Sustainability: how to make your clothes last longer with a clothes steamer

We’ve touched on how clothes steamers help the sustainability cause in the past, with the Steam to Sustain article for example.

But we need to delve in to this further.

Earth day 2023

Earth Day was held earlier this year.  EARTHDAY.ORG has now become the largest recruiter to the environmental movement—working with over 150,000 partners in over 192 countries to drive positive action for our planet.

Kathleen Rogers, President of EARTHDAY.ORG, said in a press release, “In 2023 we must come together again in partnership for the planet. Businesses, governments, and civil society are equally responsible for taking action against the climate crisis and lighting the spark to accelerate change towards a green, prosperous, and equitable future. We must join together in our fight for the green revolution, and for the health of future generations. The time is now to Invest In Our Planet.”

We know what you’re thinking. What has this got to do with clothes steamers?

EARTHDAY.ORG have this idea that we all yield the power and influence as not only individuals, but as consumers, voters, and members of a community that can unite for change. Therefore, we should never underestimate our power.

The official theme for Earth Day 2023 is ‘Invest In Our Planet’. Yes, it’s true that large companies and leading corporations should be leading the way here, but as Kathleen Rogers says, all of us matter with our own initiatives—paving the way for future generations.

That’s where Propress comes in! Steaming your clothes is the more sustainable way to look your finest.

Sustainability and clothing

In the Collins dictionary, ‘Sustainability’ is defined as ‘Avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.’

The fashion industry is one of the largest polluters in the world, just after the petrol industry.

It currently adopts a linear model of ‘take, make, dispose’, which is completely at odds with this definition of sustainability. ‘Sustainable’ fashion, then, must instead represent clothing that has been made (and maintained) in a way that is mindful of the many environmental issues the fashion industry faces.

According to an article in Earth.org, the number of times an item is worn has reduced by 36% in 15 years, with many items only being worn 7-10 times before being thrown out.

So if we can change our approach to clothing and instead focus on reducing, reusing, and recycling clothing items; we will have a positive impact on the environment.

Why steaming your clothes can help?

Here are four reasons why using a steamer can contribute positively towards the planet:

1. Steaming preserves clothes for longer compared to ironing. Let’s break this down. Ironing and steaming are two effective methods of removing wrinkles from your textiles, but they achieve this in different ways. Steamers use hot steam to remove the wrinkles, relaxing the fibres and allowing them to regain their natural shape. Steam irons use steam, heat and pressure and remove wrinkles by compress the fibres. Over time, this compressing destroys the fibre structures, causing elements such as stitching to break. Steaming preserves the fibres of the fabric by using a non-aggressive approach so clothes last longer, reducing waste.

2. Steaming means less washing machine sessions. Steaming clothes not only removes wrinkles but it also fights unpleasant odours and bacteria. Often a quick steam is enough to freshen the garment to use again. Since you do not have to wash your clothes as often when using a steamer, the lifespan of your garments gets extended. Not only that but you reduce the use of water, electricity, and cleaning chemicals; all areas that can harm the environment and the sustainability cause. With the growth of Vintage clothing, being gentle with clothes to extend their lifespan has never been more important. Washing clothes can also shrink clothes. If you have washed garments made of viscose or similar materials these may shrink a bit from the heat and movement in the washing machine. Steaming these materials will instead make the fabric swell and restore theur shape.

3. Less reliance on the dry cleaner. Dry cleaners use chemicals to treat clothes, which can be harmful to the environment. Steaming your clothes at home can delay (or avoid altogether) visits to the dry cleaner.

4. Steamers use less electricity than steam irons. In our ‘How clothes steamers save you money’ article we detailed how clothes steamers heat up faster and take less time.

Other ways to preserve your clothes

Airing

Airing your clothes overnight can help to remove odours and to make your garments feel fresh again.

Clothes refresher sprays

The range of offers on the market has grown rapidly, and for good reason. A refresher spray is a great way to add a fresh smell to your clothes after a steaming, and as mentioned above, an effective way to reduce trips to the washing machine.

Read the washing label

Make sure you follow the care label instructions. This can be one of the biggest reasons why clothes wear prematurely and end up in landfills. Make sure to sort clothes carefully by colour to prevent colour bleeding and choose a gentle washing cycle on the machine. By lowering the temperature, you will make your clothes last longer, and help the environment.

De-bobbling

Pilling is inevitable on well-loved clothes, and it can be easily managed with a fabric shaver.

Brushing

Use a lint brush to keep your clothes free from hair, dust, fuzz and dandruff. It’s a sustainable alternative to the tape roller. If you get hair, dust, or dirt on thicker garments like denim, cotton, outerwear, and home textiles we recommend using a clothing brush.