So, you’ve gotten your beautiful, handmade, ethically and sustainably-crafted garment. Now it’s up to you to keep it for as long as you possibly can. No pressure.
Care guide’s are scary and confusing. Period. It seems as though every different garment and every different material has a completely different care guide. So, we thought it’d be a good idea to do a completely general but completely safe care guide for your garments; a care guide that’s totally not scary and not confusing.
We’ve done our research, studied a lot of different care guides, drawn on our own experiences, had a few coffees, and come up with a bit of a universal care guide. Okay, let’s get down and dirty (and clean) with the deets.Oh, and for the TLDR version, scroll to the bottom for a quick. You’re welcome.
01. How to care for everyday garments
By everyday garments, we mean garments made from common materials such as cotton, linen, hemp, and the likes. To be honest, this is even a good one to follow as a guideline for any of your garments, or if you don’t have much time on your hands.
Hand washing is best, and so is using eco-detergents and avoiding harsh chemicals (we’ll get to this later). In an ideal world, we’d all be hand washing every garment. In an ideal world we’d also all be able to eat copious amounts of chocolate and not have to deal with the aftereffects, but of course that’s just unrealistic, and so is hand washing every garment.
The next best thing is to put your garments on a delicate/gentle, cold cycle. Heat is a big factor in the shrinkage of a garment, which is why we place an emphasis on cold washing. Washing on a cold cycle also saves energy—win-win! For your smaller, more delicate garments, including underwear, bras, and lingerie, opt for popping them in a laundry/lingerie bag. Because you probably wear these garments the most, this will keep them separate (and safer) from your larger, more dense garments.
Wash similar coloured items and items of a similar nature together. For example, wash denim with denim, whites with whites, etc., as this is the easiest way to preserve the colours of your garments. It is also a good idea to take care of stains as soon as they occur. We know it’s annoying and inconvenient, but this will ensure your garments remain spick and span (and red wine stain free).
When your garments are all nice and clean, try to remove them from the machine as soon as you can. This will help you avoid excess creasing, and also that unpleasant smell that comes from damp things in confined spaces. Ew.
Up next is line drying your garments. If it’s available to you, try to line dry your garments in the shade as this will slow down the fading and sun-bleaching processes, as well as extending the life of any of the dyes embedded into your clothes, and it will save energy in the process.
Try not to tumble dry, but if you’re in a hurry and there’s absolutely no way you can wear anything but the dress that’s still damp, tumble dry on the cool/warm setting. If you can be bothered to iron your garments, we recommend doing so when the garment is turned inside out.
It’s also important to note that you should only wash when you need to. This is not only good for the environment (hello less water and electricity usage), but it also does wonders for your clothing in general. If you’ve worn a shirt for a few hours, hang it outside to air them out. This should take away any unpleasant smells and help prolong the time between washes.
Hot tip: you can also just spot wash your clothes in between the bigger washes. Spot washing is literally just hand washing the part of your clothes that need it most. We’re not ones to point fingers, but maybe start with under the armpits or those pesky pasta stains.
02. How to care for satin and silk garments
Satin and silk tend to be a little high maintenance (bless). This is why we recommend hand-washing in cold water with an eco-detergent of course, and line drying the garment in the shade.
To remove excess liquid, do not rub or wring. Instead, place the garment in a folded towel and push down with your bodyweight to help absorb the moisture. If your garment is creased, use a steamer if it is available to you, or you could even hang your satin/silk up in the bathroom when you’re having a hot shower and let the steam work its magic.
Don’t commit the cardinal sin of rolling your silk up into a ball and shoving it in the back of your closet. When that special occasion comes and it’s time to take the silk out, it’ll be crumpled and creased, and you’ll be cursing and crying. And we’ll still be alliterating. Instead, hang your silk on a coat hanger, and store it in your cool and dry wardrobe.
03. How to care for your swimwear
After every swim, do a quick cold water rinse of your swimwear when you’re in the shower (water saving hack, tick), then line dry the pieces in the shade. Also, try not to twist or wring out your swimmers. This ain’t good for them. To remove the excess water, place the swimmers on one half of a towel, fold the other half over the top, and gently push down with your body weight. When the time comes for you to wash your swimwear, wash them like you would wash your everyday wear; use a cold, delicate wash, and line dry in the shade. You get the gist.
Also, if you’ve purchased swimwear (or activewear, come to think of it) from any of the brands in our directory or through our store; first of all, thank you, and second of all, keep in mind the fabrics. More often than not, these ethically-made goodies are crafted from fabrics made from recycled plastic waste, such as ECONYL. If you’ve bought them from conventional fashion houses then they’re probably made from virgin polyester. With this, if you want to be extra responsible, you could even invest in a guppy bag or a filter for your washing machine, as both of these things will catch the micro-plastics that are released during the clothes washing process and will save them from ending up in our oceans.
04. How to care for leather
We're talking about both the animal type and the vegan type. Like a fine wine, leather gets better over time. Apparently we like rhyming over here at Ethical Made Easy.
There’s a lot of fancy ways to take care of leather, which is why we’ve simplified it a bit. Regularly wipe down your leather to remove excess oils. A damp cloth should do the trick. Prevent fading by storing leather away from direct sunlight, and invest in a good polish or coating if you’re super dedicated.
Similar to conventional leather, vegan leather gets better looking with age. Hopefully the same applies to us. Cactus leather is waterproof, so just wipe it over with a damp, soapy cloth, but we definitely do not recommend taking it for a swim. The same goes for most vegan leathers, and also washable paper products.
Pinatex products may experience some fibre release over time, so for optimum durability, we recommend a non-toxic colour-matched boot polish with a touch of Paw Paw cream to seal all that goodness in. Thanks for the tip, A_C Collective.
05. How to care for your inflatable pool
DIPP, specifically. We’ve taken this directly from their website because we definitely didn’t want to miss anything. DIPP pools are made with a unique material, so respect your product by following some key steps:
- Keep your pool out of the sun as much as possible. Temperature affects inflation as air expands with heat. Follow the inflation guide for the correct way to get started.
- If not in use, drain and deflate your DIPP and keep in a cool, dry area out of the sun. Extreme temperatures can result in defects.
- Always use the drain to empty your DIPP. This will prevent any unnecessary strain on the seams.
- If kids, dogs and sometimes adults (actually, most of the time, the adults!) cause the pool to get dirty marks, use a clean rag and your favourite environmentally friendly cleaner to wipe down.
- Do not lean, sit, jump on or apply excessive pressure to the product.
- Do not over-inflate. This will cause unnecessary strain on the seams and cause the onset of early leaks.
- When setting up your DIPP, make sure it is done on a clean and flat surface
Sprung a leak? We have you covered. Find a TPU patch in your box and follow these steps to get your DIPP filled up again.
- Once the leak is found, deflate your DIPP.
- Ensure the area around the leak is completely clean and allow to dry for at least 10 minutes.
- Cut repair patch to required size (we find it works better with rounded corners).
- Separate paper back from patch.
- Place patch over centre of leak and press firmly, working out all air and water bubbles from under patch to edges.
- Do not touch it for at least 20 minutes - let it set. The longer it is left, the stronger it will get.
- Do not inflate for at least 30 minutes after the repair is complete.
- Get back in your DIPP and unwind.
06. What eco-detergents should I use?
It’s all well and good to say “use eco-friendly detergents and avoid harsh chemicals”, but what-the-fast-fashion does that actually mean? Conventionally-made detergents are usually filled to the brim with ingredients none of us would ever willingly put onto our skin, and are usually non-biodegradable (very bad for the environment) and derived from petrochemicals (very bad for us). Oh, and did you know that in Australia cleaning companies are not required by federal law to list the ingredients of their products? We don’t know about you, but we find this pretty suss.
Eco-detergents, on the other hand, are quick to offer up the full list of the stuff they use in their products. These ingredients are usually biodegradable, plant-based, and free from chemicals and harmful toxins. Companies that provide eco-detergents, more often than not, also consider the amount of plastic in the wash cycle, and also their product’s places in closed loop systems. These companies often offer a return/refill system for their products, provide either plastic-free or recyclable packaging, and also give back to charities and organisations through the profits they make.
Also, just FYI, we sell a really, really great Australian-made eco laundry detergent from The Dirt Company, who does all of the aforementioned things and then some. We don’t mean to toot our horn, but we definitely mean to toot theirs.
07. How to dry clean
Three words: eco dry cleaning. The process of eco dry cleaning is essentially how it sounds; it’s a more eco-friendly way of dry cleaning garments. Who would’ve thought? Eco dry cleaning can involve automated processes that use only the necessary amount of resources for each garment, and also, of course, the use of environmentally-friendly cleaning detergents and products.
They do a lot of other cool stuff, too. Take GreenEarth for example. GreenEarth is essentially a more environmentally-conscious and environmentally-friendly dry cleaning process; they license to dry cleaners all over Australasia, and they’re super keen on cutting down carbon emissions. They’re also very against the use of hazardous solutions in the cleaning process. That’s what we love to hear.
So, opt for eco dry cleaning if you can, and do a little research about your local stores.
08. How to fix any wears and tears in a garment
We all have good intentions, but accidents can, and definitely do, happen. Dog chewed a hole in your linen shirt? Been there. Accidentally popped a button off your deadstock jeans after eating one too many Tim Tams? Done that. Seriously, done that.
This is where learning to sew comes in handy (pun intended). For the smaller things like fixing a tear or sewing on a button, investing in a few sewing lessons, or even just watching a couple of YouTube videos, is extremely beneficial in prolonging the life of your garments.
However, if you’ve majorly damaged a garment and you aren’t a sewing prodigy, you could even consider supporting a local tailor by getting them to fix it for you. Or you could take it to grandma. Whatever works.
We've partnered with The Essentials Club to create a video version of how to re-attach a button, adjusting the length of a hem, and stitching up a rip. We hope you enjoy this handy little how-tow with our friend Maddy below.
09. How to care for clothes when you're lazy
Ok, this one's for all the corner-cutters out there (but hey, at least you're here and willing to learn). We love you.
Just to make things a little easier - Ethical Made Easy, right? - here are the main takeaways:
- Only wash what you can, when you need to. Air dry and spot wash clothes between full-blown washes.
- Try to hand wash in cold water. If you can’t, the next best option is to choose a delicate, cold wash cycle.
- Always try to wash similar colours and items together
- Take care of stains ASAP.
- Wash delicates in a lingerie bag.
- Consider investing in a guppy bag or a filter for your washing machine.
- Avoid harsh chemicals. Opt for eco-detergents.
- Line dry garments in the shade if it’s available to you.
- Do not twist or wring any of your clothes. Remove excess water by placing the garment in a towel and gently pushing down.
- Mend what you can or get a professional (ie., grandma), to do the rest.
- Opt for eco-dry cleaners.
We know this was a lot of info, but we promise you will reap the rewards if you do follow through. We want you not only to enjoy wearing your garments, but we also want you to keep them for a very, very long time, which is why we’ve put you through this slog of a read. We swear it’s all in the name of love. And in the name of garment care.