How To Care For Natural Fabrics
Why We Love Natural Fabrics
Fabrics made from natural fibres mostly have a lower environmental impact than synthetics. They generally require less energy and chemicals for production, and are easier to dispose of or reuse at end-of-life. They also have a more sophisticated look and feel. We do a deep-dive on our fabrics here, explaining which fabrics we use, how they are made, and why we love them.
The Environmental Impact Of Proper Care
The average lifetime of a garment in the UK is estimated as just 2.2 years. Extending this stat with proper care can dramatically reduce the impact of your wardrobe in the long run, with fewer new pieces bought.
But that's not all. Responsibly caring for your clothes also has an immediate environmental impact. Did you know that washing clothes at 60°C and drying in a combined washer-dryer emits more than 5x the amount of CO2 as washing at 30°C and hanging your clothes to dry?
Proper care is knowing how your clothes need to be treated - whether they can handle machine washing, if so at what temperatures, and whether you can iron them or tumble dry. It is also knowing how frequently to wash them. Washing and drying a load every two days can generate upwards of 440kg of CO2 each year. That is the equivalent of flying 4 times from Paris to London return in economy class - we can all reduce our footprint by washing less frequently!
Not To Mention...
Your clothes will look better. And it will save you cash. Not just from washing less, but from buying less in the long run. So really, what have you got to lose?
Our Top Tips
1. Wash Less
Washing too frequently can cause damage to the fibres, making the fabric lose its structure, shape or feel. Natural fibres like wool have natural self-cleaning properties, and should respond well to a simple 'refresh'.
If your piece isn't dirty, try steaming it, hanging it outside or letting it soak up steam in the bathroom before throwing it in the washing basket. This freshen it up without being aggressive to the fibres.
2. Read The Care Label
Natural fabrics can be delicate. Silk, linen and wool have to be treated gently as harsh chemicals and heat can easily damage them. Always read the care label so you can wash them at the right temperature - or not at all. Some of our fabrics, like our biodegradable velvet, can only handle dry-cleaning.
3. Be Gentle
Even if a piece can handle the washing machine, opt for a low temperature setting and use natural laundry detergents with neutral pH levels. Most clothes will be completely clean after a gentle
30°C cycle - with the exception of heavily soiled clothes, or pieces which came into very close contact with the skin, such as underwear, or sportswear. The lower temperatures and natural products help keep fabrics softer for longer, preserving their colour.
4. Avoid Tumble Dryers
Tumble dryers consume a lot of energy and can seriously harm your clothes. If at all possible, avoid.
Once your clothes are washed, gently air dry them, without wringing them out or scrubbing them.
Be careful with hanging pieces such as woollen jumpers - these need to be air dried flat, and will not respond well to hanging on a line! If you have space, laying an item flat on a towel to dry, making sure you reshape it into its original shape, is the best way to keep the structure intact - we know this isn't always feasible, but it can be worth the effort for special, delicate items!
5. Damage Control
If a piece has a stain, a hole or any small amount of damage such as pilling on a jumper you wear frequently, make sure you treat this first, as soon as you notice it. These things can all become harder to treat if you wash the garment without addressing the issue first - loose bits of thread can get pulled, or stains can soak into the fabric. Proper maintenance will make day-to-day care a lot easier, cheaper and hassle-free!
6. Quick Tips
- Wash clothes inside-out if machine washing
- Do not overfill the machine as this causes friction to the fabrics
- Invest into better, gentler laundry detergents with neutral pH levels
- Never place delicate fabrics in the tumble dryer
- Wash on cold settings to avoid shrinkage
- Store correctly once washed to preserve the garment
- Your steamer is your best friend - steamed clothes are fresher, cleaner and tidier
If you have any questions on how to care for your delicate, natural pieces, don't hesitate to reach out. We're here to help you build and maintain your dream closet. Sustainably.