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How To, Take Care of Your Fabrics


Lately, we’ve been seeking to care for our fabrics better, our home fabrics and upholstery, but specifically our clothing. Taking care of quality clothing requires products without harsh chemicals (often used in dry cleaning or conventional detergents) to keep garments from wearing down and ending up in landfills. We turned to Manchester based Abigail Brookes and Sebastian Collinge for their advice. Abi and Seb are the founders of Attirecare, a line of responsibly-made care products for garments, shoes, and home cleaning, and both have a background studying fashion and denim care in Amsterdam. Here, we ask Abi our most pressing questions on how to better care and extend the life of our clothing and fabrics.

What is your personal launder technique from start to finish?

I tend to wash pretty much everything on 30°C [a cold wash or about 80°F]. Everything gets air dried and I rarely use the tumble dryer. I seldom wash denim items, but when I do, I tend to hand wash them.

When, if ever, should you wash your clothing in hot water?

I only tend to use warmer water at 40°C [or about 100°F] on bed linens and lingerie, everything else is fine at 30°C or less.

Other than gym clothes and often-used basics like socks and things, how often should someone wash their clothes?

It varies from person to person, but I would say washing shirts every two or three wears, and anything that doesn’t have cloth skin contact can go much longer! Especially if you use a garment spray in between wearing. Over-washing makes our garments age pre-maturely and ultimately, unless things are stained, a full wash cycle isn’t always necessary.

When should fabric softener be used?

Fabric softener is great for towels, bedding, and delicate materials. If it’s a natural formula, it can be used to benefit all types of garments! I would steer clear of traditional softeners on gym clothes and swimwear, but a natural version is fine.

To dry clean or not to dry clean?

I like to dry clean certain things in my wardrobe, but mostly, hand-washing is fine. Just always read the label. There are lots of new methods of dry cleaning, too, so it’s always worth asking about those when trying a new place.

Tumble dry or line dry?

Line dry always! The scent from the cleaning products sticks to things much better if they’ve been left to dry outside, or alternatively, on a clothes horse inside the house with windows left open.

When a stain happens, what’s the first thing you do to treat it?

It’s all about catching it quickly. 99 percent of the time, if you get to it straight away, it’ll come right out.

Do you have a technique for keeping your whites white?​

Every now and then, I’ll add a dash of household bleach into my whites wash, along with a delicate wash detergent. I’m not sure if this is the correct method, but it works well for me.