5 Ways to Care for Your Clothes Sustainably
FABRIC FOR FREEDOM x BLANC - Guest Post
We are BLANC, we have teamed up with Fabric For Freedom to provide ways to help you care for your clothes. We are a natural dry cleaning, tailoring and laundry service with stores in Marylebone, Notting Hill, Chelsea White City and very soon South Kensington, as well as a collection & delivery service across London. We use an expert non-toxic alternative to conventional dry cleaning which delivers a better quality clean and is kinder to your skin, your clothes and the planet.
With 150 billion clothes being made every year, we believe that it is very important that we all learn how to care for them, in a sustainable way. Prolong the lifespan of our clothes does not need to be hard, it is simply a matter of small changes in our daily habits - but don’t worry, we will guide you through it. Here are our 5 tips to make your clothes last longer:
- Change Your Washing Habits
Only wash your clothes when you need to - it is easy to find oneself doing laundry simply for the sake of it. Overwashing clothes means wearing out the fibres faster and they will not last as long. So if your garments haven’t been through a sweaty workout or an accidental bolognese spill, you can calm down the washing. For clothes that are not too dirty, airing and brushing them is often enough.
Another habit that will have to pass is the high temperatures when washing your clothes. Generally, 30°C to 40°C is enough to make them feel fresh and look clean. Not only will this save you detergent and cut down your energy and water bills, but it’s much more gentle on the environment as well. In fact, according to the UK Energy Saving Trust, choosing to wash at 30°C uses around 40% less energy than at higher temperatures. As for the drying, skip the tumble dryer and favour line drying: it will again save some energy and eliminate the heat and frictions happening in the dryer which significantly reduces the clothes lifespan.
- Check Your Labels
Conventional laundry detergents contain harmful ingredients which can lead to negative health effects, ranging from skin and throat irritation to carcinogenicity. In addition to this, they also have a negative impact on the environment as their toxicity can cause algal blooms which negatively affect ecosystems and marine life.
Luckily, many brands - BLANC included - believe that washing your clothes shouldn’t cost the earth and there are many eco-friendly, non-toxic detergents on the market that work as good, if not better, as the conventional ones. Tangent GC is a great example of a brand that cares. They make all their laundry products from 100 % natural substances, no synthetic chemicals at all. Their Delicate Detergent with Orange Oil treats the cell structure of natural fabrics gently. For super sensitive skins try Bio D’s Fabric Conditioner, which leaves clothes soft, static-free and delicately fragranced and is perfectly suitable for sensitive skins. And use Attirecare's Crease Release spray to escape the tedious task of ironing. It is, of course, made from all-natural ingredients and leaves clothing crease-free, by simply spraying them after washing - a very clever time-saver.
- Filter Out the Microfibres
When we wash clothes made of polyester, nylon, acrylic, or other synthetic fibres - all of which are forms of plastic - thousands of tiny microfibres shed from the garments. These go down our drains and end up in our waterways, and eventually, our oceans. Each year, washing clothes release half a million tonnes of microfibres into the ocean, equivalent to more than 50 billion plastic bottles. We, therefore, recommend having a Guppy Friend Washing Bag to hand. It is a scientifically approved solution against microplastic pollution, that filters out even the tiniest microfibres that shed from our clothes when washing. The washing bags not only help to stop microplastic pollution but also protects and prolongs the life of your clothes.
- Stitch Before You Ditch
Nothing is ever truly broken - that's the belief behind the Japanese art of Kintsugi, which repairs smashed pottery with gold, so the older it gets the more valuable it is. At BLANC, we want all of us to start looking at clothes in the same way. Our clothes tell our stories and should, with time and with more mends, be given more value, not less. And so when it comes to mending your clothes, we want to change the norm. Instead of replacing your garment with a new one, repair the one you already have. We are strong believers that clothes that are worth buying and wearing, are worth repairing! At the end of the day, your most sustainable option when it comes to fashion is using the clothes already hanging in your wardrobe. Mending teaches you to fall back in love with your clothes. Sometimes adjusting the shape of an item, whether the fit isn’t perfect anymore or it’s just something you’ve grown tired of, is enough to give it a new lease of life.
- Make the Switch to Wet Cleaning
For the clothes you have that require a professional clean, one more thing you can do is to quit the dry cleaner and look for a professional wet cleaner like BLANC.
Conventional dry cleaning is not really dry: it consists of soaking your clothes in a petroleum-based solvent called Perchlorethylene (“Perc”), which is considered a health and environmental hazard. At BLANC, our wet cleaning technology uses non-toxic, biodegradable detergents and pure water. Our machines are EU-certified to the latest specifications, which means they also use significantly less energy than traditional clothes cleaners.Our process results in softer, fresher garments and reduces the exposure to unnecessary chemicals in your life.
Using wet cleaning has a positive impact on clothes: while dry cleaning can damage your clothes and deteriorate the fabric fibres because of the high temperatures and harsher chemicals used in the process, wet cleaning helps your clothes last longer by using lower temperatures and natural detergents. You can read more about our process here.
Finally, wet cleaning is the most environmentally friendly professional method of garment cleaning. It does not generate hazardous waste, nor does the process create air pollution. It reduces the potential for water and soil contamination.
Protecting your skin, your clothes, and the planet is our number one priority at BLANC. We hope you feel inspired to give your beloved wardrobe some extra love.