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7 easy clothing care routines to try this year

Looking for some new ways to care for and preserve the clothes you already own? Here are seven clothing care routines that will prolong the life of your wardrobe.

Make your clothes last for generations

Garment care is an important aspect of slow fashion. The common thread in these tips is to be mindful and take the extra time needed to treat garments like longtime companions rather than replaceable items to use and throw away.

Why not challenge yourself and your friends to adopt these routines this year? Let’s break the habit of mindlessly throwing clothes in the washing machine and pause to consider more innovative and less damaging ways to refresh them as a first course of action.

1. Remove pilling with a fabric shaver

Pilling is a natural process that happens to all textiles, including luxurious fabrics like merino wool and cashmere. The pills can make garments look worn out and this is a major reason clothes are thrown out too soon. But pilling is simply loose textile fibers that have risen to the surface of the fabric, and they can easily be removed with a fabric shaver.

Simply sweep the nozzle of the shaver over the pills and let the sharp razor blades trim off the excess textile fibers. It’s an easy task that will dramatically improve the appearance of your most well-worn garments. De-pilling clothes also happens to be a very enjoyable and satisfying process. Once you get into the habit, you’ll be looking for pilled fabrics to shave everywhere.

Before image of a pilled sweater
After image of a debobbled sweater

2. Air out your garments between uses

Most of us are likely familiar with the process of smelling our garments to determine if they need to be washed or not. Here’s a tip; when your jackets, jeans, or sweaters feel like they are on the verge of qualifying for the laundry pile, hang them outside and let them air out overnight. Some air circulation can perform miracles when it comes to refreshing your clothes, and it’s much gentler than washing.

This is such a simple and underrated hack that can truly extend the life of your clothes, since airing them out is less damaging than washing them. This technique works best with natural materials that are more breathable. With clothes made from synthetic fibers, you may need to steam or wash the garment to get rid of unwanted odors.

3. Steam as an alternative to washing

Steaming your clothes will not only make your clothes wrinkle-free, but the hot steam will also target and reduce unwanted odors. Although steaming cannot completely replace washing (it won’t help you get rid of stains – more on that later), it is a quick and easy way to refresh your clothes before going to work or grabbing dinner out with friends.

4. Steam as an alternative to ironing

If your shirt has ended up in a wrinkled pile on the floor of your room, steaming will quickly make it ready to be worn again. Our Cirrus 3 Iron Steamer is especially useful if you want to create a pressed look without the trouble of getting out an iron and ironing board. Finish it off with some lightly scented fabric spray to emulate the feeling of clean, fresh laundry.

Person using a steamer on a black shirt

5. Hand wash your clothes whenever possible

Washing your clothes by hand might seem like a tedious task, but it is so worth it when it comes to preserving your most delicate items. In fact, we recommend hand washing your clothes as much as possible to avoid the damage caused by excessive machine washing. Read more about hand washing clothes.

If you’re still not sold on the idea of hand washing your clothes, it might help to think of it as washing your dishes. A dishwasher can be a huge convenience and time-saver but some items, like your expensive chefs' knives with wooden handles, need to be washed by hand. Likewise, a delicate item of clothing deserves to be handled with extra care if you want it to maintain its condition over time.

Delicate Laundry Detergent in soapy water

6. Treat only the stain – not the whole garment

Another benefit of hand washing rather than machine washing is that you can choose to focus only on the areas that need to be cleaned or freshened up. For instance, the armpits of a shirt, the crotch area of a pair of pants, or a stained part on an otherwise clean garment. Washing only some parts of the garments will save you valuable time and effort.

Tomato sauce stain on white fabric

7. Lower the temperature

Of course, some textiles are much easier to wash in the machine, especially larger items like bed sheets and duvet covers. One thing you can do to reduce damage when machine washing is to choose a gentler wash cycle with a lower temperature setting.

Our liquid laundry detergents are effective at temperatures low as 20–30°C (68–86°F). We recommend using 30°C (86°F) as your standard setting for most items and reserving higher temperatures such as 40–60°C (104–140°F) for durable items like sheets and towels or heavily soiled items. Read more laundry tips here.

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