If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ve got some pretty sweet knowledge floating around in that gorgeous brain of yours. You’ve got the definition of deadstock material at your fingertips. You’re well versed in the glories of the circular economy. You can whip out the stats on garment workers’ average wage across Asia faster than you can say Fair Trade.
These are all great things to know, but having a truly ethical wardrobe isn’t just about how you shop. It’s also about how we care for our clothes once we have them. The real holy grail with ethical fashion is buying less. Whether you have a closet full of fast fashion or a collection of handwoven fair-trade organic items created just for you by a personal tailor, you want to make those items last.
I recently discovered the humble joys of proper garment care thanks to ethical fashion. Or really, the price tag of ethical fashion. Let’s be honest y’all ethical fashion is expensive. Totally worth every penny, but still expensive. When I buy a freaggin’ t-shirt for $68 dollars I better get a lot of use out of that sucker.
I grew up hearing the same laundry rules everyone did, sort by color, blah blah blah...actually I think I stopped paying attention after that first rule. Look, I’m a busy lady! Who has time to think about laundry? Some weeks I’m happy if I get to it at all. Most of my life my laundry rountine was this: cram my clothes in, wash with cold water (gotta save the environment), dry everything on high heat.
As I’m sure you’ve guessed, this is not how you get your clothes to last. Once I started shopping ethically I knew I needed to make a change.
After extensive research I came up with 5 super easy, super quick ways to get the most life out of your garments. Next time your clothes in a little maintenance give them a try! The environment and your wallet will thank you.
1. Separate your clothes by type not just color
Items with big heavy zippers or thick buttons like jeans or hoodies should be washed together. As they get washed the zippers will rub back and forth over the other fabric in the machine. Similar type items can handle that abuse, but it’ll kill your more delicate items over time
2. Bust out the Arm & Hammer
Add a half cup of baking soda to the water before you put your clothes in the washer. This will lower the ph of the water, making it more delicate on your clothes, while also eliminating odors.
3. Dry Towel to the Rescue
The heat of the dryer is really hard on the fibers of your garments and can cause all sorts of shrinkage. Cut down on drying time by throwing in a dry towel along with your wet clothes. The dry towel will absorb excess moisture and you’ll be out of the laundry room faster.
4. Wash less
Sometimes clothes just need a refresh. Maybe you were around a fire, or at a barbeque restaurant. Instead of washing the item, get them drunk! Take some cheap vodka and pour it into a spray bottle. Hand up the garment you want to refresh and give it a light misting with the vodka. As the alcohol evaporates, it’ll take the smell with it.
5. Just Say No To Ironing
Ironing is really rough on our clothes so just say no. Try a mini-steamer instead. Professionals love steamers because the work faster than irons and are gentler on clothing.
Pretty easy huh? Let me know what you think! Are there any tips you swear by? Comment below!
Benita Robledo is an actor/director/eco-fashion obsessive. Her passion is arming you with all the info you need to go out and create a more compassionate closet (and lifestyle) for yourself. She is the founder of Compassion Fashion and she lives in Los Angeles, with her husband, three cats, and way too many books.