caring for your sustainable garments
Now that you are building your natural fiber wardrobe, you'll want to know how to care for your garments. Natural fiber textiles are inherently easy care, but here are some tips to keep them looking and feeling great for years of enjoyment.
First, keep in mind that natural fiber textiles will shrink. Knowing this, search for brands that consider this in their design and production. At Goddess Gear, we test each fabric for shrinkage and adjust our patterns accordingly. This means that when the garment is cut and sewn, the pattern includes the calculated amount for fabric shrinkage.
We then wash and dry each garment after it is complete. The result? Garments that look the way they will after you wash them. Garments that fit you the same way after the first wash (and the fortieth). No more holding your breath as your new favorite top enters the washer. Hooray!
General care and considerations:
Wash: Machine wash on gentle in cold water with like colors, using a mild detergent. Do your clothes need to be washed every time you wear them? Perhaps not, as natural fibers have antimicrobial properties, meaning they fight bacteria and odor. Just washing when needed can save water, energy, and add to your garments’ lifespan.
To dry or not to dry? The answer is, it’s up to you! Drying clothing in a machine consumes energy and shortens its lifespan. However, it can be done thoughtfully. I love nothing more than the softness and pebbly texture of washed and dried linen. However, here are some things to consider.
Pros – Machine drying is easy and quick and results in a lovely soft texture that improves with each wash and dry. If your garment is removed promptly, wrinkling is reduced to a minimum.
Cons - Energy consumption. If you miss a spot and it goes into the dryer, it is more difficult to remove. Over time machine drying will break down the fibers in the garment.
The middle road - Machine wash and hang to dry. You can then toss it in the dryer for five minutes with a damp load to soften and remove wrinkles.
If you are going to line dry make sure to keep your garments out of direct sunlight when doing so. If you use the dryer, always use a gentle or low heat setting and remove your garments as soon as they are almost dry.
Spills and stains – Accidents happen, and natural fibers are happy to release almost anything you spill on them. To remove protein-based spills like food, makeup, or oils, apply a little mild dish detergent. Leave overnight and wash as usual. Remember, treating stains early and before washing or drying makes them easier to remove. Always avoid chlorine bleach as it weakens fibers and yellows whites. As an alternative a vinegar soak is a great glow up for your white linen garments.
Ironing? If you must, go right ahead, but it really isn’t necessary. Life today is more casual than it once was and the way we dress reflects that. To my mind, one of the benefits of enjoying natural fiber clothing is embracing its inherent qualities. These include textural interest and a relaxed look. As you wear natural fibers they will quickly relax with your body heat and release any small wrinkles.
Ironing a linen or hemp garment can actually create creases. However, if ironing is your thing, go right ahead, using an appropriate setting and ironing with the garment turned inside out.
The most important thing to remember....enjoy dressing yourself in a way that makes you smile!