There are lots of ways your family can support eco-friendly practices, and a great way is through purchasing organic clothing. This clothing is not only better for us as consumers… it’s better for the ecosystem as a whole. But, if you’ve recently ordered a bunch of organic baby clothes, you might be wondering how to take care of them. You’ve gone through the effort and extra cost to buy safer clothes… you certainly don’t want to ruin them by using the wrong products or laundering procedures.
How to wash organic baby clothes – Where to start?
When washing your organic clothes, the safest, greenest route is always hand-washing clothes in cold water with a gentle detergent. That being said, some of us would much rather have our wisdom teeth pulled than hand-wash multiple loads of laundry. So, if you want to use your washing machine, first check the label, and if machine-washing is an option, just take a few precautions before diving in.
Is your washing machine clean?
If you have been using harsh detergents in your washer, run it while it’s empty to get rid of any residue…any trace can damage your clothes! When you feel like you’ve got a clean slate, wash your organic clothes on the gentle cycle with cold water and gentle detergent. You may want to add a quarter of a cup of vinegar to the wash, which will help set the colors. Even when using that safety measure, always wash lights and darks separately, just like your mum taught you. Skip the fabric softeners, and definitely stay away from bleach. All of the chemicals that are in standard laundry products are not only pollutants, but can ruin the natural dyes in your clothing, which are more delicate than the synthetic dyes used in conventionally-produced clothes. If there is a print on the garment, wash it inside out.
Air drying or dryer?
After you’ve successfully washed your clothes, be careful…you can still do a lot of damage in the drying phase. Air-dry when possible, using a clothesline or drying rack. If using a dryer, dry on the lowest setting possible… if your dryer has an “air dry” cycle, always use that to machine-dry your organic clothes. Because chemicals are not used to provide ant-shrinkage and color-fixing properties, high heat will likely cause shrinkage and fading. If you’re trying to prevent static sling, forgo the chemical-laden dryer sheets, and add a rolled up piece of aluminum foil to the dryer.
Stains and hard to get out colours
As for stains, you’ll definitely want to treat those ASAP, preferably right after the stain appears. Place a colorfast cloth behind the fabric to absorb the stain, and using ice-cold water, gently pat the spot. If the stain needs some extra coaxing, rub it directly with an ice cube, while still holding the cloth behind the garment. There are several natural remedies for tougher stains- baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice- but it’s hard to tell how fabric is going to react to these items, especially when there is natural dye involved. You might want to take your clothes to a reputable, eco-friendly professional cleaner if you have any doubts.
Organic clothes are a great investment, and with a little TLC, they’ll last a long time. By simply following label instructions and focusing on gentle laundering techniques, those precious garments will stay just as soft and cozy as the day you bought them. So, don’t be intimidated by these unique clothes…just be kind to them, and they’ll be kind to you!