Fresh and clean clothes are a big part of most people's hygiene routine, but we often tend to over-wash our clothes and rarely wash them in the most efficient way. Many of our garments are more durable than we think and don't need the weekly machine washing we often expose our favourite shirts and trousers to. The right combination of detergent, temperatures and washing programmes can actually help to optimise the cleaning of our clothes.
At ByFlou, we surround ourselves daily with clothing in various quality textiles that require special care and attention.
Below, we've collected an overview of the infamous washing symbols, as well as a guide on how to best take care of your wardrobe to protect both your clothes and the environment.
Sorting your laundry
Most laundry is already sorted when it reaches the laundry basket. Ideally, clothes should be divided into colour categories or according to their maximum washing temperature. You should always read the washing instructions carefully before washing, but many garments can be combined in one wash. We recommend dividing clothes into colour categories:
- » Dark colours (black, navy, dark green...)
- » White - Here we recommend doing a pure white wash, as beige and light grey can discolour white fabrics
- » Light colours (beige, light grey, camel...)
- » Colours - It is useful to divide laundry into colour shades, otherwise we recommend using colour absorbing washing sheets such as Steamery Colour Absorbing Washing Sheets
- » Delicate fabrics
As a standard, three different temperatures will be used for laundry, unless a different temperature is specified in the washing instructions.
- » 30°C - Can be used for all textiles and clothes that are not visibly dirty or have odours.
- » 40°C - For washing undergarments, socks and clothes that are visibly dirty or have an odour.
- » 60°C - Use only for washing bed linen and towels.
At ByFlou we love to combine different fabrics and materials in our outfits. But often the individual textiles require special care and rarely need to be washed in exactly the same way. Below we take a look at some of the most popular textiles and how to care for them.
Many clothing items today are made from synthetic materials such as polyester, nylon, lycra and acrylic. Synthetic textiles are often very durable and dry quickly, but unfortunately they are also one of the most environmentally damaging textiles.
Most synthetic fabrics can be machine washed up to 40°C, but we recommend 30°C gentle cycle as this is better for the fibres and fit of the garment. Sportswear can be washed at the same temperatures, but often requires a detergent that kills odour-carrying bacteria, such as Steamery Odour Control Laundry Detergent.
Viscose is a semi-synthetic textile that often shrinks when washed. Therefore, viscose clothing should be washed at low temperatures and air-dried. If your clothes do shrink, the fit can be easily restored by ironing or steaming.
Viscose can be washed with most detergents such as Humdakin Laundry Soap and can be combined with Humdakin Fabric Softener to maintain the soft quality of viscose.
Cotton is one of the most commonly used textiles in clothing production, as it is a flexible and versatile fabric that can be machine washed, tumble dried and ironed. To maintain the colour of the textile, always use a detergent suitable for the colour category you are dealing with.
Wash your jeans as little as possible. Although it sounds bizarre, you should avoid washing your denim items for several months if possible. Machine washing will damage the colour, fibres and fit of the garment. Instead, air dry or steam your jeans to get rid of odours, or soak them in cold water with suitable detergent, such as Steamery Dark & Denim Laundry Detergent. Once your jeans are in the washing machine, make sure they are washed inside out, preferably at low temperatures.
Wool is one of the most durable textiles in clothing production. Because wool is a natural material, it contains unique fibres that make it antibacterial and odour repellent. Therefore, your wool clothes should not be washed very often, but can easily be steamed or hung outside, to achieve a fresh feeling.
When machine washing, always use a wool programme at low temperatures to avoid shrinkage. Use a delicate enzyme-free detergent such as Steamery Delicate Laundry Detergent. Your wool sweaters should always be dried lying down, on a towel or over a drying rack, to maintain the fit.
Silk is an ultra delicate material and often the hardest to wash correctly. We always recommend hand washing your silk garments with an enzyme-free detergent for delicate garments. Silk should always be drip dried and never tumble dried as this damages the delicate fibres.
If you machine wash your silk, you can use a wool programme and use a laundry bag for extra protection. Pay extra attention to the washing instructions when buying silk clothes, as not all silk can be washed in a washing machine.
Alternative way to extend the life of your garments
Textiles for clothing have become an increasingly valuable resource and we are learning to take better care of our wardrobes, through new and alternative methods. Caring for your clothes is not just about washing them, but also about taking care of the different qualities of the textiles.
Air rather than water
One of the main reasons our clothes end up in the laundry basket is because of odour. But odour particles that settle in clothes can easily be removed without starting up the washing machine.
Hanging your clothes outside in the wind can often achieve the same clean scent, without the use of water and detergent. A textile spray can also kill the odour particles in the garment in many ways and also add that lovely scent you know from fabric softeners.
Steam is the new detergent
Another alternative to traditional laundering, which is most often used by professionals, is steaming clothes. A number of smart home steamers have appeared on the market and they are the perfect - and often more functional - alternative to washing machines.
Steam has a number of great benefits that make it a multi-functional cleaning method - it helps reduce odour-carrying bacteria, refreshes textile fibres and irons the clothes at the same time.
The steam method is gentle and therefore especially good for delicate and delicate textiles such as silk and cashmere.
A lint-free look
A completely different way to give your clothes a fresh, new look is by removing lint and dust. We often associate lint and dust with dirt, but it's easy to remove without washing.
A classic lint roller can do wonders but a more sustainable alternative to this can also be the Steamery Lint Roller, with a reusable fibre brush.
At the same time, you can also choose to invest in a lint remover that shaves lint from cashmere and knitwear. The well-known Steamery Pilo Shaver is the perfect addition to your wardrobe or suitcase to keep your clothes looking new.