journal

Taking Greener Care of your Clothes

February 04, 2020 alice clarkson

Sourcing beautiful, handmade items from your favourite slow-fashion indie designers can be an investment that you want to be wearing in years to come. Taking proper care of your clothing will help it to last longer, keep it looking bright, and reduce your impact on the environment.

Did you know that 80% of the carbon footprint for a piece of clothing comes from how it is taken care of? We know that fast fashion is a major problem for the environment, but buying slow fashion and looking after it go hand in hand.

All our cotton clothing is hand-block printed using natural and eco dyes. Due to the very nature of their creation the prints may have imperfections, where the blocks are slightly mismatched or slight marks from the block printing table – which we love, perfect is overrated! But we want to keep them looking unique and colourful.

According to Wrap, factors that impact how long an item of clothing is kept for include the willingness of the owner to wear the same item repeatedly, technical aspects such as resilient fabrics, dyes and colours, consumer ability to repair or alter clothes, and how owners look after their clothes. Taking good care of an item of clothing can help to significantly increase its lifespan.

Here’s our tips on looking after your Om Baby clothing…

· Look after natural dyes with a cool wash

When it comes to washing, natural dyes especially are sensitive to our modern hard-working detergents and hot washing. We recommend hand washing with natural detergents in cool water and drying naturally. But we’re all busy people, so if you want to stick in your machine, just put them in a low temp wash with similar colours.

Did you know that 90% of a washing machines power usage comes from heating the water? That is a lot of power savings to be made without having to sacrifice. Using the cold wash function will save you money, it’s better for the environment, and it means your clothes are less likely to fade or bleed colours into each other.

Although our cloth has been pre-washed with salt to fix it, when first washing some colour may run, this is just excess dye and should not affect the colour of the garment too much. Especially for indigo items, we suggest giving a wash early on to avoid the colour rubbing on other clothes.

· Wash less

We’ll be honest, compared to synthetic dyes, natural dyes tend to fade more quickly. Keeping them out of sunlight and washing on a low heat will help to preserve their colour, but (unsurprisingly) washing them less will also help.

Washing garments too often can actually cause damage to the fibres and hence decrease the lifespan. How often do you actually get your clothes dirty? Try hanging them outside, in a steamy bathroom, or giving a quick spritz to freshen them up.

· Store properly

We get it. A chair, the bed, the floor – it can be easy to evade the wardrobe! But correct storage can really prolong the lifespan of a garment. Store your hand-made clothes in a cool

and dry space to protect them from damp, sunlight, and heat, which can all cause damage. It’s also important to not overfill your wardrobe, as clothes need breathing space – this will also prevent wrinkling and colour loss from clothes rubbing together. When hanging clothes, use wooden or padded hangers to further protect garments from becoming misshapen.

· Use eco-friendly laundry soap

It can be too easy to grab a fresh-scented, well-known brand detergent, but an eco-friendly, biodegradable, natural detergent is much better for your clothes (especially naturally-dyed ones), and the environment. They still wash really well but the detergent won’t harm our ocean once they are washed out to sea. The great thing is that you can also get these, such as ecover and Method, at your local refill store, so no more plastic either!

· Wash inside out

Wash your clothes inside out to keep them looking new longer. The ‘wrong side’ of the garment then takes all the abuse from the machine, not the right side, but your clothes still get as clean.

· Air dry

There’s nothing like that freshly laundered, air dried smell when you get your clean clothes in from the washing line. Not only that, but air drying is also better for your clothes and the planet compared to tumble drying, which uses a lot of energy to run and can damage your clothes’ fibres. Instead, shake out your clothes and hang either outside on the washing line, drying rack or on hangers to air dry.