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How To Sustainably Wash & Care For Your Clothes

by Paula Gallacher |

Did you know that we now have 5 times more clothes than our grandparents had? The drop in global production costs and the rise of the fashion industry means that 800 billion garments of clothes are made every year. That’s a lot of clothes! And it has a huge impact on our environment too- contributing to 10% of total global carbon emissions.


These alarming numbers have made us all re-think our fashion choices and be more conscious about which brands we support and how we can reduce our own fashion footprint. And thankfully, we are seeing more and more sustainable fashion brands entering the market (yay! We love you guys!)


So, it’s simple. If we invest in good quality items, look after them well enough- then we don’t really need these new pieces of clothing after all. It helps our wallet in the long run, supports more ethical businesses and is more environmentally conscious.  PLUS it gives us more space in our wardrobe. We are struggling to see the downside in any of this…


We’ve teamed up with the experts in sustainable fashion, Fabrik Store to give you our best tips to care for your clothes and the environment at the same time.

1. Use a Natural Detergent

When choosing your laundry detergent, it’s important that the ingredients list ticks all the boxes from performance to environmental impact. Firstly, you need a laundry liquid that is actually going to clean your clothes (our Cove Laundry Liquid is tried and tested and we can safely say- it does a great job! You can read our reviews here)


It’s also important that it doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals that can be too rough on your clothing. This is particularly important when you are washing clothes made with natural fibres, as these harsh chemicals can break these fibres down.. This means your beautiful items aren’t going to last as long ☹
Some of those harsh chemicals that you want to look out for are  things like phosphates and bleach.

These chemicals are not only nasty for us, but they can have a negative impact on aquatic life in high doses. Look for laundry detergents that are plant based, made with natural fragrances and have the official no phosphates accreditation.

2. Avoid Frequent Washing

The more often we wash our clothes, the more energy we use and the more wear and tear our clothes receive. The average load of washing releases 3.3kg of CO2 into the atmosphere and lots of microplastics into our waterways.

So the simple answer here is:
Less washing = less emissions and micro plastics = less impact.


When you have a stain, try and spot clean rather than a full wash.
For your denim pieces, it is recommended that you only wash these every 10 wears if there aren’t any evident stains or marks. This will give your denim a longer life as every wash results in more abrasions with the fabric.

3. Use The Right Cycle

Going from a 60c wash to a 30c wash can significantly reduce your carbon emissions and still result in your clothes being super clean. If your washing machine has an eco option- choose this as it will minimize the amount of water used too.
It’s also important to choose the right cycle for the type of item you are washing. If you are washing a delicate, try and opt for handwashing or choosing a delicate cycle. Remember to always place these inside out or in a pillowcase/ intimate’s bag to protect them.


And if it’s a sunny day- choose air drying instead of the dryer to reduce your energy consumption and leave your clothes smelling fresh. Special note for your knits: make sure you air dry these flat and in the shade to ensure they keep their shape and vibrant colours.

 

4. Store Clothes Correctly

It’s all good to do the right thing when it’s time to wash your clothes but storing them correctly can have an impact on their longevity too! Once your clothes are clean, it’s important care for them correctly so they don’t lose their shape, get too crinkled and need to be washed again.

Invest in good quality, padded hangers that will hold the weight of your clothes without them losing shape. Giving your clothes enough space in your wardrobe without cramming everything in will allow for then to sit nicely and not crease.

Always fold knits and keep them in a dry, well- aired spot to avoid moths.
And lastly, don’t just wait for Spring to do a wardrobe clean! Regularly clean and vacuum your wardrobe area to remove any dust from shelves and the floor.

In need of a little help decluttering? Download Fabrik's wardrobe Declutter Guide here.

5. Learn To Repaid Clothes

It seems silly to throw away your favourite piece of clothing just because of a lost button or small tear and you don’t know how to fix it.  Watch some YouTube videos and learn the basics on how to repair your clothes to give them a new life. Before you know it, you will be a professional at repairing those little fixes.
For pieces that need a little extra work, consider going to a seamstress as the cost of repairing an item may be cheaper than replacing. As well as being a better choice for the environment.

 

Fabrik Store is a fantastic small Australian business focused on making high quality pieces from natural fibres such cotton, supima and muslin. Their timeless pieces are ethically made and perfect for all seasons. Cove customers can get 15% off their first purchase using the code COVE15 until 24th Dec.

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