The fashion industry is known for being the second largest polluter in the world, right behind fossil fuels. It is responsible for 10% of the planet’s carbon emissions. That contribution is estimated to grow to 25% by 2050, so it’s safe to say the consequences of fashion, especially fast fashion, represent a significant global issue.
One way to reduce the harmful impact of fashion and decrease the carbon emissions that occur during the clothing item’s life cycle is to take better care of the clothes we own. Extending a piece of clothing’s life can reduce its environmental impact.
Even though the longevity of a clothing item depends on its fabrics, colors, and dyes, consumers can also increase its lifespan by taking care of it properly. Here are the top six hacks to take care of your clothes better.
- Store clothes properly
Storage methods can have a significant effect on a garment’s longevity. Just think about it – if the garment isn’t currently being worn or washed, it’s in the closet. That means our clothing items spend most of their time in a closet, waiting to be used.
Therefore, taking proper care of clothing includes correct storage as well. You should store all your clothes in a cool, dry place. That’ll protect them from sunlight, heat, and dampness, the three crucial factors that cause damage to garments.
Using wholesale plastic hangers will prevent clothing items from becoming misshapen. Also, mothballs and lavender protect the clothing from moths.
- Opt for eco-friendly detergents
Standard laundry detergents contain lots of harmful chemicals, fuel-based substances, and other ingredients that aren’t biodegradable. Not only are these types of laundry detergents bad for the environment, but they’re also bad for the garments.
Eco-friendly detergents are made from plant-derived, biodegradable ingredients, so they don’t negatively affect the environment. In addition to that, they take care of clothing items since they’re suitable even for the most delicate garments. Your clothes will no longer contain harsh chemicals from traditional detergents or fabric softeners, which will automatically lead to extended longevity.
Another plus of eco-friendly products is their refillable packaging. That means no more plastic waste from empty plastic bottles and containers.
- Avoid dry cleaning
You might be used to getting specific garments in your closet dry-cleaned, but even items that come with a ‘dry clean only’ label can usually be washed on low-temperature, gentle cycles, or hand-washed.
Consumers should avoid dry cleaning because this chemical-intensive process involves using harsh chemicals that are bad for the environment, the garment’s textile fibers, and consumers’ skin. Items dry-cleaned frequently will have a significantly shorter life cycle than items washed in the washing machine.
Even if dry cleaning is the only option, search for environmentally friendly cleaners that offer eco-friendly and non-toxic cleaning services.
- Air dry clothes when possible
Tumble drying certainly comes in handy, especially if you forgot to do your laundry and now you’re in a hurry to get some items clean and dry as quickly as possible. However, tumble drying isn’t an energy-efficient process, and it causes damage to garment fibers.
That’s why air drying is a much better option for cleaning your clothes. Not only will your clothes smell great when air-dried, but air-drying won’t cause any damage to your clothes or the environment.
To air-dry your clothes most effectively, shake out the items and hang them on hangers, a washing line, or a drying rack.
- Carefully read care labels.
Different clothing items require extra care and laundering practices because they’re made from various materials. For instance, jeans and other denim items don’t need unique laundering treatments because this fabric is strong and resilient. However, wool, cashmere, and silk items require more care because these delicate fabrics are sensitive to heat and harsh chemicals.
By carefully reading the care labels, you’ll know how to take care of every clothing item properly. You’ll learn about the recommended and maximum washing temperature, ironing, and dry-cleaning conditions.
- Remove stains appropriately
Stain removal is yet another process that can significantly damage the condition of your garments. Although store-bought stain removal products are effective, they’re usually filled with toxic and harsh chemicals that damage the fibers and cause premature ripping.
Fortunately, getting rid of stains can be done more effectively. Time is one of the key factors that dictate the effectiveness of stain removal. The sooner you remove the stain – the better. If the stain is fresh, rinsing it with water can do the trick and eliminate the need for any other stain removal method.
Even if you need additional steps, use q-tips to apply washing detergent and avoid rubbing.
Taking proper care of your closet garments will ensure your clothing items last you a long time. Since the fashion industry is causing plenty of harm to our environment, we need to choose more sustainable methods to keep the existing items functional and prevent us from purchasing new products faster than needed.
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