Monday, August 4, 2014

Ditch the Dry Cleaning Chemicals

Over the years, humans have invented many things to make life more efficient to get full productivity out of each day. We've seen this in the invention of cars, in the way foods are packaged and sold, in the invention of cell phones, and in dry cleaning. The dry cleaners will clean those clothes that are better left out of the dryer, they'll starch and press your shirts, all at a nominal cost.

For years, my delicate silks, wools, and cashmeres were taken to the cleaners. And I put up with that awful chemical smell that just never went away. It almost seemed to get worse throughout the day. I always use deodorant, and no, the smell wasn't me. It was a chemical smell. I can only imagine what it was doing to my skin and my body, as I repeatedly inhaled it.

About eight months ago, I got 1) fed up with the costs, and 2) fed up with the chemicals. There HAD to be a better way! 

So, with a little research, I found a tutorial on how to wash a cashmere / wool sweater. The first tutorial I found was on YouTube, by two women. Turns out, they don't just do tutorials! They own a company out of NYC called The Laundress, which makes alternatives to dry cleaning. 

Yes, it's more time consuming. But just like eating organic, I know what goes into the cleaning process, and it's VERY doable (not to mention, WAY cheaper!). 

Here are my tools of the trade, but you can find more on The Laundress website. The site includes all of their tutorials, products, and tips for types of fabric you choose to wash. USE THIS RESOURCE if you're planning to do this in home, it's super informative!

First, I add white vinegar to a tub of cold water (always use cold), which helps with odors, like the campfire smell I recently got out of a wool sweater. After letting it soak for a few minutes, add the Wool / Cashmere wash, and let it soak no more than 30 minutes.  

Once you've soaked for the desired time, make sure you rinse well with cold water. Have your towels ready. I lay out one towel for excess water, then one towel to lay the sweater / blazer / dress onto when it's ready to dry.

Roll the towel up with the garment inside to squeeze out all the excess water. If you're doing a lot at once, you may need to dry the towel after 2 or 3 garments.

Lastly, lay your garment flat to dry. It may take at least a day, depending on the weight. Also, depending on weight, some things can be hung up to dry. Take the time to research what types of things can be hand washed (I've done wool, cashmere, silk, polyester). Also, remember to wash at your own risk (I hold my breath every time I try something new, but so far, so good!). Lastly, enjoy your beautiful clothes WITHOUT all those harsh chemicals.