This has probably happened to all of us at some point: our new favorite piece goes into the wash for the first time and then it shrinks, is completely out of shape or the fabric is simply not as soft as it was at the beginning. The new garment that you may have been saving on for a long time is then no longer usable and from a sustainable point of view you should definitely avoid this as well. Clothes should be worn for as long as possible and therefore proper care is very important.
1. Choose the Right Washing Program
Depending on which washing machine you have at home, you will find various degree and spin settings. Before every washing - especially if it is the first time for this piece - be sure to read the care label you can find inside of your garment. It gives you information about the fabric, which often already suggests the right care, and further it shows the required washing temperature and sometimes even the specific washing program is mentioned (e.g. delicates or hand wash).
If you set the temperature too high, your clothes can shrink. Especially when it comes to fine and sensitive fabrics, you should make sure that the washing drum does not spin too hard. For many pieces of clothing, 30 degrees are completely sufficient and with this setting there is no risk of damaging the fabric. If you are really unsure about which washing programm to choose, you always have the option to just wash your favorite piece by hand and then carefully wring it out.
Tip: Use the eco program if your washing machine has one. This takes a little longer, but it can wash at a lower temperature and thus save energy. Simply plan enough time and you will not only protect your clothes, but also the environment.
2. Choose the Right Laundry Detergent
In order to choose the right detergent, you should definitely sort your laundry before washing. It is best to divide it into the following color combinations or materials and then select the appropriate detergent:
- black, dark gray and dark brown: color detergent or special detergent for black and dark laundry
- light gray, beige, cream-colored: color detergent
- colored (e.g. red, orange): color detergent
- pure white: heavy-duty detergent
- delicates and wool: mild and wool detergent
If you only have a few pieces to wash, you can of course also mix dark colored laundry with black pieces. Just make sure that your clothes do not get discolored, especially the white ones. It is really worth doing white laundry separately (not adding light beige or other light colors) and using heavy-duty detergent. It usually has a lightening effect and so your white shirt keeps on shining without any kind of gray discoloration. And do not forget: You can choose a sustainable variant not only for the clothes themselves, but also for the detergent. Everdrop detergents, for example, are a great option.
3. Laundry Bags for Fine Fabrics
In order to protect your special and very sensitive favorite items even better, we recommend using special laundry bags for fine fabrics. When you put pieces like lace tops or bras in such a bag, they will not be directly exposed to the harsh washing drum or the friction from other, coarser items clothes. The fabric remains undamaged and your top stays by your side for a very long time.
If you wash synthetic fabrics, you can also use laundry bags not only to protect your clothes, but also to filter microplastic. Small plastic particles that come off synthetic clothing when washing can be caught and thus do not end up in the groundwater. To prevent this from happening in the first place, it is worth investing in clothing made from natural fibers from the outset.
4. Bye, Bye Dryer!
If you want to do something good for your clothes, then it is best to let them air dry. Apart from the fact that a dryer also consumes a lot of energy, it is very hard on finer fabrics. If you let your laundry air dry, you should read the care label beforehand to see whether your favorite item should be dried lying down and not hanging up. Especially when it comes to clothes made of wool, the shape is best preserved while lying and you don't have to worry about twisted seams.
Tip: After air drying or after wearing your clothes, you should take the time using an iron or a steamer. With the steamer from Steamery you can refresh your clothes very gently. The hot steam even has an antibacterial effect and can remove odors. This way you may save yourself one or the other washing cycle completely.
If you follow these tips, your favorite pieces will hopefully stay by your side forever and always.