7 care taking tips on how to “CLEAN” your clothes

Today, I am going to guide you on how to take better care of your clothes – and that’s whether you want to lower your carbon footprint and amount of water used to clean it, or just want to prolong the lifetime of your clothes. Because let’s face it – not all is about lowering your carbon footprint, but to actually care for your favorite sweater so it will lasts a decade even though it might be a high street item.

As I mentioned on instagram, CEO of Levi’s advices you to not wash your jeans at all – because by not washing them, you keep them in their original shape and you prolong their life.

But yes, who doesn’t like a crisp white t-shirt, or the smell of a newly washed knit. However, sometimes the t-shirt, sweater or dress is not dirty at all, but by following your autopilot function, you throw it in the washing machine anyway. So think again. Are you doing it because of the bacteria level you think the clothes might entail? Or why are you doing it?

Before reading the guidelines, I would like to encourage you to ask yourself these questions:

  1. How often do I clean/wash my clothes? 
  2. What is my current cleaning techniques?
  3. When I wash it, do I wash it because it is dirty or because I like the feeling of clean clothes?

The reason why I would like you to think about these things, is because if you are not aware of your current cleaning routines, then I think it is difficult for you to change these habits. But let’s try.

Here are some guidelines for removing scents, smells or stains from your clothes:

  1. Freezing it: Advice from several major jeans manufacturers is to instead of washing it, then try putting your pair in the freezer overnight to help get rid of bacteria.
  2. Air drying it: Alternatively give them some air by leaving them outside in the sun.
  3. Spray it: You can also use a neutraliser spray, which you can either buy (here by Mr Black or here) or make yourself – here are some examples:
    • Vodka: Vodka dries odorless, kills bacteria, and will successfully remove smells. Mix with water in a spray bottle until the vodka ratio is about 60-70%. Spray it liberally on the area in question.
    • Essential oils: Even if clothes don’t seem dirty, they can lose that fresh smell, which is the main reason many of us toss our clothes into the washer to begin with. Mix a few drops of your favorite oils in with water in a spray bottle and focus on target odor areas.
  4. Stain treating it: Are your clothes actually dirty, then do a local stain treatment. Use a sponge or toothbrush to treat the stains (I will make a blog post on various stain treatment – so don’t throw out your t-shirt just yet)
  5. Washing it: Hand wash it when needed. However, do all of the above before. And last option is washing it in the machine – and always remember to wash at maximum 30 DEGREES celcius – or lower if possible. Many of the new detergents contains enzymes that allow you to wash clothes with cold water.
  6. Don’t tumble dry it: Even though you live in an apartment, do remember to air dry your clothes – not tumble dry it. This is one of the most energy guzzling machines plus it destroys your clothes – either through one wash or by shortening the lifetime of your clothes. I am almost certain that by tumbling your clothes, you shorten the lifetime of your clothes by 50 %.
  7. (Last last option: Dry cleaning – but only if the care label says so – or if the material needs it e.g. a suit – but do all of the above except number 5 before dry cleaning your suit)



Stine Pedersen

Stine is passionated about the ongoing question of how to make a transition of the fashion industry and how sustainability and fashion can be connected. She will therefore write about alternative ways of 'consuming' fashion such as vintage, up-cycling and redoing. She is currently Project Manager at Leaderlab and LAUNCH, and has a background as Sustainable Design Engineer finishing of with a thesis in how to implement Circular Economy in a large danish fast fashion brand. Besides this interest, she always has a full calendar with friends, family,  training, exhibitions, sewing... // CONTACT: stinekolding@gmail.com

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