In our ongoing content series to try and make sustainability fun and interesting, we bring you…laundry!!
But seriously, clothing is an investment, and cultivating your sense of style takes time and money. Knowing how to make garments last longer is a key component to building a sustainable and eco-friendly wardrobe. These 5 money-saving techniques will help preserve the clothes you love while reducing the amount of clothing you buy over a lifetime.
- Sort your clothes:This should be a no-brainer, but we’ve all been in a hurry and skipped the basics: whites, lights, and darks. Sorting laundry by color is the best way to avoid fading and discoloration, but there are other ways to organize dirty clothes that can be equally beneficial. This blog presents a few other ways to maximize your next load.
- Get down and dirty with stains: Lipstick, wine, and coffee are three things we can’t live without, but could do without getting on our favorite blazer or silk blouse! Many guides online offer hacks for removing the trickiest stains, but some of these methods can damage fabrics, such as bleach and scrubbing. Erase common oopsies with tips from John Mahdessian, owner of Madam Paulette, the New York luxury dry cleaner and restoration specialists. For delicate silk fabric, try these dress-saving hacks.
- When it comes to washing, less is more: The harshest thing you can put your clothing through is the washing process (not to mention, the environmental impacts). Avoid overwashing clothing that’s not dirty. You don’t need to wash a dress that you wore to brunch for just two hours, or the blazer you grabbed on your way out the door to a dental appointment. Did you know you can just throw clothing in the freezer to kill odors? When it comes to outerwear like sweaters and dress shirts, wait until you have an opportunity to wear the garment several times, and spot treat as needed. To find out what to clean and how often, check out this video.
- How you dry your clothing matters as much as how you wash them: Avoid shrinkage and premature fabric aging by drying individual garments on a rack or clothes line. If you do use a dryer, don’t overload your machine. Shake out each garment as you remove it from the wash, then adjust the settings according to the fabric and appliance. Tip: Go green and use the lowest setting possible. If your clothing retains odor, dry it on low, as heat can “cook” smells into a fabric. Here’s a useful guide for drying fabric.
- Purchase high-quality clothes: We are driven to replace our clothing for a variety of reasons. Maybe we want to try a new look, or embrace the latest fashion trend. Our style may have changed, and our bodies may change as well. While we can’t eliminate the need to purchase new clothes (nor would we want to!), we can do our part to reduce our carbon footprint by ensuring that what we do purchase lasts as long as possible.
Well-made clothing will require less maintenance over time, and certain materials like hemp and linen and bamboo naturally resist bacteria. Many fine fabrics do not shrink and colors do not fade with repeated washing. They hold their shape and stand up against ordinary wear and tear. Avoid the lure of fast fashion and choose quality over quantity; as your clothing ages, replace staple pieces with classic and versatile made-to-measure clothing from designers like Shantima and Delia von Hahn. This approach will not only save you money in the long run; it is also an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint and support small-scale ethical manufacturing.