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.
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 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!
Make your laundry day less stressful by learning the right way to sort your laundry and avoid damage and accidents.
Hate it or love it, sorting and separating laundry is a necessary part of laundry day. Properly sorting your laundry can help prevent damage, preserve colors, and so much more. Below we teach you everything you need to know in order to separate and sort your laundry like a pro.
Why Is Sorting Laundry Important?
Before you learn the best way to sort your laundry you should first understand why this is such a critical step in the washing process.
Sorting Helps to Identify and Treat Stains
Sorting laundry effectively serves as a way to audit your clothes because you are giving each article of clothing an extra look as you remove it from your laundry bag or hamper.
During the audit process, you can pay closer attention to how dirty your clothes actually are and if there are notable stains on them. If you do come across any stained garments, you can set them aside and treat the stain as needed prior to cleaning the garment.
Sorting Preserves Your Clothing
Separating laundry enables you to segment your laundry according to fabric type and color. Separating clothes by color is especially important because some garments are made from dyes that tend to color bleed during the washing process if they are not properly sorted with similar colors. You may have already experienced color bleeding first-hand, particularly with red garments.
Sorting Protects Your Delicates
Another reason it’s important to sort your laundry before washing is that it allows you to pull out any delicate items that may need special treatment. Delicate items include garments made of silk and satin, or items with netting or lace. To preserve your delicates, don’t just throw them into the washing machine along with other clothing. It’s important to handle your delicates separately so they don’t get damaged during the washing process.
How to Sort Your Laundry
1.) Read The Care Labels
Prior to sorting and washing your clothes you should always read the care labels. The care labels are unique to each garment and include directions on how to properly care for your clothes, including the suggested temperature setting you should set your washer to.
In addition, the care labels provide a breakdown of the fabrics used to make your garments, such as cotton or polyester. This information is valuable because some fabrics may need special attention if you choose to care for them at home versus using a professional cleaner. For instance, cashmere is a fabric that you will want to care for separately.
If you don’t have time to read all your care labels (hint: most people don’t), make sure you check the care labels for items where you aren’t 100% sure they can safely go through the washer and dryer. You know the items we’re talking about...it’s less about t-shirts and socks and more about delicate or unique materials or colors.
2.) Sort Using Piles
Consider sorting your laundry into piles to make your life easier. First and foremost, separate your lights and darks. By doing so, you will limit the chances of color bleeding occurring during the wash cycle.
You should sort your lights and darks into three different categories - darks, other colors, and whites. If your garment is multi-colored or includes a pattern, sort the garment based on the most prevalent color. If it’s too tough to tell, then any of your color piles will suffice.
After your colored piles are set, you can consider the following sub-piles:
- Stained garments - any garment that is stained or extremely dirty.
- Dry clean only - items that cannot be washed using a machine or require dry cleaning service.
- Linens - sheets, comforters, towels, and other related bedding items.
- Daily outfits - garments such as t-shirts, socks, underwear, etc.
- Denim - jeans and denim jackets.
- Workout clothes - activewear and gym clothing.
- Delicates - anything that requires a delicate wash, such as lingerie or silk.
If the above is too detailed, we suggest starting with a more basic system and then working your way up to the “pro” level, such as:
Items that should be washed in laundry vs. items that should NOT. For items that should be washed, just separate your lights and darks.
By using the pile system you are able to ensure you are washing similar garment types together, which will help you to avoid damage or accidents during the cleaning process.
Additionally, piles allow you to set aside stained garments and clothes that need dry cleaning service. Rather than risking damage to your dry clean only garments in the washing machine, consider a professional dry cleaning service such as Rinse so that you can properly care for your dry clean only items and stained garments.
Once you’ve inspected your piles you are ready to start washing!
By following these tips and tricks you’ll be sorting laundry like expert in no time. If you would rather not deal with sorting and washing laundry you can opt for professional services such as Rinse.
At Rinse, we always sort your lights and darks and handle your laundry with care. We’ll pick up, professionally clean, and deliver your laundry straight to your door. You can schedule a pickup here any day of the week, including Sundays!
Now that the warm weather is here, it's time to enjoy al fresco afternoons with wine and cheese. Yet, too often a great outdoor dining experience is ruined by the little spills that mark up your new blouse or pants. Whether you're exploring a new city, enjoying the outdoors or savoring a summer dessert, don't sweat the small stains that you may encounter during the summer with our on-the-go DIY cheat sheet to help you along the way.
Food and drink
Whether it's a box of French macarons, fresh blueberry muffins or chocolate ice cream, summer is the time to indulge in your favorite treats. And it's no surprise that food and drinks can lead to some of the most common summer stains.
Made a mess during Sunday brunch? No worries. Soak up the stain with a napkin, ask your server for some club soda, and lightly dab the stained area. You can take common summer fabrics such as cotton, corduroy or linen to the bathroom to be washed with cold water and soap (this works for iced coffee stains too). For more delicate fabrics, such as silk or chiffon, take them to a professional dry cleaner for the best care.
Since it's also barbecue season, mishaps with ribs or burgers are bound to happen. For fresh stains, act quickly by scraping off any sauce on the fabric. Follow up by soaking the stained area in water. You can apply the same tactic for ice cream spills: rinse and repeat under cool water as necessary. For more stubborn stains, follow up with a professional cleaning.
Sunscreen, sweat and deodorant
You might take advantage of the great weather by lounging at the lake or hanging out on the beach, in which case SPF is a must. If you get some on your clothing, apply pressure with a clean towel to soak up the product and add liquid detergent before laundering as usual.
While you may look great in that poplin sundress or white linen shirt, embarrassing sweat stains can foil your outfit—especially if you're wearing summer whites. To help preempt this issue, make sure you choose an aluminum-free (or low-aluminum) antiperspirant, which won't leave a mark. If your deodorant does leave an unwelcome blemish, a quick cleaning hack is to use fabric softener sheets to remove any traces by rubbing one on the affected area. For delicate fabrics like rayon, blot the area with some water and soap before gently hand washing.
Try as we might, some sweat stains will remain. And, they tend to get darker over time becuase of continued heat and sunlight. It's best to try to prevent them before they occur!
Grass and dirt
Whether you're hiking the Grand Canyon, having a picnic in Central Park or enjoying a game of frisbee in your backyard, you might encounter a few grass or dirt stains—not too surprising if you're the outdoors type. For dirt stains, apply some dishwashing soap right away before tossing the affected article in the laundry. For shoes caked in dirt and grass, this stubborn stain can be easily removed by rubbing it with a damp cloth soaked in soapy warm water. Grass stains on clothing, however, can be extremely difficult to remove, so if you find yourself with one, we recommend a trip as soon as possible to a professional.
If all else fails, get thee to a professional dry cleaner!
Worried about keeping your swimwear in tip-top shape? We've got you covered with our guide to cleaning and preserving swimsuits.
Photos: freestocks.org, Brooke Lark, Nadia Jamnik, Kyle Ryan
Red clothes have a unique makeup, including different types of clothing dye. But is this why they bleed the most? Find out why red clothes bleed the most and how you can limit it.
Contrary to popular belief, red clothes are not more prone to color bleeding than any other color. Below we’ll discuss why this is and help you understand ways you can avoid color bleeding.
Why do red clothes color bleed?
More often than not, red garments color bleed simply due to the type of dye commercial clothing manufacturers oftentimes use when making red colored clothes. The dye is called direct dye and it is actually available in other colors, which are equally as susceptible to color bleeding. However, it’s commonly used with red colored clothing items. Therefore, red colored clothing is associated with color bleeding more than other colors.
Garments with red direct dye are much more likely to color bleed in the laundry as opposed to clothes that use fiber reactive dye. This is because of the chemical makeup of direct dye and it reacts with the fibers of the clothing.
Red color bleeding also can be a result of over dyeing or the dye not being properly settled in the fabric of the clothing.
How do I avoid color bleeding?
Unless you are making your own clothes or dying your own clothes it’s difficult to know much about the dye used on your clothing items.
With that said, there are a few best practices you can follow regardless of they type of dye to limit your chances of experiencing color bleeding on your next laundry day.
- Always separate lights and darks. This is a mandatory practice at Rinse but you may be surprised to know that many people at home overlook this important step when doing their own laundry.
- Use a color fixative such as Retayne or Raycafix on your clothes pre-wash to help prevent color transfer.
- Use cold water over hot water when washing. Hot water can loosen up the fabric and increase the likelihood of color bleeding.
- When possible, adjust your washer settings to delicate or something similar to reduce the amount of friction inside the washing machine.
- Add color catcher sheets to the machine to help catch and hold dyes during washing.
- Turn your clothes inside out to reduce both color fading and color bleeding.
As you can see there are several steps you can take to help reduce the chances of color bleeding. By implementing these basic tips you’ll not only limit color bleeding but improve the lifespan of your clothes.
Leave the cleaning to Rinse experts
Use Rinse's award-winning services for high-quality cleaning and delivery straight to your door.
Leave your clothes to the people who know best. You’ll receive your clothes pressed on hangers, or neatly folded (depending on the service).
Schedule via SMS, web, or app. We pick up and deliver everyday, even if you are not home.
Fast turnaroundOur standard turnaround time is 3–4 days