Clothing care tips to make your wardrobe last
Learn more about the entire lifecycle of clothes!
Often our favorite garments are those with good stories. Maybe that special piece of clothing was a gift or worn at a memorable event. But have you ever considered the story of the garment before it became yours?
The life of a garment is not a boring life, that’s for sure. From fiber to textile production, design, and fabrication, to transport and retail sales, every article of clothing is the culmination of lots of effort and imagination.
Historically, people held onto garments for a long time, but with cheap clothing now abundantly available, many societies throughout the world think of clothing as disposable. The staggering volume of new garments manufactured each year have made this paradigm shift possible.
150 billion garments per year are produced in the global fashion industry, which means about 20 items per person.
Cotton is the most commonly used raw material for fabric in the world, with 60% of women’s garments and 75% of men’s garments containing some cotton. Once the cotton fiber is harvested, it’s spun into a fabric which can be easily cut to specific design requirements.
The fabric is sold to clothing manufacturers, who manage the actual production and fabrication of the garments. Once production is complete, garments are shipped to a distribution center, where they are stored until needed at retail locations.
The Typical Lifecycle of a Garment
After the garment is sold, it may be used once, dozens of times, or never at all, before it ends up being thrown away, repurposed, or recycled.
So how many times are garments generally worn? Although there is little data currently available, a detailed survey of almost 2,000 women found that the majority of fashion purchases see the outside of the wardrobe just seven times.
As a result, Americans sent 14 million tons of clothing to landfills in 2018, all while continuing to purchase new garments at a frenzied pace. To put this in more relatable terms, the average American now generates 82 pounds of waste just from clothes they throw away every year!
Adding to the concern, more than 60 percent of fabric fibers are now oil-based synthetics, meaning if and when our clothing ends up in a landfill, they don’t decay.
Despite these large numbers, a problem at such a massive scale does in fact start with actions at the micro level. How many times you wear your garments, and how you dispose of them once it’s time to let them go, both define the life of your garment.
According to the Council for Textile Recycling, nearly one-half of used clothing is given away for donations by the general public. Simply donating your used clothing instead of throwing it away makes a significant impact on the life of your garment, and there are incredibly convenient ways to make it happen.
With Rinse, clothing donations pickup is always free during any one of your scheduled pickups, and it is a great way to extend the life of your garments by giving someone else the opportunity to enjoy them. Another way to counteract the problem of excessive clothing waste is to increase the number of times you wear your garments. A good rule of thumb is to aim for at least 30 uses.
To get to 30 uses, it’s important to ensure the proper care and cleaning of your clothes. When washing clothes, use cold water, as it’s not only helpful in preventing color bleeding and fading but helps to preserve the strength and integrity of the fibers.
Additionally, you can switch from high or medium heat to low heat in the dryer, which also helps to increase the longevity of your garments and reduces the risk of shrinkage and malformation of clothes over multiple cleanings. Or working with Rinse or your local cleaner can help!
So next time you slip into your favorite garment, take a moment to consider not only where it came from, but also where it’s going. And when you choose to extend the life of your garments, you’re making a choice that benefits more than just your wardrobe.
Discover the best practices to follow when ironing at home.
Ironing may seem like a tedious chore but it’s important to remember to iron your clothes in order to maintain them. Not to mention, you don’t want to be well-dressed and feeling confident only to have your outfit stand out (in the wrong way) for wrinkles that could have been avoided if you knew how to properly iron your clothes.
Read our tips and tricks below and learn how to correctly iron your clothes in no time!
The Benefits of Ironing Your Clothes
Before you become a pro at ironing, let’s run through some of the main benefits to ironing your clothes.
Why should I iron my clothes?
The top reason to iron your clothes, shirts in particular, is to limit the number of visible wrinkles. It’s definitely embarrassing to be walking around in public with wrinkles on your clothes. And you'll never get a second chance at a first impression so it’s a good idea to make sure you’re not looking too sloppy as you never know who you’ll meet or run into.
Additionally, ironing can help you preserve your clothes. The steam from an iron manipulates the fabric of your clothes so that they soften and return to their original state, thus, extending the lifespan of your clothes and allowing you to wear them longer and more often.
Another benefit of the steam from an iron is that it can help to kill off any germs and mold that may be starting to appear on your clothes, as well as, help to eliminate odors lingering on the fabrics of the garment.
Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, the heat from an iron does not cause shrinkage. In fact, it helps stretch out the fabrics on the garment, which is a good thing as it makes your clothes look crisp and become wrinkle-free.
Now that you know why ironing is important, let’s cover some of the top tips and tricks so you can start ironing like a pro at home.
Ironing Tips & Tricks
- Spot-check your clothes first - It’s good to inspect your clothes for stains before you iron them as you don’t want to make things worse by pushing stains further into garments as this makes getting the stain out more difficult the next time you clean the item.
- Confirm your temperature settings - Most modern irons have multiple heat settings and more importantly the care labels on your clothes may have instructions to follow when it comes to selecting the proper heat setting on your iron. Choose the correct temperature setting so that you don’t risk melting or ruining your clothes.
- Turn pockets inside out - You may not realize it but if you don’t turn pockets inside out you may iron an outline of your pockets into your garment. It’s a simple trick that often gets overlooked.
- Ensure your iron is clean - Before you start ironing you should check the base of your iron for any pre-existing dirt or stains so that you don’t accidentally iron dirt onto your clothing!
- Iron the middle seam of your pants - Looking for that professional look with your pants? Put both side seams together but pressing the leg of your pants down sideways. From here, place flattens the legs of the pants on the board and start to iron flat applying pressure on the seams. This should create a nice straight line down the legs of your pants.
- Iron the reverse side of collars, cuffs, and hems first - Turn your shirt collars, cuffs, and pant hems inside out and iron them on the reverse side first. By doing so, you’ll avoid a crumpled look that often happens if you don’t start on the reverse side first.
- Remember to drain your iron - When you’re done ironing, drain the water to avoid the build-up of calcium, which can get on your clothes and cause unwanted stains.
Ironing can be time-consuming, particularly, if you constantly iron your clothes for work each week. While the above tips will help you master the art of ironing at home, you can always outsource the chore to professional dry cleaners (pro tip: Rinse offers Dry Cleaning and Launder & Press!) who not only iron your clothes but properly clean them and treat them for stains. Either option will give your clothes a professional look and feel and have you looking sharp and feeling confident.
Learn what type of laundry detergent is right for you.
Today, you have several options for laundry detergent, including laundry powder, liquid detergent, and laundry pods. This wasn’t always the case as liquid laundry detergent wasn’t introduced until the 1950’s. Before then, most consumers used powdered detergent and laundry pods weren’t invented until the 2000’s.
With three options now widely available, how do you know which is best? Below we’ll tell you everything you need to know about laundry detergent to help you choose the best detergent for you.
Powdered Laundry Detergent
First introduced in the 1930’s, powdered laundry detergent was once the go-to choice for consumers in America. Nowadays, you’ll be hard-pressed to find powdered detergent on the shelves at stores (but it remains popular in other countries). Nevertheless, it’s a cheaper option compared to liquid laundry soap and laundry pods and it will leave your clothes looking just as clean as the alternatives.
Why Choose Powdered Detergent
First and foremost, powdered detergent is not only cheaper but it will last longer as the properties it is made of have a longer shelf life relative to liquid laundry detergent. More importantly, powdered detergent is best for tough stains such as grass, clay, and mud stains as it contains linear alkylbenzene sulfonate, a surfactant compound which is effective in treating stains.
Additionally, powdered detergent is packaged in cardboard boxes which can be recycled more easily compared to plastic containers - making it the more eco-friendly choice among laundry detergents.
Powdered Detergent Cons
The main issue with powdered detergent is that it can leave residue in your washing machine, particularly if you are using very cold water since it may not dissolve fully into the water at that temperature. Additionally, the residue can also make its way onto your clothing, which will make them look dirty despite them being recently cleaned in the washing machine.
As mentioned previously, its packaging may be more environmentally-friendly but it is bulky and difficult to handle and store. The powder must be stored in a dry area so that it doesn’t lump together.
However, if you’re looking for ways to get rid of stubborn stains from your adventures outdoors and are actively looking for small ways to reduce your carbon footprint then we highly recommend you give powdered laundry detergent a try.
Liquid Laundry Detergent
Liquid laundry detergent is arguably the most popular choice when it comes to laundry soap. That’s because it’s easy to use and has dominated much of the market up until the introduction of laundry pods in the 2000’s.
Why Choose Liquid Laundry Detergent
Liquid laundry soap is relatively inexpensive, particularly compared to all-in-one laundry pods and is available in a wide variety of scents, which will leave your clothes smelling fresh. Because it is liquid, it easily mixes with the water inside the machine and is less likely to leave residue.
Also, liquid detergent is particularly useful in treating grease stains as it contains alcohol ethoxylates, which are effective on oil-based stains.
Liquid Detergent Cons
Liquid soap comes in bulkier plastic bottles and although they can be recycled they are a strain on the environment if they aren’t recycled properly. Additionally, the detergent is largely made up of water, which adds weight to the container and also is less environmentally efficient.
Another downside of liquid detergent is that it minimizes the effects of other cleaning agents such as oxygen bleach because they are not stable when mixed together in water.
There’s no doubt that liquid laundry soap will effectively clean your clothes. The fact that it comes in a variety of scents and is widely accessible makes it the most popular choice among consumers.
Laundry pods were first introduced to the laundry market in 2012 and were made famous by the Tide brand, who trademarked the term “pods” (Tide PODS). Laundry pods or pacs have quickly grown in popularity and overtaken laundry powder as the second most popular detergent choice.
Why Choose Laundry Pods
Laundry pacs are arguably the most convenient option on the detergent market. They are single-use pacs that contain detergent and are oftentimes mixed with other cleaning materials. They are meant to dissolve in water, which creates less mess and less work for you.
Each pac is pre-measured to eliminate the overuse of detergent (which can cause residue) and since there is a limited amount of water the cleaning agents inside the pod can remain stable for a longer period of time and yield a quality level of cleaning.
Laundry Pod Cons
Despite laundry pods being lightweight, pre-measured, easy, and consumer-friendly they do come at a cost - they are the most expensive detergent option on the market. Additionally, if you are washing clothes with heavy stains you may need to use more than one pod since each pac is on the smaller side and more detergent may be required to effectively treat certain soiled garments.
Nonetheless, laundry pods are a great choice if you’re looking for a simpler way to do laundry. And of course, you can explore professional cleaning services such as Rinse to take care of your laundry for you so you can focus your attention on more important things besides laundry detergent.
Learn how to remove chocolate stains and what you should do when you spill chocolate on yourself.
If you are a chocolate lover, then you’ve likely had the unfortunate experience of getting it on your clothes. Chocolate melts rather easily and no matter how hard you try to avoid it from dripping or smearing it just seems to find its way onto your clothing.
Chocolate stains have the potential to ruin your clothes, especially if you let the stain settle. Lucky for you, we’ve put together a list of helpful steps you can explore to help salvage your stained clothes and remove chocolate stains.
Professional Dry Cleaning
The best action to take to remove a chocolate stain is to take your stained garment to a professional dry cleaner and let them know where your chocolate stain is and how long it’s been on your garment.
A dry cleaner will not only attempt to remove the chocolate stain, but they will also professionally clean the entire garment.
To remove chocolate stains and dry clean most garments, cleaners will use chemical solvents, a special vacuum, and/or heat to try and remove the chocolate stain from your garment. Afterward, your garment will be placed into a machine and submerged into a non-water based solvent. Your garment will then be rotated so that the solvent is applied steadily throughout the garment.
Once this process is complete your garment is spun around to get rid of any excess solvent and warm air is released to help dry the garment.
Leaving your clothes in the hands of professional dry cleaners, such as Rinse, gives you the best chance to successfully remove chocolate stains because their tools and knowledge are no match for at home solutions.
Steps You Can Try At Home to Remove Chocolate Stains
- Remove Excess Chocolate - First and foremost, you want to clear your garment of any excess chocolate by using a spoon or a utensil that isn't too sharp. Avoid sharp objects such as knives so that you don’t damage or rip your clothes. If the chocolate stain has dried, then it might be too late to try removing the stain at home. You will want to avoid having to peel or scrape dried chocolate from your garment as this can make things worse.
- Carefully Rinse the Stained Area - Use cold water to carefully rinse the back of the stained area. By rinsing from the back, you allow the water to flow back through the garment and limit the stain from traveling to other areas of the garment. Do not use warm or hot water as it may cause the stain to settle.
- Apply Laundry Detergent - Apply liquid laundry detergent on the stained area and allow the garment to sit for 5 minutes. You may be tempted to immediately rinse the detergent but refrain from doing so. After 5 minutes, soak the garment in cold water for 15 minutes and rub your fingers gently across the stained area to try and loosen the stain. Repeat the rubbing process every 3 to 5 minutes. Continue to repeat soaking and rubbing until the stain is removed and then completely rinse the stained area. Lastly, you will want to wash the garment according to your care label instructions.
In addition to the steps above, you may find success removing a chocolate stain with a stain remover pen or spray. Be sure to read the care label on your garment and any instructions included with the stain remover before proceeding. We hope you find these tips and tricks useful!
Learn what fabric softener is and how to properly use it.
It should come as no surprise that fabric softener is designed to make your clothes feel extra soft and fresh. But what you may not know is that softener comes in a few different forms, each with its pros and cons. Yes, softeners are simple to use but there are a few key details you should be aware of. Below we’ll run through the in’s and out’s of fabric softener and how to properly use it.
What Does Fabric Softener Do?
Fabric softener is a conditioner that can be added to your wash & fold load in order to soften your clothes and keep them from wrinkling.
Softeners can also help your clothes last longer as they create less static cling among the fibers, which reduces friction and creates less wear and tear during the washing process. In addition, some fabric softeners come pre-scented so it’s an easy way to add a bit of freshness to your laundry.
However, not all softeners are the same. Nowadays, you’ll most likely use one of three fabric softener options. Let’s take a look at each one and how they are different.
Liquid Fabric Softener
Of the three main options, liquid softener is the most expensive but it typically does the best job of freshening up your clothes. That is because the liquid is able to penetrate the fabrics of your clothing during the wash cycle. The downside to liquid softener is that the liquid can cause buildup in your washing machine and sometimes it can leave a stain on your clothes.
Dryer sheets are small sheets coated with stearic acid and fresh scents among a few other chemicals. When the dryer heat ensues, the stearic acid melts and makes its way onto your clothes, which reduces static and leaves them feeling nice and soft.
Dryer sheets are relatively inexpensive compared to liquid softeners and extremely easy to use - all you have to do is pop one or two in the dryer and you’re all set!
Dryer balls are wool balls that you can add to the dryer to help soften and freshen up your clothes. Additionally, dryer balls have added benefits such as speeding up the drying process. Because the balls are wool, they are able to absorb the moisture on the clothes and help them to dry quicker.
Since dryer balls are round and can move around better than dryer sheets, they are typically more effective relative to dryer sheets. Nevertheless, both are viable options if you are looking for an alternative to liquid softener.
When should I use fabric softener?
In general, it’s always a good idea to add fabric softener to your laundry. Most fabrics can handle the softener and your laundry will come out softer, fresher, and wrinkle free. However, there are a few types of clothes with which you should think twice about using fabric softeners.
Most athletic gear isn’t very compatible with fabric softener. That is because many items are meant to soak up moisture while you workout and softeners may clog the fabric apertures, which can negate the moisture-wicking of the garment in the future.
To that end, other water-proof garments may not be very compatible. Additionally, other types of garments and fabrics meant to help with absorption, such as towels, may be negatively affected by fabric softener over time. It’s worth keeping an eye out on your towels - if you find they are taking more than one normal cycle to dry, then it may be time to reconsider their exposure to fabric softener.
Overall, fabric softener is a great addition to your laundry room and it will certainly leave your clothes smelling fresh and feeling soft!
Learn the proper way to prevent shrinkage from the #laundrynerds at Rinse.
Accidentally shrinking your clothes while doing laundry can leave you feeling frustrated, especially if you shrunk an item that is sentimental to you or is difficult to replace. If you’re looking to avoid this feeling of frustration again you’ve come to the right place as we put together a helpful guide on how to prevent your clothes from shrinking.
What Causes Clothes to Shrink in the Laundry
In order to prevent your clothes from shrinking you must first understand what causes your clothes to shrink in the first place. Shrinkage largely depends on the type of fabric your clothes are made of along with factors such as the amount of moisture and heat they are exposed to during the laundering process.
Types of Shrinkage in Clothes
Felting shrinkage refers to a type of shrinkage that takes place with fabrics such as wool or others that are made from animal hair fibers. These types of fabrics have scales along the surface at the microscopic level and when they are exposed to excessive heat and moisture, the scales come together and compress. If you ever had a wool sweater that shrunk in size it was due to felting shrinkage.
Relaxation shrinkage can occur in clothes made from cotton, silk, linen, or synthetic fibers. The chances of relaxation shrinkage occurring are very slim despite several different clothing types being prone to it.
If fabrics are exposed to large amounts of moisture, particularly lukewarm water, or other types of liquids then the fabrics may shrink. Relaxation shrinkage is the most common reason why silk garments can shrink. To avoid shrinking a silk garment you can explore hand washing (more on that later!).
Consolidation shrinkage gets its name from the fact the many factors contribute to the shrinkage of a garment. It’s when heat, moisture, and the physical action of a washer or dryer combine to affect the fibers that make up the garment.
During the manufacturing process, manufacturers create tension among the fibers of the clothes (for example knitting creates tension) and the combination of the factors above can lead to the release of tension and cause a garment to lose its shape or shrink. You’ve likely experienced a form of consolidation shrinkage with your t-shirts, particularly if you exposed them to excessive heat during the drying process.
How to Keep Clothes From Shrinking
To prevent your clothes from shrinking you’ll want to take preventative actions before you wash them and consider certain protocols for washing and drying. We compiled a list of helpful tips and tricks you should consider in order to avoid shrinking your clothes.
- Read the Care Labels - Regardless if you are looking for ways to avoid shrinking your clothes or not, you should always read the care labels on your clothes. The labels are there to help you understand how to properly care for your clothes and will include directions you should follow in order to prevent damage such as shrinkage. At Rinse, we always follow the care labels on your clothes. If you don’t want to deal with having to figure out what your labels mean, then leave the clothing care to us (schedule a pickup here).
- Use Cold Water - If you are able to, wash your clothes using cold water. Cold water is less likely to damage your clothes relative to warm or hot water.
- Air Dry - The safest way to dry your clothes is by hanging them to air dry as it eliminates the chances for a dryer to damage your clothes due to heat exposure. This is particularly important for delicate and synthetics (e.g. yoga pants; dri-fit shirts). We recommend investing in a drying rack if you’re looking for ways to air dry at home. Or, try our Hang Dry service and we’ll professionally clean your clothes and hang them to dry in a temperature controlled room.
- Tumble Dry Low Heat - If you cannot air dry your clothes, consider using the tumble dry low heat option on your dryer to dry your clothes using only the motion of the machine. This way, you avoid potentially damaging your clothes from excessive exposure to heat.
- Hand Wash - If your washer and dryer lack detailed settings to control temperature, then you may want to consider hand washing select items in order to avoid shrinkage from heat and moisture. Hand washing also allows you to control the amount of pressure and friction involved in the washing process, which can help a garment keep its shape.
Will Dry Cleaning Prevent Shrinkage?
Another way to prevent shrinking your clothes is to opt for a professional dry cleaning service. Rinse offers Dry Cleaning service, 7 days a week and will pick up and deliver straight to your door.
Professional dry cleaners use non-water based chemical solvents to clean clothes during the dry cleaning process. In other words, the dry cleaning process does not include any use of water or the use of a drying machine, which limits your clothing’s exposure to excessive heat and moisture.
Not only does dry cleaning help to not shrink your clothes, but it also is an effective way to remove stains due to the spotting process. Cleaners, such as Rinse, will typically go through a pre-spotting process where they’ll apply a chemical solvent, vacuum, or heat to stains on your garment, which helps to remove the stain during the actual dry cleaning process.
We hope you find these tips and tricks helpful!
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