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The best way to build a more sustainable wardrobe – apart from renting dresses and investing in ethical fashion brands – is caring for the items you already have, thus prolonging their shelf life and keeping them out of landfill.
So I thought I’d ask the experts for the best way to care for the most expensive items hanging in your wardrobe right now, from leather handbags to cashmere and denim. Steamery Stockholm’s CEO and Co-Founder Frej Lewenhaupt shares his ultimate clothing care tips.
What is the best way to store items in your closet? Is it per clothing item (eg, tops) or per material?
When it comes to storing and organising your clothes, we recommend folding your knitwear and pants to prevent them from losing their shape. Shirts, blouses, dresses and blazers can all be stored on hangers. If you want to keep your clothes fresh while storing them between seasons, we recommend using vacuum storage bags. Make sure to always wash your clothes before storing them. When you bring them out in time for the new season, use a steamer to freshen up your clothes and smooth out creases.
What’s the best way to care for leather handbags and jackets?
Leather is a very durable material, especially if treated with care. Give your leather handbags and jackets some extra love and treat them with a soft leather balm in a matching colour to the leather. Wipe off the leather with a wet cloth to open up the pores and clean it before you start. Massage a thin coat of balm into the leather with a cloth instead of your fingers to get an even result. Handles, sleeves and collars are areas that can benefit from some extra care and balm. Allow the balm to soak into the leather for a couple of hours and wipe off any excess before you use your jacket or handbag to avoid marks or dust sticking to the leather.
How to care for cashmere
Cashmere garments require less care than you might think since they are naturally antibacterial. It’s therefore good to have in mind that cashmere knitwear shouldn’t be washed too often. After using your garment, we recommend airing out your knitwear and spraying it with a fabric spray if needed. Steaming your knitwear will keep your garment fresh in between washes.
When washing cashmere, we recommend hand-washing since it’s a gentler process for the garment. You can also wash your cashmere garments in the washing machine, but make sure to choose a gentle cycle suitable for wool garments and to use an enzyme-free laundry detergent that nourishes the cashmere wool.
Our Delicate Laundry Detergent contains lanolin oil that cares for and protects the fibres, making them softer and giving them that extra lustre. When it comes to drying your cashmere garment it is best to let it air-dry on a flat surface, to prevent it from losing shape. You can also put the garment on a towel and roll the garment into the towel to press out the water very gently.
Lint and pilling on cashmere are often mistaken as indications that the garment is worn out. By shaving off pilling using a debobbler, your knits will appear as new again.
How to care for denim
Denim garments should not be washed often. Ideally, you should go months without washing them, in order for them to last longer. Wash your denim inside out, on a gentle cycle and on a low temperature. We recommend using a laundry detergent specially developed to preserve and care for your denim clothes and to let your jeans air-dry. It’s always a good idea to air out your denim as often as you can, steaming them in between washes, and spraying with fabric spray to prevent them from catching unwanted smells.
How to care for cotton
Cotton is a versatile fabric that readily absorbs moisture and helps regulate your body temperature, making it a popular material within the fashion industry. It has excellent washability and good durability. When washing cotton, make sure to always sort by colour and use a detergent made for coloured clothes and a separate detergent for white clothing. Wash your cotton garments on a low temperature to make them last longer.
How to care for silk
Silk is a very delicate fabric. Some silk garments even have to be dry cleaned, but far from all. We recommend hand-washing or using a delicate program on your washing machine. Use a detergent made for delicate fabrics and wash at 30°C. Steaming is preferred over ironing, since an iron might leave scorch marks on the fabric. Store your silk garments on hangers to prevent creases.
Any other tips we should know about?
At Steamery, we want to highlight the importance of slowing down in today’s fast-paced world. Most clothes never get worn out – they get washed out. Our best advice to prolong any garment’s lifetime is to do as little laundry as possible. It’s time to start taking care of what we already own, fixing what is broken and rejecting the idea that newer is always better.