Keeping your garment care skills up to date is one of the easiest ways anyone can lower the environmental impact of our wardrobes. New Standard clothes are manufactured with minimal environmental impact and made to last. Our clothing manufacturing process uses 99.9% less water than making the same products from virgin materials and has 50% smaller carbon footprint and uses 50% less energy. However, an estimated 15-30% of the environmental impact of any garment comes from use, wearing, and washing. Therefore, we want to help you take better care of your clothes and the planet by sharing you our best garment care tips. Luckily, taking good care of your garments doesn't take more time or effort; it's a small change each of us can do already today. All it takes is a little know-how on garment care and building a new routine. These 10 garment care tips will help you take better care of your clothes and the planet.
1. Remove large stains immediately
Stains happen to all of us. Simply throwing your clothes into the laundry bin or washing machine rarely works, which is why you should know some universal tips and tricks to tackle whatever life throws at you. If your clothes get stained, take care of them as soon as possible. If you are not at home, a first-aid measure is to rinse the stain with mineral water, which is better for most stains than plain water. If you need to use regular water, remember too warm water can even set some stains and make the removal more difficult. Most stains come off with olive oil-based Marseille soap (vegan) or gall soap. Rub the soap on the stain when you get home. This way, you won't have to use a longer cycle or hotter water to get rid of the stain when you machine wash the garment.
2. Get rid of sweat and strong odors with vinegar
There's no need to wash sweaty clothes immediately. Instead, you can just hang them up to dry. For sweat and other strong odors, soak the garment for a few hours in a bucket filled with one part white vinegar and four parts of lukewarm water. Vinegar kills the bacteria that cause smells, so it prevents and helps to fight odors. After soaking, rinse the garments with water that's just above the room temperature and hang them to dry, preferably on coat hangers. Machine washing is not necessary after every time clothes get sweaty or start to smell.
3. Machine wash less
As a rule of thumb, people machine wash their daily clothes too often. Unless you sweat a lot during the day, or your clothes get dirty on everyday wear, there is no need to machine wash your clothes after every use. In fact, washing your clothes less slows down the fading of color and aging of your garment in general. You can also freshen them up by taking them out to air and shaking them afterward. You can also use undergarments to protect your clothes from sweat. The only clothes you should wash often are underwear, undershirts, and socks.
4. Use ecological detergents and fabric softener
Using too much detergent and fabric softener won't make your laundry cleaner. The extra chemicals only increase pollution and increase the cost of machine washing and even harm your clothes. Use only the suggested amount. Adding 1–2 heaped spoonfuls of baking soda to each load will help the detergent work more effectively. If you use liquid detergents, make sure they are free of zeolites and artificial scents. The most ecological and easy-to-use fabric softener is white vinegar. It closes the fibers after washing, helping you maintain the garment's color while cleaning the washing machine. You can use vinegar just like a regular fabric softener, but you don't have to worry about overdoing it, as it is fully biodegradable and more affordable. It has a slight odor when the clothes are damp, but no need to worry – it fades away as they dry. If you want a scented fabric softener, you can add a few drops of scented natural oils such as lavender, sage, or lemon, to the vinegar.
5. Lower the washing temperature
Thanks to modern washing machines, you no longer need to boil your laundry. Instead, we recommend machine washing New Standard clothes at no more than 40°. Even 30° gets the job done while putting less stress on your clothes and the environment. This helps conserve energy, as the water doesn't need to be over-heated. When using an eco-program, put the clothes in a washing bag to protect them from the longer cycle's mechanical abrasion.
6. Use a microfibre washing bag
All synthetic fibers such as polyester release microfibres into waterways with each wash. Because these microscopic particles are less than 5 millimeters in length, they are too small to be filtered in water treatment plants, and some of them end up in nature. They harm both aquatic and land ecosystems, and in time they climb their way up the food chain and can end up on our plates and bodies. The best way to avoid this is to machine wash synthetic fibers only when necessary. When they need to be washed, put them in a microfibre washing bag to catch loose fibers. Finally, we recommend Guppy Friend washing bags. They collect microplastics that come off garments in the wash and prevent the microplastics from getting out in the water supply and eventually in the environment as part of plastic pollution.
7. Hang your clothes to dry
Skipping the dryer is probably the most important choice for doing the environment a favor and keeping your clothes in shape. Air drying is always the better option, and opting for thick hangers instead of drying racks helps keep the clothes in shape. Furthermore, most garments don't need ironing if you wash them on a lower cycle and gently shake or stretch them when they come out of the washing machine and hang them to dry. Remember to dry your laundry immediately and not leave wet clothes in the machine since it will wrinkle and eventually cause mold and mildew. When they are dry, storing them in hangers instead of folding them helps keep their form.
8. Prefer steaming over ironing
Depending on the fabric construction, some fabrics can be more or less prone to creasing and wrinkles. If needed, we recommend steaming over ironing, as it's gentler to the fabric fibers, and it is also an excellent way to freshen up clothes after a few uses. If the garments need ironing, it is best to refer to the garment care label to know what temperature setting is safe. When ironing cotton and linen items, use a damp function or the steam setting on the iron. Giving the cotton or linen a little moisture before ironing will make the fibers smoother, and the garment will flatten quicker.
9. Don't cut off the care labels
Cutting off the care label of garments and fiber information from clothes is a bad idea, so unless your skin is very sensitive, aim to keep them. In addition to helping you follow the care label symbols and instructions carefully, clothing collectors and recyclers need information about the fiber information of the clothes to sort the textiles correctly. If it's not available, there is a chance that the clothes will not end up in fiber recycling, and all the materials and natural resources used while making them will go to waste. At New Standard, we believe that information is power, so we aim to include as much as possible valuable information for you and those working on giving our garments a new life in our care labels.
10. Take care of your washing machine
Your washing machine cannot do its job if you don't take care of it. A clean machine will also last longer and not break down so easily, forcing you to buy a new one and causing electronic waste. Leave the door and detergent drawers open to dry out thoroughly after each wash. Clean the drawers and lint filters from detergent residue at least once a month. Using white vinegar helps prevent bacteria growth in the washing machine and reduces odors in the drum. We recommend using non-zeolite detergents, as zeolite will build up over time inside the drum, which can break the washing machine. If you mostly use low temperatures to wash your clothes, you should run a hotter cycle (60–95°) once in a while, for example, with bed linens and towels. This removes the zeolite residue and eliminates bacteria. Clean your machine once or twice a year with citric acid. Place 100 grams of citric acid powder in the machine's detergent drawer and run a hot 95-degree cycle in an empty machine. Before machine washing again, run a short hot cycle with some detergent.
Proper garment care is crucial to ensuring that your clothes last longer, and we hope that our garment care tips helped you to understand how to take care of your garments using less water, energy, and harmful chemicals so that our planet stays clean.