How to Make your Clothes Last as Long as You Do
Caring for your clothes can be a daunting task. This is especially true if you’ve purchased an investment piece and want to keep it looking as great as it did when you first tried it on in the fitting room. Regardless of whether they’re machine-washable, dry-clean-only or made of cashmere or cotton, keeping these pieces looking fresh needn’t be a chore. Here are six surefire ways to keep your wardrobe looking as beautiful as you.
1. Pay attention to fabric care labels
Clothes come with instructions for a reason. The fabric care label indicates how to care for your garment. This is a handy reminder that will teach you about the washing method, temperature and what products to use to take care of it. The label also helps dry cleaners care for your garment in the best possible way; an additional symbol you may come across is the dry cleaning symbol, often represented by a circle with the letter P. The P basically means “don’t try this at home” – a professional clean, whether wet or dry, is required. Professional cleaners have specific machines to control temperature, mechanical action and the amount of product required to clean specific items. This is why they can clean clothes that you cannot with a run-of-the-mill, sometimes quite old, washing machine.
2. Choose your cleaning products wisely
When choosing cleaning products, it's easy to go for the mainstream option – one you may have seen in commercials or that most other people use. Opting for natural cleaning products is a choice that implies a bit more research, but it also means that you can be sure you are giving your clothes a completely toxic chemical-free treatment. This is better for your skin (toxic chemicals permeate fibres and brush against your skin, potentially causing allergic reactions) and for the environment (no unwanted substances flow into the wastewaters). Brands like Tangent GC make their products from 100 percent natural substances. They are also ECO-cert certified, which means that production is environmentally controlled from harvest to biodegrading. “Naturally” means natural ingredients, an eco-friendly process, no petroleum base, no synthetic perfume, only essential oils. It also means the best possible ingredients!
3. Protect your clothes from natural threats
You mustn't forget that in some storage spaces clothing is subject to natural threats like moths. Luckily, there are various natural techniques to keep clothes from damage. You can try placing some lavender with your clothing, or some cedar moth-repellent balls will do the trick. Cedar-scented items are an effective moth deterrent. You can use cedar hangers that will repel moths (whereas plastic hangers gather dust and therefore attract moths). For extra protection, you can try placing some cedar balls (or cubes) in the pockets of your woollen items. You can also place a few cedar hanging blocks in between garments in your wardrobe. The takeaway? Cedar everywhere!
4. Find a good stain remover
Your clothes hate stains as much as you do. To make sure they don’t have time to set in and permanently damage your garment, we recommend dealing with them quickly and effectively. You can get your hands on some great tools to help you do so. Stain removers made with sommiere clay have powerful degreasing properties. They are great for dealing with grease stains, including oil, butter or even makeup on delicate fabrics, floors and furniture. A nice brush does the trick when destaining your garments as well as removing pilling from sweaters or dust, fluff and hair from cashmere.
5. Use good-quality hangers
No one likes to see a favourite shirt lose its form because of poor-quality hangers. Pick your hangers carefully so that they suit your garments’ type and shape. For example, a sturdy wooden hanger is a good fit for shirts but not the best option for your other garments. Suit jackets need rounded hangers – thinner ones may stick out around the edges and create poke marks. When you’re hanging items like skirts or trousers, it’s better to opt for a straight hanger with clamps to hang garments by the waist. Finally, for smaller items such as ties and belts, go for a hanger with multiple branches; it saves space and stores your accessories in the best condition.
6. Clean your clothes before storing them away for the season
It is essential to wash all of your textile items before storing them away – if only to ensure that moths haven’t laid eggs in them that would leave them full of holes when you take them out again. Clean wool coats, knitwear and other items you won’t wear often, and store them in airless or vacuum-sealed bags with mothballs or squares in them. Be careful to always follow care labels instructions: do not try to wash them at higher temperatures than instructed. Bring the most delicate ones to your favourite dry cleaners. This is the best way to make sure any eggs laid by moths are definitely gone and that they won’t ever come back.
Mathilde Blanc is the co-founder of BLANC, an artisan natural dry cleaner, tailor and launderer based in London, UK. They use a natural alternative technology that replaces the need for toxic chemicals with the expert use of biodegradable detergents in high tech gentle cycles. Mathilde also curates BLANC Home, a carefully selected range of products from the most environmentally-friendly and natural brands in the UK and Europe.