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Taking care of our clothes only takes a few steps and when it becomes a habit it no longer feels like work!

Why take care of your clothes?

Disposal of clothing in the UK is a problem where currently we bin 350,000 tonnes every year. Many researchers have called it the ‘Throw Away’ culture, where we tend to see new trends every week and bin our unwanted garments instead of keeping them. According to the Guardian, 82% of men throw away clothes compared to 69% of women who are willing to recycle. However, over half of women and nearly a quarter of men expressed an interest in learning how to repair clothes.

Because clothes are so cheaply made and available, people don’t see the point in mending or fixing their garments, even if the clothes are just old, despite being in great condition. Around 30% of clothing in wardrobes has not been worn for at least a year. Four out of five people own items that have not been worn because they no longer fit or need altering.

If we take care of our clothes, this can have a much better impact to our environment and our lifestyle where we can reduce our carbon, water and waste footprints by 10-20% each.

How can I take care of my clothes?

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Learn how to Fix, Mend or Alter

75% of people surveyed can sew on a button, but only 17% can replace a zip. Mending your clothes first before getting rid of them is one of many ways to take care of your clothes. We want to avoid throwing clothes immediately or leaving it in our closet to gather dust especially if its only a tiny mishap.

Invest on a sewing kit. Think of it as an emergency tool. People are quick to find small rips from clothes as a ‘be-all-and-end-all’. But its good to take time out and learn new skills. Read our article on:

Wear it Again!

Set up a ‘Clothes Chair‘. Yup! A chair that you can put all the clothes you’ve only worn once, so that you can pick it back up later.

This lessens the amount of polyester going down your drain when washing. I mean, they can’t all be that dirty after one day? Unless someone’s socks just really needs that ‘extra care’…

Wear Wool. It’s more odour-resistant than cotton or polyester. Clothes made of wool does not take on a lot of odour due to its natural fibres, so invest in buying and wearing more wool garments.

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Change your Detergent and Fabric Conditioner

Common laundry detergents and fabric conditioners have ingredients that can cause algal blooms due to high concentrations of phosphate. This can have a negative effect on water ecosystems and marine biodiversity. 
  • Make your own fabric softener (conditioner) for a change. Keep money in your pocket while protecting our clothes and environment. Using white vinegar with essential oils is a good alternative, it is cheap and easy to make.
  • Look for detergents that are phosphate-free. They are usually gentler on the skin and the fabric.

Read the Symbols before washing

Each garment has labels with symbols showing the best way to wash or take care of them. Some people usually don’t pay attention, but if you want to give your clothes a fighting chance by keeping it intact and from loosing its quality, follow the symbols!

Wash at 30 degrees

Only 37% of UK households wash at 30 degrees. Where 90% of the energy is used to heat the water. By washing clothes in a lower temperature,  less energy is consumed. Setting your washing machines to 20 degrees can use up 70% less than electricity than 60 degree washes.  This can emit less CO2 that can also save you save you money.

The less heat is generated when washing clothes, the better it is for your fabric and the environment.

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Use your Hands

Glove up and enjoy being hands-on. Yes it might be time consuming, but there are delicate garments such as your bras, boxers or underwear that don’t really need to be washed in the washing machine.

Source: Ulrike Mai from Pixabay

Read the Washing Machine Manual

Various washing machines have different types of washing cycles, almost all of them are the same. It is worth knowing your individual appliances and finding the best with less energy and heat intensive features, so that you can avoid ruining the fabric or shrinking it.

Hand-Wash Setting

If you don’t like washing things by hand, try the Hand-Wash setting on your washing machine, this takes the load off doing things yourself.

 

Don’t Iron if You Don’t Have to

Considering you are using alot of energy if you wash clothes all the time, its one less chore you could do. 

Hang them up right after washing. It lessens the possibility of creases since the water in your clothes can weigh it down. 

Source: Sylvie Tittel on Unsplash
Source: Lelsey Barker from Pixabay

Hang it Outside where its Fresh.

Skip the Tumble Dry. Especially during summer, even though you might have to run out at times when the rain comes on (especially in Scotland). Try get your clothes to dry in fresh air. 

When it’s winter season, we can’t really hang our clothes outside, but there are better options than to use tumble drying, such as allowing your clothes to dry in the warmest part of your house or next to the radiator when you have it on. 

Check our articles on other ways to keep clothes from the bin:

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