaking: standard detergents are always helpful as a first emergency aid. If this initial pre treatment has been successful, it is usually best to rinse the garment immediately in the washing machine and get rid of any left-over detergents.
You can find more information on how to treat special stains in our Stain Guide.
Air drying not only smells good, but is also better for your clothes and the environment. Drying in a tumble dryer consumes a lot of energy and, like frequent washing at high temperatures, can damage certain fibres. Instead, it is sufficient to shake out the freshly washed clothes and either hang them outside on a clothesline, on a clothes rack or on hangers to air dry. But it is advised to pay attention to the labels and care instructions, as some garments, such as wool jumpers, are better dried flat.
However, if you are one of those people who wants their clothes to be completely wrinkle-free, then we recommend steaming your clothes instead of ironing them.
The last tip for sustainable clothing care is to learn how to repair small damages. Knowing how to sew up a hole or sew a button back on will help immensely in keeping your clothes in wearable conditions. Refreshing garments, such as removing pilling from a wool jumper can also help extend the life of your clothes.
In our Repair Guide you can find the basic repair skills you need to know.
Proper protection from clothes moths and mould is especially important to keep our clothes sustainable and long-lasting. We recommend storing clothes in a cool and dry place to protect them from moisture, sunlight and heat. Also, make sure (especially if you’re saving on washes) that clothes are clean before you put them away. Dirt and surface abrasion can attract moths, which can ruin your clothes. In principle, knitwear should always be stored with lavender or mothballs to protect it preventively.
It is also important not to overflow your wardrobe, as clothes need room to breathe.