How to care for your delicates without dry cleaning
Tips from the team behind the LeIf x Jac + Jack laundry collection
On the days when the sun does come out (yes, we know it’s rare on the east coast of Australia right now), it’s the time of year to wash our knits and hopefully put them away until next year. While dropping them all off at the dry cleaners may seem like the easy option, spare a thought for the impact you’re having, both on the planet, and on your garments.
Petroleum solvents used in dry cleaning operations can release some toxic air pollutants and volatile organic compounds (VOC). It’s these same chemicals that are harmful to your delicate garments.
We asked the team behind the Leif x Jac + Jack Laundry range collaboration to share their tips on how they care for their knits and delicates.
What are your general care tips for delicates?
The life of a sweater can be extended by some simple home rituals. Pilling is a natural part of knitwear so we find using a de-pilling comb when needed (around once a year) can freshen your much-loved garment. Keep in mind that this is taking fibre away from your sweater so be mindful not to be overzealous. Often small pills can be removed by hand and with a gentle steam.
How often should we wash our knits / delicates?
Durable wool can be washed after approximately five wears, whilst more delicate materials such as cashmere and silk should be washed after approximately three wears. Dabbing any spills with a wet cloth should remove surface stains and airing them in indirect sunlight will help to lift surface odours.
Would you suggest airing on the line as an option before washing?
Airing in indirect sunlight every so often on a flat surface allows the fibres to breath naturally. This is a good option prior to washing to remove odours that are living on the surface.
When washing what are your tips for really looking after the garment?
We recommend washing by hand in cool water, applying a small amount of detergent, gently massaging the garment, and rinsing until it runs clear. Always follow the care instructions.
Wrap in a towel and squeeze excess water, then dry flat. A warm iron will work wonders, applying very little pressure and the result is just like new.
What are your tips for this change of season time when we start to put away our knits, how should we store them, what is your advice for cleaning / washing beforehand
We recommend giving your knits a cleanse prior to storing them away from winter and recommend following the process above.
Knitwear should be folded when stored as this relaxed state will ensure they don’t stretch or grow. Another trick is to keep a satchel of cedar wood chips to deter moths.
It can be so easy to just drop all our delicates at the dry cleaner, why shouldn’t we?
The fluid used at dry cleaners can be very caustic on fine wools and other natural fibres which can shorten their lifespan, causing them to lose luster and be susceptible to wear and tear.
With all precious things, delicates such as knitwear require a little more care and using the right laundry liquid means you’re halfway there. Spending just a little more time washing delicates by hand will prolong the life of your wardrobe.