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Silvia Njoki: How to Keep your Clothes Looking New
We spend so much money on clothing and give much attention to picking the right pieces to match our style, but sadly not nearly as much effort goes into caring for our treasured pieces.
We all want clothes that we can wear for a long time. Don’t you agree that it is much more sensible to take care of items we already have than spending money on new ones?
Poor laundry habits are the number one culprits when it comes to the degeneration of the overall look and longevity of garments. Clothes affect your overall well-being and general productivity, and the truth is that how you launder your clothes monumentally affects and boosts your self-esteem.
I’ll be the first to admit that until recently, I never played the hands-on role of doing my own laundry. And also in my professional work as a fashion stylist where I routinely work with various clothing brands. I simply entrusted them to a commercial laundry not worrying about how they would go about the job. But when I attended the P&G future fabrics conference in Barcelona last year I was offered a real eye-opener on this subject, which has changed the way I am now going about garment care. Since then I have taken it upon myself to properly take care of my laundry and have taught my staff more about how it should be done. And it has made a huge difference in such a short time!
So much in fact that I have decided to share a few of my best ideas and tips with you:
- Read the clothing care labels
The labels have been put there for a purpose. I am a bit embarrassed that it’s only now that I have started to pay attention to the valuable information and specific instructions they provide. With all the new fibres now being introduced, you are well advised to follow the guidance of the experts.
2. Wash Inside-Out
Your Mom probably already told you this and it is great advice. This simple effort reduces fading and damage to prints, buttons and embellishments and also minimizes the damage which open zips can do to other pieces of clothes in the machine washing process.
3. Using the detergent right
Do not put powder or liquid on top of clothes and use the right amounts of detergent as instructed. Ariel is a detergent that I have come to appreciate. Their range of products do much more for you than just stain removal and cleaning and have been scientifically adapted to care for the range of new man-made fibres which have made their way into the latest generation of fabrics.
4. Wash in cold water
Some fibres don’t tolerate higher temperatures very well (silk is a well-known case in point) but also some of the newest man-made fibres may lose some of their properties especially elasticity if exposed to higher temperatures. 30 degrees or less is all you need.
30 degrees or less is all you need. In fact, the experts recommend that you never exceed that temperature except for nylon and cotton. You also preserve the colours better, and best of all you are being energy efficient and protect both your household budget and the environment.
5. Use fabric conditioner
Fabric conditioners contribute to making clothes fluffy by reducing static cling and wrinkles, and last but not least add a beautiful soft and fresh scent while preventing stretching and fuzzing. I am yet to figure out which Downy long lasting fabric conditioner scent is my favourite, but one thing that’s certain is that my clothes always feel like a second skin after a good fabric conditioning.
6. Air dry
We are lucky to live in a tropical climate that allows us to air dry our clothes all year round. The pleasant scent of the fresh air and the disinfecting properties of the sun are just two of the many reasons why you should air dry your clothes. Remember to air dry them inside out to avoid fading.
Always fold your knits during airing and storage and hang your rayons, cottons and linens.
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