It goes without saying that putting a pile of clothes once a week into a washing machine is far more convenient than dealing with each individual stain that appears on our garments day by day throughout the week. However, in order to try and reduce the carbon footprint of our clothes we need to find a balance between what is convenient for us and good for our environment.
We have compiled a quick guide below to offer you some creative and well-tested alternatives to regular washing and to help you wear and love your items for as long as possible!
Delegate one of your small sponges at home (which you can also take with you for your travels) and use it for the spot-cleaning technique. If you act fast, you can clean most of the stubborn stains (sadly excluding red wine, tea or tomatoes - more about these below). Start with using only warm water and if the stain is not giving up then move onto using a little bit of detergent, soap or apple cider. A dry sponge pressed hard to a wet stain will also absorb most of the stain’s moisture, thereby containing it. Try to avoid using wet wipes, though they do the job right. In case of emergency make sure to only use the biodegradable ones.
Want to refresh your pair of jeans without wasting water? Fold them and keep in your freezer overnight and the low temperature will kill the odour-causing bacteria and refresh your item. This technique also works brilliantly for killing the stubborn moth larvae. Spotted one of these gold insects? Send your most valuable knits for an overnight freezer quarantine immediately!
Sometimes all you need is a brush - the tighter the natural bristles the better. The trick works best on tightly woven materials such as wool and tweed. A few brushes and those thick mud or jam stains will be gone forever. Make sure that the stain dries first, otherwise you may accidentally rub it deeper into the fabric.
We are huge fans of this one. The steamers in our showroom are always in operation after receiving the new items from our sellers and before the pop-ups. The steaming not only immediately smooths all the creases and makes your garments look impeccable, but also kills 99% of all bacteria. They also get rid of odours and you can use them on heavier pieces such as coats, jackets, knitwear as well as evening wear. Don’t have a steamer? Why not to hang your garment in your bathroom as you take a hot shower. Both you and your party clothing will be ready for a night out in no time! Don’t keep it too close to the running water though, otherwise you may end up with a wet look.
Don’t have much washing to do? Instead of using the washing machine use your sink or a bathtub as the alternative. The technique works especially well on knits and more delicate fabrics. Position them flat as they dry to avoid any stretching. You can also place some towels underneath the item to absorb the water and avoid wetting your floor. Want to go a step further? Some of our friends shower with their T-shirts on or retain the water after their bath in the tub in order to use it for cleaning their clothes after.
Oh dear, did you just experience a red wine, tea or a tomato explosion? Make sure to use salt, vinegar or denatured alcohol. Depending on the stain, salt is ideal for absorbing excess liquid while gently de-staining the item at the same time. Apply salt to stubborn wet stains immediately after the spillage. Leave for 20 minutes before scrubbing or soaking. Vinegar and denatured alcohol are great ingredients to add to your washing or use for spot cleaning using the sponge.
BADGES AND BROOCHES
If you are a fan of costume jewellery (we are!) then carry a brooch or a badge in your bag to cover accidental stains, or holes, that may occur on your clothes during the day. You can also get creative and use your permanent stain as a part of a collage by partly covering it up with stitches, beads or fabrics.
You are now fully prepared for any stain emergency. None of us like to experience them and spend time looking after our clothes, but with simple adjustments in our lifestyles we can all make a positive impact on our environment. Simple changes such as alternative techniques of refreshing our wardrobes will feel good both for you and for the planet.