How To Take Care Of Your Clothes P.1

I think the process of how garments are made can be interesting, most of the parts of the process are not shown to the public because it can be a bit boring for someone who isn’t very interested in fashion.


This process is very important for brands because it is not only about designing and manufacturing items, it also includes care instructions, quality control, and the viability of each item.

Picture Credits: Wix


In order to be able to sell a clothing piece, you must have a tag listing the garment details. These details vary within countries and regions, but the most important ones are:


a. Fiber Content: this will tell you what your garment is made of. It can help people with allergies, fiber restrictions for personal or religious reasons, and it can also help you make sure you are not getting scammed.

For example, if a garment is $12 dollars and on the name of the garment it says it is made out of silk, just because of the price tag you will know it’s not real silk, but if you want to be sure, check the fiber content. It can also help you know when an item is extremely overpriced, like paying $1,000 for a garment made out of 100% polyester.


b. Country of origin: where was this garment made. This one can be tricky, because in order for a product to be able to use a “made in___” only requires a percentage. This percentage will vary from country to country, and it can apply to both the supplies used to make the garment and the garment itself.

For example, a garment can say that it is “Made in the USA from French components” and the percentages can also be listed, for example, “Made 60% in UK” or “100% made in El Salvador”.


Some companies choose to tell you the percentage of origin of everything and some others will choose the majoritarian country and just say that it was made there.


In order to lower the costs and being able to put a higher tag price on some items, some brands will start the assembling process of said item in a very affordable place for example Indonesia, but only do 40% of the process and then finish the remaining 60% somewhere else. This allows them to use that last country as their country of origin and use a label that says “Made in Italy”.


This used to be a very common practice, especially among high-end brands, each country has its own labeling laws, and not following them can become a legal problem. If you want to read more about how Gucci, YLS, and Balenciaga had a problem with this you can visit one of my favorite blogs, The Fashion Law. You might like it as well if you want to know more about the legal side of the fashion industry works.



c. The manufacturer or dealer identity. Who made your item, it will usually just say the company name and their contact information



d. Care instructions. How to take care of your clothes and the reason why you clicked on this blog post!

The process of how they are made is very interesting to me. You would take a sample of each item you need to manufacture the garments and submit it to different tests. For example, if you are going to use a special kind of linen and metallic buttons on your garment, you would go through different steps to see which one is the most effective in maintaining the original garment. Like how cold or warm should the water be, can you bleach it, or dry clean it, etc.

If you are buying from a reputable retailer that usually sells to brands, the care instruction will already be included on their supplies.


Care instructions symbols meaning



I. Washing Instructions


The washing instructions tell you how to wash your item, machine wash, hand wash, or don’t wash. There is also a possibility that your garment is Dry Clean only, in that case, you can go to the final section of this blog post.



1. How to wash


Do Not Wash: This is for items that can’t be washed, usually, they are best suited for dry cleaning, or depending on the material you can use a cloth to remove stains and dirt.


Machine Wash: if there are no temperature instructions or lines under the symbol, it means that you can wash your garment at a regular temperature in a normal cycle.


Machine Wash Permanent Press: This is mostly for garments that are permanently shaped or wrinkle resistant. They should be washed on the Permanent Press cycle.


Machine Wash Gentle or Delicate Cycle: wash only on the gentle or delicate cycle to avoid damaging your garment.


Image Credits: Micah Lumsden


2. Heat level


Hot or warm water washes better than cold water but depending on the material different temperatures can damage or make the garment infective. For example, it can shrink, melt, or if the garment needs to be sanitized, washing it with cold water can be a health hazard. To indicate the temperature you will find either the temperature number or dots indicating how hot or cold the water should be.


Image Credits: Micah Lumsden


3. Bleach usage


Bleach as needed: you can bleach your garment as needed even with chlorine. If this is the case you will find either the triangle symbol or a triangle symbol with a CL inside.


Do not bleach: don’t bleach your garment, it will damage it.


Non-Chlorine only: you can bleach your garment as needed, but only with color-safe bleach.


Image Credits: Micah Lumsden


4. Hand Wash Instructions


This is for hand wash only items, these symbols will also be accompanied by a Wring or a Do Not Wring symbol.


Image Credits: Micah Lumsden



 

II. Drying Instructions

The way you dry your garment is as important as the way you wash them. Follow the drying instructions to ensure the safety of your clothes. There are two possibilities, air drying or using a dryer.


1. Air Drying


Hang Dry: Hang your garment to dry


Drip Dry: Hang your garment to dry while it is still wet, it will usually be accompanied by a Do Not Wring symbol.


Flat Dry: Dry your garment on a flat surface to avoid stretching.


Dry in the shade: Dry your garment away from the sunlight, it will also be accompanied by one of the other Air Dry symbols.


Image Credits: Micah Lumsden


2. Dryer Cycles


If your garment is Tumble Dry safe, you will either find a square or a square with a circle inside. And if that’s not the case, you will find the same symbols with and X across.


Image Credits: Micah Lumsden


3. Dryer Temperature


To indicate the right temperature, you will find a different number of dots. If the circle in the Tumble Dry symbol is black, it means that you can’t use heat, if that is the case you can use the “No Heat” or “Air Only” settings.


Image Credits: Micah Lumsden



4. More Settings


Just like with Machine Wash Cycles, you can use different settings indicated by lines:

No lines mean Normal cycle

One line means Permanent Press cycle

Three lines mean Gentle Or Delicates cycle.


Image Credits: Micah Lumsden


 

III. Ironing Instructions


1. Ironing Instructions


Iron normally: Iron at any setting, using steam or dry.

Do not iron: Do not iron your garment or Do not steam symbols.

Do not Steam: You can iron your garment without steam.


Image Credits: Micah Lumsden


2. Ironing temperature

The dots inside the Iron symbol will tell you the right temperature.

Image Credits: Micah Lumsden



 

IV. Dry Cleaning Instructions


1. Dry cleaning instructions


These are instructions for the Dry Cleaners, it will tell them how the garment needs to be handled.


Image Credits: Micah Lumsden


2. Solvent instructions

These are the solvent instructions, you will find either the Any solvent, Just Petroleum-Based Solvent, or any solvent except trichloroethylene symbols.


Image Credits: Micah Lumsden


 

I hope this guide was useful and look out for part 2 of How to take care of your clothes, I will be talking about closet essentials and tools you should have to ensure the safety of your garment.


You can also download this chart with the meaning of all symbols.


Image Credits: Micah Lumsden

MICAH

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