Caring For Your Clothes

By Amelia O'Mahony Brady

AEG’s Care Label Project provides a game-changing approach to laundry day From our first taste of adulthood onwards, there’s no doubt that the banalities of household chores become familiar territory, fast. In as much as correctly stacking a dishwasher becomes second-nature, reading the care instructions on any given garment – and setting your washing machine accordingly – feels inherent after the first few sessions. Yet many of the clothes-cleaning principles we were taught to recognise, from Do Not Tumble Dry to Hand Wash Only, are nearly six decades out of date – and with 25% of a garment’s carbon footprint coming from the way we care for it*, it couldn’t be more imperative to finally trade in our old laundry tricks.

   

One groundbreaking initiative – partnering the fashion industry’s freshest designers with washing machine manufacturers AEG – has made a streamlined guide to caring for our clothes, ensuring that for every outmoded standard, there’s a handy solution to replace it. At its core, the Care Label Project’s “Modern Care Guide” strives to combat fashion’s throwaway culture; its eye-opening tips extending the lifespan of our most trusted threads. For one, we frequently over-wash garments, expending valuable energy and water whilst wearing out fibres. By following the guide’s “Wash Less, Care More” ethos, however, fewer but fuller washing-machine loads are prioritised – and since we tend to wear only 20% of the clothes we own*, it gives a chance for more back-of-the-closet garms to take centre-stage.

   

While the pace at which we wash our clothes is pivotal, another revelatory change comes in the form of temperature labels. Most of us believe that these represent the recommended washing temperature when, in fact, they display the maximum one. Washing at lower temperatures is championed by AEG, and with good reason: going from 40 to 30 degrees can save up to 60% of energy consumption* whilst keeping your textiles fresher and further away from expiring. Older washing machines might have needed higher temperatures for a thorough clean, but modern technology has eliminated that issue – unless very dirty, even workout clothes get a proper laundering on colder washes. Moreover, tumble driers, once avoided like the plague by owners of fragile lace and diaphanous chiffon, now have the means to dry even the most delicate of fabrics with care, such as silk, wool and other sensitive (read: outdoor and water-repellent) materials. Outdoor wear retains its water-repelling properties far better than if air-dried, which people would assume is the more ecologically-tactful option. The Dry Clean Only myth also gets largely debunked: thanks to gentler cycles and, again, lower temperatures, many items needn’t be packed off to the chemical-heavy dry cleaner’s. In the case of cashmere jumpers or sequin-adorned dresses, however, a visit to the cleaner’s may be needed. Thankfully for Dublin dwellers, Eco Green Earth offers environmentally-friendly dry-cleaning straight from their Rathmines base.

   

In summary? Put your previous care habits to one side and embrace gentler cycles, lower temperatures and more spaced-out laundry sessions. 70% of us inherit our washing- machine knowledge from our parents*, so it pays to get them in the loop as well. When whittled down to the bare essentials, AEG’s pointers slot in seamlessly to any clothing- care routine, yet their positive impact is indisputable. Whilst you’re minimising your chemical output, it’s well worth swapping any chemical-filled laundry liquids for more sustainable products. Lilly's Eco Clean – a home-grown company who caters to all manner of household cleaning – should be your first port-of-call!

 

*statistics are taken from Fashion Revolution and associated, approved organisations.


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