An important, yet often overlooked, facet of ethical and sustainable fashion is garment care. All of the clothing we purchase should be handled as carefully as possible to increase longevity, and to create as little microfiber waste as possible. The following is the Idlewild Care Guide, which will walk you through our favorite processes for caring for our own clothing from start to finish! Some methods are tried and true, while others have been influenced by our favorite laundry care brand, The Laundress.
Sort items by fabric/weight/care label instructions:
Similar fabrics will usually call for similar care. Washing delicate garments with heavy garments may lead to piling and stretching, shortening the lifetime of a garment.
Sort fabrics by color:
To prevent dye transfer from ruining other garments, further sort garments of certain fabrics into whites, lights, darks. Be sure to consider any dyed fabrics that may cause dye transfer. To test a garment take a damp rag and lightly rub an inconspicuous spot on the garment. If color transfers to the rag it is best to wash with similar colors or on its own!
Stains should be pre-treated for many reasons. If a stain does not come out the first time it could require a second cleaning, which ages a garment. Some stains will set when washed if they do not lift through the first wash. The Laundress offers a brilliant wash and stain bar and stain brush for all your pre-treating needs!
Flip garments inside out and/or use mesh bags (unbutton buttons, zip zippers):
While this is not a step that is totally required, for extra care you may turn pieces inside out to protect the outer layer of fabric from snagging or piling. Next, buttons on shirts should be unbuttoned to prevent holes from stretching. Zippers should be zipped to prevent zippers from snagging other fabrics. Another alternative is mesh bags, which are highly recommended!
Read labels, and begin washing (or hand washing!):
Cool water is more gentle on fabrics and dyes, and uses less energy than hot water! However, certain stains will occasionally require a different temperature setting. Hand Washing Tip: Do not wring out clothing that you are hand washing. Press excess water out of garments.
Air drying is the most gentle method and ultimately leads to longer garment life. Heavy garments, such as sweaters, respond best to being reshaped and laid flat to dry, denim does well when hung to dry. Lighter, knit items can hang dry as well. Use your own discretion, and double check labels, whether air drying or utilizing the dryer!
Follow care labels when ironing or steaming, or turn to this handy crease release.
Always work tools in one direction. Electric depillers are not recommended as they can catch and cut holes in fabrics! We highly recommend the Sweater Stone by The Laundress. It has worked beautifully for all our garments.
If storing clothing, be sure items are washed or spot cleaned. Odors and stains left on clothing will attract moths, rodents, and other pests. We recommend folding and storing in cotton or linen, zipper bags.
Brand Highlight—PLEATS PLEASE: If you know us you know we LOVE Pleats Please! The ultimate every day, every occasion, and every scenario pieces. Pleats Please garments are very low maintenance but do require specific care. We recommend hand washing (or gentle machine wash in mesh bag) in cold water with a gentle detergent (either Le Labo Rose or Signature Detergent are our favorites), rolling excess water out with a towel, reshaping and laying flat to dry. PP stores best and retains its wearability when treated in this order:
- Gather in the direction of the pleats
- Gently twist, and fold
- Store folded in a drawer or cotton garment bag.
Garment Highlight—MOTHER DENIM: We want your cherished Mother Denim to last as long as possible! When cared for as follows your denim will maintain its integrity. Turn the garment inside out, zipped and buttoned. Wash cold with gentle denim detergent on a normal wash cycle with similar fabrics and colors, finish with a low spin cycle. Hang to dry or lay flat to dry.
Wash your garments as sparingly as you can! To help with this effort, we recently stated stocking 2 fabric refresh items: Fabric Fresh and Delicate Spray. Whenever possible, we recommend spot cleaning over a full cleaning. The Laundress offers an array of products that we stock at Idlewild to assist you in spot cleaning!
Caring for your garments, whether investment pieces or basics, is part of a much larger and more thoughtful process! We encourage you to take the same care caring for garments as you do while purchasing them, to give them the long and loving life they deserve! If you ever have questions about how to care for a garment, ask away!