How to care for your clothes better
Did you know that how you wash, dry and iron your clothes has a significant environmental impact.
In fact according to recent research by the University of Leeds, it accounts for 20% of the total carbon emissions of the whole fashion industry! Given that the industry is responsible for around 10% of global carbon emissions, that's huge.
The good thing is there's plenty of small things you can do to make a big difference.
Top tips for caring for your clothes better
1. Wash your clothes less
We wash our clothes far too often. It wasn't always the case but over the years we've been lured in by ever more appealing washing fragrances and detergents, new fangled machines, images of households where everything and everybody is spotlessly clean. The result is many of us wash our clothes after just one or two wears which is far too often in most cases.
Clothing fabrics aren't designed to withhold that much washing and after each wash, you may have noticed that the item loses a bit of its shape, colour and overall condition. A real shame when it's something you love and spent your hard earned cash buying.
So what to do instead? Hanging clothes out on a line can give them an instant freshen up. If you haven't a got a line, hang them on a clothes horse in the fresh air.
Spot washing is a great idea too. Instead of washing the whole garment for just one stain, wash that bit with some gentle handwash soap and let it dry naturally.
2. Wash at a lower temperature
It's a myth that you need to wash your clothes at a high temperature to get them clean. Washing detergents nowadays are designed to clean our clothes really well at much lower temperatures.
Our big tip is to wash your clothes at 30°C, no higher. It will save you money, energy (40% less energy according to WRAP), and the quality of your clothing from deteriorating.
Of course if it's wool, then take it lower again which takes me on to tip number 3!
3. Check your garment labels
How many times have you shrunk a favourite jumper? It's heartbreaking and yet we do it over and again.
WRAP say that 'Around a third of the UK are no longer wearing items of clothing from their wardrobe because they’re not following the washing, drying or ironing labels in clothes.'
This works out to around 39 million items that haven’t been worn in the past year.
Always, always, always check the garment care labels and then do what it says. Plenty of tips here from WRAP's Love Your Clothes campaign.
4. Hang your clothes out to dry
Choose a washing line over the tumble dryer whenever you can. Save your washing up for a windy, sunny day, do whatever you can to get those clothes out on the line. They'll smell amazing and so much better than an hour in the dryer which can also be harmful to fabrics.
Using a line is completely free too and so is another great way to save money whilst also retaining the quality of your clothes.