How much attention do you pay to the care instructions on your clothes? Are you one of those people who actually check what the care label says before you decide if you should buy it or not? I know quite a few people who simply won’t buy something if it says Dry Clean only. Not because of the detrimental environmental impact Dry Cleaning chemicals have but on a cost and hassle basis. The convenience of being able to pop it in the machine at home outweighs the benefits of having something professionally cleaned.
With 25% of the carbon footprint of clothing occurring because of how we care for our clothes washing machine manufacturer AEG has introduced “The Care Label Project” to encourage people to change outdated washing habits with their new “Don’t Overwash” icon.
Large volumes of clothes are discarded because they are faded or shrunk because we have washed or dried them incorrectly. And we all know the horrors of a dye run from something that accidentally crept into the washing machine! AEG and their partners are encouraging us to update our clothing care habits that have barely changed since the 1950’s but the technology of the machines we now use, has significantly improved so it is worth reconsidering your laundry rules.
Here are my top tips for how to care for what you wear.
Wash at a lower temperature:
Use the coolest, most gentle cycle. I have my machine almost permanently on a 30 degrees quick wash setting. Only if I am washing very grubby horse or dog clothing do I use the full cycle now and I’ve yet to need to wash something twice.
Care labels state the MAXIMUM temperature that you can wash that item at, so if it says 60 degrees it doesn’t actually mean you need to wash it at that temperature. It means do not wash ABOVE 60 degrees. It goes without saying that a lower temperature not only reduces the amount of energy required, but it is also kinder to the fabrics themselves, so they will last longer.
Wash similar colours together:
I know I know. White wash and a dark wash. But I don’t believe that is enough.
I recommend white, and only white in that wash with no trims of a different colour, just pure white. To this I had Vanish gold and I have sparkly bright whites – no greys, even at 30 degrees. In fact, whites made of synthetic fibres go grey because they are washed or dried too hot.
Black, navy, dark denim and dark grey I consider as darks and all wash together.
Pale grey, beige, blues and old very faded denim are washed together. I call this my mid coloured wash.
Then Reds. A wash all of it’s own. Now I can’t wash red every week, sometimes these items have to wait but it’s worth it to keep my reds, bright pinks and oranges exactly the same colour as the day I bought them. Red is a difficult dye to fix and often bleeds onto other garments, that’s why it is worth following the guidelines of “Wash similar colours together” to the letter. Red does not go in with blues!
Prepare them for wash:
Close zips and all other fastenings. Turn inside out. Anything with velcro put it in a wash bag so it doesn’t “attack” everything else in your wash. Put fine garments such as open knitwear or chiffon into a wash bag. Fold bras, putting the bras cups together and into a small lingerie wash bag. And don’t forget to empty any pockets! The dreaded paper tissue that has gone through the wash is a pure pain!
Consider alternatives to washing:
Yes really. Many machines now have steam settings if it is just to freshen up something or even hang it in a steamy shower room. Sweaters can go in bags and into the freezer, which kills the bacteria that can cause odors and negates the need to wash them as frequently. It’s recommended for jeans too – but that’s a hard push for me not to wash my jeans. I read recently in Vogue that Victoria Beckham doesn’t wash hers…but I’m guessing she has many pairs and doesn’t have a dog that clambers all over her!
I hope you find these useful and if you have any top laundry tips you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them, and I will also share them with you all.