Your care label is trying to tell you something
Did you know that all garment manufacturers in Australia are required by law to attach a care label to each garment?
So if care labels are so important why do so many people ignore them?
One of the main reasons is a lack of knowledge about the properties of fabrics and fibres that make up the garments. Cotton, polyester, wool, nylon etc. are all individual fibres with different traits and behaviours so should not be treated in the same way.
Cotton, for instance, is very absorbent and can be washed in hot water. Polyester is anti-wrinkle but will shrink if you apply heat, Nylon is one of the strongest fibres but also doesn’t like heat.
This is where the care label comes in handy. Caring for your uniforms is actually quite easy if you follow the instructions for the best methods of washing, drying and ironing. The care instructions often also include warnings and things to avoid in order to not damage the fabric or garments. If you follow the instructions as best you can your garments will last longer, look better and continue to perform as intended.
The following are the most common do’s and don’ts:
Do not tumble dry
The majority of woven fabrics and trims such as fusing, interlinings and plastic or metal trimmings are not designed to continually spin in a heated capsule. A tumble dryer can not only deconstruct their intended state but the unnatural, continuous heat flow can also break down fibres, melt, shrink or warp zippers and remove coatings from trims like metal studs.
We therefore recommend avoiding artificial heat to dry your garments.
Use cold water
Cold water has been proven to sustain the longevity of fabric, buttons, zippers, fusings etc.
Washing your garments in higher temperatures can weaken their structure and inevitably reduce their durability and performance.
Washing in cold water is especially important for fabrics containing man-made fibres such as polyester, acrylic and nylon since heat can cause them to shrink.
Use mild liquid detergent
Mild liquid detergent is gentle and works well in promoting the longevity of the garments.
Some powdered washing detergents contain ‘active enzymes’ which are based on bleaching agents. Although these detergents may look like any other washing powder, these active enzymes can easily damage or discolour fabrics and trims.
Do not bleach
Bleach is a potent chemical that can be not only hazardous to fabrics but to your health as well. Fumes from bleach can cause irritation, especially in children, while mixing bleach with other common household chemicals, such as vinegar and ammonia can produce deadly results.When washing garments, we strongly recommend to avoid bleach in any format; diluted, undiluted, or as an active enzyme. It can damage and discolour fabrics and trims, and can turn white fabrics grey.
Do not soak
Soaking your clothes in non-agitated water for a long period of time can create serious damage. Soaking can cause colour fading as well as alter the shape and fit of the garments. We recommend that soaking be avoided as much as possible.
Dry in shade without delay
When clothes are left in a damp state for a prolonged period of time, several unpleasant things can happen. Colours can run onto other garments, wrinkles become more set and harder to remove and fabrics can get stretched or misshaped. This is why it is important to take your clothes out of the washing machine as soon as the cycle is finished and immediately hang them to dry in the shade, to avoid colours fading from direct sunlight.
Cool iron on reverse in required
Firstly what exactly is a cool iron?
A cool iron is an iron that is on a very low heat setting or an iron that has cooled down to a low temperature.
Some fabrics, especially those made with polyester, nylon, acrylic and Elastane, have a low tolerance to heat. When too much heat is applied these fabrics can turn shiny or even melt altogether. As a precaution we recommend ironing on the reverse side of the fabric or placing a slightly damp cloth between the garment and the iron.
Now that you understand more about fabrics and how to care for them, it will be easier for you to take care of your clothes. The bottom line is that the more you listen to your care label, the better your work uniforms will look, feel and last.
If you enjoyed this article or found it useful please feel free to share it. If you have any other uniform related questions get in touch.