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Never ruin a shirt again with The Dirt Company’s guide to doing laundry well

Photography By @thedirtcompany, Vidar Nordli Mathisen
Published 24.08.22

Picture this: it’s 8pm on a Tuesday and you’re in bed with a crisp set of sheets fresh from the clothesline, a steaming cup of tea and the new episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Sounds like heaven, right? But the thing that made this moment possible – actually doing your laundry – never really gets the credit it deserves. Learning how to launder properly is the least exciting part of becoming an adult, but it’s also one of the most important (especially if you want clothes to last more than one season). Which is why we’re dedicating a whole article to the ins and outs of washing.  

We’ve recruited Frankie Layton, the woman behind The Dirt Company, to help us navigate these soapy waters. Frankie launched the refillable detergent brand in 2016 as a circular alternative to disposable laundry products. Over the past three years, Dirt’s range of aesthetically pleasing glass dispensers and refill sachets have prevented over 50 tonnes of plastic from being produced.  

“We’re always on the lookout for ways to make less waste,” Frankie tells RIISE. Other than replacing single-use detergent and stain remover with reusables, her favourite low-impact laundry swaps are “to wash cold, avoid fabric softener (it’s not great for your clothes, machine or the planet), line dry as much as possible and wash less.”

“Another important thing to think about when trying to make your laundry low-impact is to think about your garments and shop with sustainability and longevity in mind.” (We can help with that part.) 

To celebrate Dirt’s arrival on RIISE Shop, we asked Frankie to share her expert tips for washing clothes in a way that is best for cleanliness, longevity and the environment. From figuring out if colours are friends to giving sheets the VIP treatment, these hacks will help you master the art of laundry day.  

@thedirtcompany

Tailor your temperature 

“We absolutely understand that it’s more environmentally friendly to wash with cold water and you absolutely can with Dirt. It’s also important to be balanced when washing clothes. 

Because we are an extremely high performing detergent, especially in terms of our stain removal, we recommend you wash lighter soiled loads in cold water, and anything that requires a bit of extra muscle at 40 degrees. 

“Warmer water helps most detergents (including ours) perform better. At 40 degrees, you will get optimal performance. At 20 degrees, you will have a reduced performance by an average of 15 per cent (it varies depending on the stain).” 

Go easy on the detergent 

“We get it: it’s super tempting to use more detergent than recommended. Despite what you may think, more detergent doesn’t give you a cleaner result. The amount of detergent you use in your machine should be in balance with the amount of water. 

“Using too much laundry detergent creates too many suds in your machine, which means that the fast actions designed to make the friction required to release grime will just result in a sloshy wash. If the machine can’t do what it needs to do to dislodge stains, they’ll just remain on your clothes.  

“If you’re using Dirt detergent, we typically recommend four pumps which is about 14 millilitres of detergent. This totally depends on the size of your load and the temperature in which you’re washing. For example, if you’re washing either a large load or are using cold water, we would recommend adding another pump (17.5 millilitres).” 

Yes, you really do need to separate your lights and darks 

“We would strongly recommend separating your clothes for the first two washes. Dyes should be set when you buy items but sometimes manufacturers don’t do this step and it can be particularly tricky; this is particularly true for natural dyes.  

“Warmer water will give dyes a better opportunity to leak – this is particularly true for our regular detergents due to their higher performance, so we would recommend washing on cold. Our wool and delicate detergent also has a redepositing agent to stop delicate dyes from redepositing onto other clothes.” 

Give towels and sheets the VIP treatment 

“Towels and sheets are super important – they are arguably two of the most used garments in everyone’s day-to-day. Some things to keep in mind when washing sheets:

1. Choose your detergent strategically (for example, if you’re washing linen try our delicate and wool wash). Your sheets are important and deserve the best.
2. Wash your sheets in their own VIP cycle – try not to mix them up with your everyday items. You can use a cold or warm wash cycle; this is totally up to you and your sheets.
3. When storing your sheets, you must make sure they are totally and completely dry before putting them away. Make sure they can breathe as well so they don’t get musty.  

“Towels are relatively the same, especially with storing. Feel free to use a more hardcore detergent such as our Advanced Wash. Acknowledge that your towel cleans your body, so it might need some extra work.

“When deciding how often to wash, towels should be around twice a week. Sheets should be washed around once a week or a fortnight – this is totally dependent on you and your sleep cycle; adjust accordingly if you find yourself to be a sweaty sleeper or aren’t always sleeping in your own bed ;).” 

Be patient with stains 

“Stains are always super tricky. In general, we recommend either spot treating stains with laundry detergent or using our stain remover or sometimes both. And repeating washes as necessary. We would also recommend not putting clothes into the dryer until you’re happy with how much of the stain has come out – using the dryer is a sure-fire way to set a stain forever.” 

@thedirtcompany

Remember to clean your machine 

“We would recommend washing your washing machine a couple times a year. A lot of machines nowadays have their own inbuilt reminders – do not ignore them!”

Dirt’s golden rules for longer lasting clothes:

1. Wash less – only wash when necessary.
2. Turn your clothes inside out before machine washing.
3. Wash your clothes with like-minded colours. Sometimes it is worth it to separate your whites and blacks.
4. Use low temperature where possible.
5. Pay attention to the fabric and the care instructions.
6. Avoid fabric softener.
7. Clean your machine.

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