How to clean and care for specific clothing items
With so many different fabrics and items in your home, it can be daunting to learn how to clean each one. If you clean your clothes too often or using the wrong techniques you can shorten their lifespan. We’re often asked how to clean certain types of fabric, so we’ve included are best tips below:
Cotton (t-shirts, pants, sweaters, etc).
Home-efficiency expert Cynthia Townley Ewer, author of Housework, recommends separating out white cotton from your coloured garments.
Always read the label carefully. Cotton will shrink in warm water if it hasn’t already been pre-processed. If the label says, “cold water only” then your cotton clothing is likely to shrink in warm or hot water.
Drying cotton at a lower heat will also discourage shrinkage, which according to Cottonmill occurs mostly during the drying stage. Air-drying your cotton on a line is the best option, and it’s better for the environment, too!
Most towels are made of cotton, so we recommend drying them on the line if possible to prevent shrinkage. Make sure towels are completely dry, as even a little bit of damp in a towel can promote the growth of mildew.
Good Housekeeping magazine recommends hand washing all delicates. If you aren’t able to hand wash, use a laundry bag to keep items from snagging or pulling. This works particularly well to prolong the life of bras and underwear. Using certified natural products – such as the Living Green Laundry range – without harmful chemicals like bleach and ammonia will also help preserve the fabric.
Table-clothes and napkins
Tablecloths and cloth napkins take a lot of punishment. Before cleaning, you should remove any excess food or debris, and treat stains with your preferred stain remover. (Choos a certified natural stain remover without bleach or ammonia to keep your fabrics looking good for longer). Wash whites and colours separately, and different fabrics like linens, poly-cotton, etc separately as well, following manufacturer instructions.
If you want to keep your wedding dress in pristine condition, then a clean as soon as possible after wearing is in order. The Conscious Elegance wedding blog recommends washing on a gentle cycle with cold water and a very mild soap. Never ever use any products containing chlorine on silk or silk blends – you’ll weaken and yellow the fibres. Alkaline products or anything that contains petroleum or wax will leave an oily residue on your dress. For the best results, choose from our selection of mild green cleaning products.
Drip dry your dress and carefully press it following instructions for the specific fabric type. If possible, get your dressmaker to send you a sample square or fabric so you can test our your cleaning and pressing methods on that first. If you can get a sample, use a hidden part of your dress to temperature or soap first.
At Living Green we have a green product for every type of stain and fabric. Try our products today and notice the softer, cleaner results that are safer for you and the planet.