I have a confession to make: I like my jeans to be so fitted, so snug, that often, I end up washing them after every wear.
I know, I know, it’s bad. I know it’s bad – not because I am a fabric whizz with nuanced knowledge on how to care for my clothes properly – but because my jeans just end up fading really, really quickly. Alas, I know I must be doing something wrong.
Vanessa Cranfield knows all about my denim dilemma, and all the things I should be doing instead. As the owner of South of the Border – a fashion label that’s all about the detail – and as someone who has studied costume, Vanessa is well-versed in how A) looking after your clothes properly means you will probably have them forever and B) a good washing machine is everything.
So I put the question to her: How do I look after my clothes properly? How do I make sure I am not spending half my pay packet on a leather jacket, only to ruin it with my own ignorance?
Vanessa explains that generally, looking after your clothes properly is one of the most underrated ways to save money and help the environment.
“Correct care of your favourite clothes ensures they will stay looking new and fresh and you should have them in your wardrobe for seasons to come,” she tells Mamamia.
"It is important not to wash your clothes every single time you wear them - overwashing isn’t great for the planet and minimises the amount of wear you get out of your clothing. Air them and hang them straight up after each wear."
Vanessa says it's helpful to know if your machine has something called a vapour cycle, which refreshes your clothes without putting them through a full wash cycle.
How to care for silk.
Caring for silk totally depends on the kind of silk you have, Vanessa says. For example, some silks really shouldn't be washed, and in that case, you could always use a vapour cycle or dry clean it once or twice a season.
For those that can be washed, she suggests not falling victim to the common cliché that handwashing is better than anything else.
"The best way to care for most silk garments is to wash them on a gentle cycle in a good front loader, using warm water," she advises. "A good front loader is actually gentler than hand washing as it just sloshes the garment, whereby if you hand wash, you are inclined to wring."
How to care for denim.
For obvious reasons, my ears pricked up when came to finding out how to stop screwing up perfectly good pairs of denim jeans.
"I always wash and hang my denim to dry inside out to ensure that their perfect wash stays that way. The first time I wash denim, I always wash them separately just in case. It is important not to wash your denim every single time you wear them...air them and hang them straight up after each wear.