Look, we love GQ. It’s a constant source of inspiration and guidance, on everything from style to how-to’s to pop-culture. And they’ve covered an incredible amount on caring for your clothing, from fabric care symbol guides to some pretty cool laundry hacks to guides on how often to wash your clothing, all recommended readings.
But some crucial aspects of simply getting the most out of your clothing, treating it right, and lengthening its lifespan, have been missed. Everyone puts at least some time, effort, and money into their clothing, so knowing how to properly care for it to increase that lifespan is, in our mind, crucial information.
So, without further ado, we introduce some (easy) tips that are far too often overlooked when handling your garments. These tips will help you get the most out of your clothing for the longest time, save money on electric bills, and save you from replacing clothing sooner than necessary.
Favorite shirt? Let’s get another year out of you.
1) Before we get too far, let’s get the obvious out of the way
Read your clothing care labels on each garment. They’re quite literally there to tell you how to treat your clothing right.
Jeans are a special something all to themselves. Check out this denim guide
Rotate your clothing. We all have favorites. We wear them, wash them, put them back on top of the other clothes, guaranteeing we see them and wear them again sooner, wearing them out more quickly. So switch it up, put clean clothing on the bottom of the clothing stack (not to mention it will keep the bottom of the stack from getting musty).
You don’t need to wash every article after use (see GQ guide above). You can always freshen clothing items up with a little spray down of our universal fresheners, either in travel size or full sized. http://shop.freyformen.com/products/air-freshener
Avoid bleaching at (almost) all costs. It is extremely harsh on your clothing fibers and color.
2) Wash on Cold (Almost always. Seriously)
The reasons for this are numerous. Gizmodo wrote a great piece on the cost savings and global impact. Favorite quotes from this piece? If every household in the US switched to cold water, it would save the amount of electricity produced by the Hoover Dam in 20 months. Aside from the eco-friendliness of this, that’s money directly back into your pocket saved on electricity bills.
More than that, though hot water (and warm water to a lesser extent) is extremely harsh on clothing, damaging the fabrics, fading dyes, shrinking the fibers. Almost all day-to-day clothes are fine being washed on cold. It takes a rare circumstance, and a particularly dirty set of clothing, where another temperature should be used.
Now, this is partly dependent upon the detergent you use (see “Detergent Matters” below). But generally speaking, wash on cold.
3) The Detergent Matters
Full disclosure, we make an awesome laundry detergent (and other clothing care products) tailored to men (surprise). Amazing scent, designed to treat your clothing better, created to fit a modern lifestyle, what’s not to like? Check us out.
But seriously, the detergent absolutely matters, for a number of reasons
Some surfactants (the cleaning agents) are better at cleaning in cold water than others. Some detergents include gentle enzymes to also help the cleaning process. Cold water = good for clothing. Keep your eye out for cold-water capable detergents.
The detergent itself can damage your clothing.
A lot of the mainstream detergents include harsh chemicals that, realistically, over-clean your clothing, damaging it in the process. Whether they’re bleaches (or bleach-like substances), or extremely harsh surfactants (cleaning agents), or other chemicals, they can damage fibers, colors, and lead to quicker-than-normal wear.
Again, the detergent itself can damage your clothing (and potentially you).
Many mainstream detergents are also designed to leave chemical residues on your clothing (brighteners, whiteners, fluorescent agents) that play with the light hitting your clothing, to make it look brighter or whiter or cleaner. While this is a neat trick, your clothing is not any cleaner, and now you’re walking around with chemicals layered all over your clothing, that no one really knows the long-term health effects of. Also, these chemicals build up over time, not only increasing your exposure to them, but eventually fading your clothing and wearing down the fibers.
Did we mention....
...that FREY is cold-water capable, and eliminates these harsh chemicals, brighteners, and whiteners? It’s designed to be gentler on your clothing, cleaning it, while helping to lengthen its lifespan. Shameless plug? Perhaps, but also just the truth.
4) Wash on Delicate More
The delicate cycle, obviously, is gentler on your clothing, agitating less and leading to less wear and tear. Most garments are also fine being washed on delicate, unless the garments are particularly dirty (a lot of sweat, grime, stains, whatever). This is not quite as universal as washing with cold water, but generally, delicate is fine (again, with the right detergent).
5) Dry on Low More
By now we sound like a broken record, but drying on high heat not only takes exponentially more energy, but damages garments in the same way hot water does. And, typically, it doesn’t help the cleaning process at all.
Of course, it takes longer to dry the garments. We don’t recommend drying towels on low, you’ll be waiting for decades.
6) Obvious, and hopefully we don't have to say this, but keep yourself clean
If you stink, your clothes stink. If you sweat, your clothes get sweat stains. Clearly, live life to the fullest. But if you're going rock climbing, don't do it in your favorite pair of jeans. Maybe don't go motorcycle riding in a suit. And if you roll out of bed in the morning and skip the shower + deodorant, chances are way more likely your entire outfit should be washed, leading to extra wear and tear.
7) Use a mesh bag
Not essential, but it does help prevent snags when your clothing is in the dryer or washing, which absolutely destroy the clothing.
Pro-tip: Some hampers literally come with these, just a mesh bag, set inside the hamper much the same way a trash bag sits in a trash can, making your life incredibly easy.
8) Wash your clothes inside out
It's a fairly common tip, but often under-utilized. It's easy to do (just do it while you're getting undressed and leave them in the hamper inside out), but goes a long way in helping to prevent fading and extra wear experienced in the wash and dryer.
Well, that sums it up (for now). Paying attention to even just a few of these tips will help you get the most out of your laundry. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us! We’re simply an email away at email@example.com