Article - Caring for your laundry

Caring for your laundry

Doing the laundry is pretty unavoidable, especially if you have little ones (AND big ones!) in the house. You can not only save money and energy by washing your clothes properly – but it also keeps your clothes in better condition, so they last longer – and you don’t have to replace them as often.

Girl pegging out sheets on the washing line.

The little symbols on your clothing labels aren’t just there for decoration – they can actually help you figure out exactly what kind of care your garments require and how to get the best out of them. Which is better for you in the long run.

Here’s a handy guide to the commonly found washing instructions

Washing table

If you can, hang your clothes up to dry outside or in a warm or sunny room, this is better for the environment and your clothes. In winter you can also hang them close to an operating heater – which is a great way to warm your house and dry your clothes. However sometimes you can’t avoid using the dryer, so if you do, be sure to check your garments label before putting them in the dryer – many clothes can’t go in the tumble dryer, as they may shrink or even partially melt! Here’s a guide to the most commonly used drying instructions.

Drying table
Tips for caring for your clothes:-

  • Don’t overload your washing machine as this wears it out more quickly and clothes need to move freely to be cleaned efficiently (you can find other tips like this in the  Ecoman book). Packing your washing machine too full can damage your clothes as well.
  • If your clothes say “hand wash” you can gently wash your garment in a bucket, or the sink. Laundry liquid comes in handy for this as it dissolves a little better than laundry powder. Simply add a small amount in to your sink in warm/cool water and then add your garments. You could also try using a laundry bag, and the gentle cycle on your machine.
  • If the instructions read dry flat, you can lay your garment out carefully to dry so it doesn’t lose its shape. You can try laying it on a towel on top of your washing machine, or across a clothes rack.
  • Always read the label before you buy new clothes, to make sure you are happy with the washing care required – if you don’t have time to handwash or don’t want to dry clean garments, then you can make the choice to steer clear of these!

Got some tips of your own to share? We’d love to hear them!

Sources: Textile AffairsDaily Lime Rands, M, 2013. Ecoman. 1st ed. New Zealand: Random House.

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Comments | 2

  • photo
    Washing your clothes in cold water can prolong the life of your clothes not to mention save you on your energy bills, washing in warm water can cause the colour to run and reduces the brightness of your clothes.
    By Julie on Tue December 01, 2015
  • photo
    Can't tell you how disappointed I was when I opened my packet of eco friendly washing powder to find it was packaged in a plastic bag. I deliberately avoid buying single use plastic and was really disappointed at finding this. I have posted photos on the Plastic free July FB page to share so others who also make plastic free choices are aware of this. Please consider changing your plastic packaging to demonstrate you really are Eco-Friendly! Thanks.
    By Maree on Tue September 09, 2014

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