Saturday 22 February 2020

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So Last Season

Should we wash our clothes less?

Wednesday, 10th July, 2019 4:56pm

This week the world has seemingly collectively lost its mind over fashion designer Stella McCartney’s proclamations that it is simply better to brush dirt from clothes rather than put them in the wash. She said: “I’m not a fan of dry cleaning or any cleaning really.”

The designer who uses eco-friendly materials and processes to produce her clothes and learned her trade with the tailors on Savile Row also said that on a bespoke suit “you let the dirt dry and you brush it off”.

In an interview with The Observer McCartney also said: “I wouldn’t change my bra every day and I don’t just chuck stuff into a washing machine because it’s been worn.”

While I’m not fully on board with this brushing method of clothes cleansing, I have to say I do agree to some extent with what she is saying. We seem to have become obsessed with washing clothes at unnecessarily high temperatures which seems a bit crazy considering so many people work at jobs where they are sitting down at a desk with low risk of sweating profusely or even mildly soiling a garment.

It’s not like the majority of people are out cutting turf or picking stones and if you are, then by all means treat your clothes to a good wash at the end of the day.

I’m washing clothes at a low temperature, using an Eco Egg which I have now been using for a week and I’m not even missing washing up detergent and spot cleaning stains. Line drying outside - weather permitting of course - all contribute to not only to helping the environment by saving water and energy but also keeping your clothes in better condition for longer.

In fact, denim experts like Chip Bergh the CEO of Levi’s would go as far as to say you shouldn’t wash your jeans, instead air them out between wears and spot clean any stains with water. He definitely lives by his word as he has one pair of jeans that are ten years old and have never been washed.

One can only assume as CEO of Levi’s that the man knows what he’s talking about.

While I’m not suggesting you leave your jeans unwashed for a decade - although I kind of want to do an experiment and see just how this method of jeans cleaning would pan out - it definitely will make me think twice about putting something in the wash basket in the future. Laying off the non-stop washing makes sense when you consider washing machines by their very nature distort the shape of our clothes, as well as cause the colour to fade and washing powders create even more friction on the fibres of fabric especially when it comes to more budget labels and polyester.

When we invest so much money in our wardrobes, it would be a bit nonsensical to not look after our clothes as best we can.

Simple things like handwashing delicate items like bras can help or if handwashing is simply not your thing, wash them on a light cycle.

Close zippers and other fastenings to prevent snagging. Avoid ironing and instead try and steam where possible - you can pick up a steamer reasonably priced in Lidl.

Lastly, sort clothes by colour as well as weight to ensure lighter garments aren’t over washed or spend too much time in the drier.

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