This Sustainable Sunday, our guest expert is Lulu O’Connor from Clothes Doctor. She and her lovely team have put together some tips for caring for your Smalls and increasing the longevity of favourite pieces in your wardrobe.
Clothes Doctor was founded in 2017. We are a platform to help people extend the life of their clothes by cleaning, protecting, repairing and altering, the way our parents and grandparents did.
Our belief is that, due to the rise of fast fashion, consumers across the Western World have lost touch with these important skills. There is so little information available on the possibilities for repairing garments, and care labels often default to ‘dry clean only’ as a catch-all for how to clean silk, cashmere, wool and many other fabrics.
With our products, services and advice, we help people reconnect with their clothing and love their wardrobe again.
We believe that every new garment should be a friend for life, not a one hit wonder; so we’re here to bring back the pleasure of giving new life to your clothes.
By extending the life of your clothes by 9 months, you can reduce their carbon, water, and landfill footprint by up to 30%.
"Merino wool happens to be one of my favourite materials – I’m a big fan of natural fibres for the sake of avoiding microfibre pollution, but also, I just love wearing wool for its soft and cosy but cool, and self cleaning properties. It’s just a dream!" - Lulu
1. STORE IT CORRECTLY
Merino wool is vulnerable to moth infestations and damage. This can be prevented with the correct storage techniques. We suggest storing your merino wool items folded in canvas or airtight bags, along with one of our Natural Fragrance Bags. These are super effective at deterring moths through a blend of lovely natural fragrances including lavender, patchouli and eucalyptus – all the things moths hate! For best results they need to be changed every 3-4 months. Every now and then, pop your merino wool items in the freezer as well to destroy any clothes moths, larvae, and eggs. Place your garment, still in the storage bag, in the freezer for at least 48 hours, and ideally up to 2 weeks if you have space in your freezer.
2. IF YOU REALLY NEED TO WASH IT
At Clothes Doctor we encourage hand washing when possible, however if needed, Smalls Merino garments can be washed just as well in the washing machine. If machine washing, use a mesh laundry bag to add protection to your favourite Merino wool pieces and prevent snagging. Use cashmere or delicates wash setting and pour our Eco Wash for Cashmere and Wool into dispenser.
Your other wool garments can be hand-washed at home with little time and effort, and just fabulous results, using our Eco Wash for Cashmere and Wool. This formulation is pH neutral, making it perfect to use on wool, it leaves your garments soft and plumped, and it contains real essential oils, which also deter moths. Read on for how to hand wash perfectly:
- Fill a basin with cool water and add 2-3 caps of our Cashmere and Wool Wash.
- Turn the garment inside out, gently submerge it and agitate the water with your hands to distribute the detergent and water. It is normal for a little dye to be released. Soak for up to 30 minutes.
- Rinse with fresh water until the garment is free from detergent (although no need to be too thorough as a little left in is good for the garment) and then gently press between your hands or against the sink.
- Absorb excess water with a towel and leave to dry flat on a towel.
Lightly steam clean suits and jackets made of Merino wool to refresh, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and remove odour (steam will remove 96% of bacteria). The steam will cause the fibres and fabric to swell providing a fuller and more colourful look. We suggest adding a dash of our Eco Wash for Cashmere and Wool to the water for a delicious lingering scent.
4. MEND IT
Did you know that extending the life of your clothes by 9 months, you can reduce their carbon, water, and landfill by up to 30%? So, if your favourite merino wool item has been ravaged by moths, the good news is: it can be repaired. We recommend repairing the hole as soon as you see it. If the damage is minimal and the hole is smaller than 5 millimetres, then you can use fusible bonding web to fix the hole. If the hole is larger, you can use a darning technique to mend the fabric by interweaving with a needle and thread. Grab a darning needle, a matching thread (if you’re looking for an invisible mend) or contrasting thread (if you want to add a pop of colour) and watch our tutorial on How To Darn.
If you are able to switch off from distractions, and fully engage, it is also a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, and increase feelings of calmness and wellbeing. Give it a go...we promise you’ll love it.