Getting Ready for Fall – Laundering and Mending Your Woolens

Though you may not be feeling the chill in the air just yet, fall and winter are coming. This means it’s time to pull out your cozy woolens and get them ready for wear!

We recommend laundering your sweaters at the end of each spring, before you pack them away for the summer. This cleans them of any oils from your skin and makes them less palatable to moths and other fibre loving insects. However, if you’ve missed that step, there’s no time like the present to launder your woolens.

Fill a basin with tepid water and add a capful of Eucalan or the contents of a single use pod. Add your sweater and let sit for 20 minutes, then remove your sweater, gently squeezing to release excess water. You don’t want to wring your sweater – this will only pull it out of shape.  Wrap it in a clean, dry towel and press gently to release more water. Lay flat to dry on another clean dry towel, gently pressing into shape, and dry away from heat and direct sunlight.

If you washed your sweaters before packing them away for the season, now is the perfect time to pull them out and freshen them up for wear!  To get rid of creases and reblock your sweaters for wearing, you can skip the full wash and just spray block your sweaters by lightly misting them with a spray bottle filled with a dash of Eucalan and cool water. Then press your sweater gently into shape and let dry.

De-Pilling

Given enough use and wear, even the nicest sweaters and woolens will start to have little balls of fiber appear. Pilling occurs when loose fibres push up from the fabric, eventually gathering in small balls – simply washing and wearing can cause this! You can remove these pills using a variety of tools: a Sweater Stone, a Gleener, or a fabric comb. We have a great video that demonstrates how to de-pill a sweater.

Mending

Even with the best care, sweaters and other woolen items may develop holes over time. With a little creativity and ingenuity, you can mend these items and continue wearing them! If you find a defect along a seam, or while you still have some of the original yarn used in the project in reserve, you may be able to mend your item invisibly. If neither of these are an option, however, you may consider visible mending.  

Visible mending is a new hot trend where you repair your garment using bright, fun colours or designs so that the mending itself becomes a feature of the garment. We found this great photo collection of mending for knit sweaters by Collingwood-Norris Design.

Interweave also has a couple of useful posts on visible mending. The first post has some tips and tricks on how to visibly mend your garments, though they focus on a pair of jeans rather than a sweater. The second post focuses on spinning yarn for visible mending. Either way, the steps are fairly similar:

  1. Gather your tools. You will need: sharp scissors, a tapestry needle, yarn or thread (various colours and weights depending on the yarn used in the garment), a flat surface for working, DPNs (double pointed needles) in the appropriate size for picking up stitches.  
  2. Lay your work out flat. Make sure you’ve got your garment laid out flat on a working surface in front of you. The garment shouldn’t be held taut, but rather laid out how you would block it. Isolate the areas in need of mending.
  3. Pick up stitches and trim loose threads. You want your working area to be clean and neat. Where possible, pick up stitches using your DPNs to stabilize the stitches from dropping further and making the hole growing bigger. Trim any long threads that might get in your way while you are working; shorter threads can be trimmed after you mend.        
  4. Decide on your mending process and start mending. There are a variety of ways to mend holes in garments. If you are picking up stitches on a fraying edge, you may wish to reknit that section. If you are darning a hole in an elbow, you may wish to weave a patch using needle and thread, much like you would darn a sock. Or you may choose to embroider the edges of the hole, or over the hole completely if it is small. If you’re looking for more resources on visible mending ideas and stitches there are a variety of books on Amazon as well as an article in one of the recent Mason-Dixon Field Guides, and the inspiring Tom of Holland’s The Visible Mending Programme.                                     
  5. Weave in and trim your ends. Once you have finished mending, you want to weave in your ends. This includes some of those shorter ends from the beginning, if you haven’t already worked those into your mending. Make sure everything is snug and secure so nothing pulls loose later on.      
  6. Launder your garment.  When you’re done, you may wish to launder your garment again. Fill a basin with tepid water and add a capful of Eucalan or the contents of a single use pod. Add your sweater and let sit for 20 minutes, then remove your sweater, gently squeezing to release excess water. You don’t want to wring your sweater – this will only pull it out of shape.  Wrap it in a towel and press gently to release more water. Lay flat to dry, gently pressing into shape, and dry away from heat and direct sunlight.

Photo credit: Interweave Magazine, Mending the Year: 3 Tips for Darning Well

If you’re looking for more details on getting your sweaters ready for fall, you can check out our previous post on Caring for your Handknit Sweater.

We hope this post has helped you get excited for fall and for wearing your warm woolens again!

Keeping your Lingerie Fresh

Each August, we turn our attention to the Curve Expo shows in New York and Las Vegas. Curve is the hottest industry show to see all of the new lingerie and swimwear trends for the coming year. Unfortunately we aren’t able to attend this year’s shows, but we’re eagerly anticipating news and photos from each one. Now seems like a great time to revisit how to keep your lingerie fresh and in good condition with Eucalan.

Summer is hot and sticky and you may find yourself needing to launder your lingerie more frequently – in fact, we recommend hand washing after every couple of wears, especially during this time of year.

First, fill your sink or a basin with cool water adding one capful of Eucalan (or the contents of a single use pod) while the water is running. Put your bra in the sink and lightly agitate, ensuring that the article is totally submerged and wet. Let everything sit for about 10 minutes, then gently remove it from the water. There’s no need to rinse with Eucalan!

Gently squeeze your bra, being careful not to wring it – especially if there is an underwire or padding as this will potentially result in a misshapen bra. Have a clean, fluffy towel handy and gently roll your bra in the towel to absorb excess moisture. Then hang it up to dry; a good method is to fasten the hooks and clasps and hang the bra to dry with both straps on the hanger. Remember to dry away from direct sunlight and heat. Your shower rod is the perfect place to dry your garments.

We even have a great video showing you how easy the process is!

You may wish to machine wash your bras, although we never recommend drying them in the dryer as it will lessen the life of your elastic and result in misshapen padding every time. To machine wash, fasten the hooks and clasps and place your bra into a mesh lingerie bag. Select the delicate cycle of the washer and add a capful of Eucalan, or the contents of a single use pod. Dry your bra using the methods described above.

We recommend the same methods described above for your other undergarments as well.  Underwear, slips and any lingerie, hosiery or loungewear can be washed in Eucalan (we recommend Wrapture, which is lightly scented with jasmine) and then hung up or laid flat on a drying rack to dry away from direct sunlight and heat.  

We hope these tips help keep your undergarments cool and fresh in the summer heat!

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Caring for Summer Beachwear with Eucalan

It’s summertime, and whether you’re heading to the beach or staying poolside, you can keep your swimwear and towels in great shape by keeping them laundered with Eucalan.

Swimsuit Care

To keep your swimsuit looking fresh you should wash it after every use with your favourite scent (try our Lavender, Jasmine and Grapefruit scents for their naturally antiseptic properties).  Whether you stock a bottle at home, or keep our single use pods handy, Eucalan makes it easy to remove oils, lotions and chlorine from your suit at home or on vacation. Follow these easy steps to ensure a clean-smelling suit every time.

Step 1: Fill a sink or basin with tepid water (room temperature).

Step 2: Add either a capful of Eucalan or the contents of a single use pod.

Step 3: Add your swimsuit and soak for 15 minutes.

Step 4: Remove your swimsuit and gently squeeze out water (do not wring). You may also wish to roll in a towel and squeeze again to remove excess water.

Step 5: Hang suit to dry overnight.

For more information on swimsuit care you can also check out this article over at Lingerie Journal.

Towel Care

But what about those sandy or chlorinated towels? Eucalan can also be used in your washing machine to keep fluffy beach towels looking bright and smelling sweet.

Step 1: Add Eucalan to your washing machine (if it’s a front load machine, add it to the fabric softener drawer).

Step 2: Select the Delicate cycle and tepid water.

Step 3: Load your towels into the machine and start cycle.

Step 4: Allow the towels to spin out.

Step 5: Dry your towels in the dryer on low heat.

We hope these tips will keep your trips to the beach, lake or pool carefree and easy.

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Summer Stain Removal Guide

Summer is a fantastic time for getting outside and enjoying all that the season has to offer, but it also means a fresh round of potential stains- grass, dirt, mustard, ketchup- all ready to wreak havoc on your light, bright summer clothes! But don’t worry, we’ve put together a post on the best way to remove the most common summer stains: barbecue sauce, mustard and ketchup, grass, dirt and mud, berries, and chocolate ice cream.

We recommend keeping our stain treating towelettes on hand for just these sort of summertime stains – being able to treat the spot quickly can go a long way to keeping a stain from setting into fabric permanently.

Summer Sauces: Mustard, Ketchup, and Barbecue Sauce

Rinse fabric with cool water immediately, and treat the area with either a Eucalan stain treating towelette, or dab the spot with full strength Eucalan delicate wash. Let the spot sit with the Eucalan on it for about 15 minutes, then rinse well, scrubbing the spot. Repeat as necessary until the spot is removed, then launder item according to its care instructions.

Grass, Dirt and Mud Stains

This one can take time to fix, but is well worth it. Soak the fabric in cool water, and apply full strength Eucalan to the stain. Let sit for 30 minutes, then scrub the spot. Repeat steps as necessary until spot is removed, then launder the item according to care instructions.

Berry Stains

A swift response – and then patience!-  is key when tackling berry stains, although sometimes we don’t see them until the meal is over and the mark has been sitting on the fabric for hours. Don’t panic – place stained area over a bowl and pour boiling water through until stain disappears (use caution on wool). Then launder according to fabric care directions with Eucalan.

Chocolate Ice Cream

Flush with warm water, then apply either a stain treating towelette to the spot or full strength Eucalan. Let sit for 15 minutes, and then rinse with warm water. Repeat the steps again if necessary, then launder item as usual.

Looking for more stain fighting tips? We have a post all about getting rid of common party stains here.

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Caring for Embroidery Pieces

You love your embroidered treasures- table linens, cloth napkins, a stitched pillow cover…. but when they start to look like they need to be freshened up, you don’t know where to begin. Stitches can be very delicate and easily snagged on other things, and you can’t just throw them in the washing machine. How do you take care of embroidered items, both new and old?

We have a step by step that will show you exactly how to take care of all your embroidered treasures! Read on for all the info.

Step 1: Assess & Treat Spots

Take a good look at the item- if there are any obvious marks, pretreat the spots with a Eucalan wipe, or add some undiluted Eucalan directly to the marks. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.

Step 2: Washing

Fill your sink, bucket, or large bowl with cool water and add one capful or one pod of Eucalan in the scent of your choice. Add as many items as will comfortably fit, and let soak for about ten minutes, lightly agitating the water. If they have some stubborn spots that have not been set with an iron already, let soak for an hour. If the fabric can handle it, gently scrub with a cloth or a soft bristled toothbrush. **Only the fabric portion, never the actual embroidery threads!**

Then remove from the water (no need to rinse with our no-rinse formula!) and gently squeeze out extra moisture. Roll the items in a towel one at a time, and then lay flat to dry away from heat or light (which  could cause shrinking or discolouration).

Step 3: Assessment- the Sequel

Take a good look at the items once they are dry. If there are still any spots, repeat the washing and pre-treating process (steps 1 and 2).

Step 4: Ironing

Once you feel that they are looking their best, iron them. Make sure the surface of your iron is clean, and use a spray bottle to spray the fabric surface to ensure a smooth finish. Adjust heat settings as necessary for moving between cotton, linen, and synthetic. Be extra careful with lace sections and embroidery. If your piece has any applique, use a light heat setting, in case the applique is made from polyester or other man-made fabrics. We recommend using a white pressing cloth to protect delicate fibres.

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How to Wash a Wool Blanket

Did you know that wool can last  more than 20 years, provided it is well cared-for? The classic wool blanket is a winter staple for any home, but at this point in the year, yours probably needs a little TLC.  There’s no need for an expensive trip to the dry cleaners: you can wash your blanket safely and easily by using Eucalan in the washing machine! Today, we’ll show you how to wash an organic wool blanket from Shepherd’s Lamb, a working family ranch located in New Mexico whose flock provides the fleece for their heirloom-quality woven blankets.

Lanolin is a naturally-occurring waxy substance which coats a sheep’s fleece, which is often removed when processing the fibres. The lanolin in our no-rinse formula naturally conditions wool fibres to keep them supple while also reducing static.  We recommend our Eucalyptus or Lavender scents, which are both scented with essential oils that are naturally antiseptic and moth-repellent.

Before washing your blanket, it’s important to remove soils and stains as soon as possible, either by pre-treating with a Stain Treating Towelette or spot treating with full-strength Eucalan  where needed.

Then, follow the instructions below for the type of washing machine you have:

Top Loading Machine:

  • Set your washing machine to delicates.
  • Fill drum with cool water.
  • Add 4 Tbsp Eucalan for a large blanket.
  • Submerse blanket and run through gentle/handwash cycle (tip: try adding a few towels to balance out the load!).
  • Hang blanket to dry thoroughly.

Front Loading Machine:

  • Place blanket in drum.
  • Set to delicate cycle with cool water.
  • Add 4 Tbsp Eucalan to detergent compartment in drawer.
  • Run cycle.
  • Hang blanket to dry thoroughly.

We recommend washing your blankets a few times throughout the winter, and also before packing them away for the season. Do not pack away a damp blanket – make sure it is fully dry before storing, and be sure to use air-tight containers to keep out unwanted pests, and when you unpack them from storage, always examine your blankets for small holes which can be a sign of moths (click here for tips on dealing with these unwanted pests).

With proper care, you’ll enjoy the warmth and durability of your wool blanket for years to come!

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How to Care for Your Sports Bras

Depending on how frequently you work out and how many sports bras you have, your sports bras will need to be replaced every 1-2 years. But with proper care, you can help extend the life and shape of your sports bras to maximize their performance and ensure they last as long as possible.

It’s best to have a few  that you can rotate through, as they need to be washed after each wear and the more sports bras you have, the less wear and tear on any one bra. We also recommend using a natural detergent like Eucalan, as harsh chemicals can have adverse effects on technical fibres and cause faster deterioration.

You will know it’s time to replace your sports bras if:

  • Your weight has changed by more than 5 pounds
  • The fabric no longer feels as snug and supportive as it did when it was new
  • It is moving around too much when you are working out

Considering how expensive sports bras can be, you will want to do everything possible to take good care of them. Here’s the best way to wash your sports bra to ensure it will stay like new for as long as possible!

Important! No matter which way you choose to wash your sports bras, always wash them after each wear to remove sweat and odours.

Hand Wash/Sink Method

For hand washing, add one capful (or one pod) of Eucalan in the scent of your choice to the water. Submerge your sports bra (or bras), and let soak for ten minutes.  We recommend Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lavender or Wrapture (scented with jasmine) for their naturally-occurring antibacterial benefits, as they are made with pure essential oils. Gently agitate the water, and then drain the water. Don’t wring the fabric, gently roll the sports bras in a towel to help absorb the excess water, and lay flat to dry away from heat and direct sunlight.

Washing Machine Method

Set your washing machine to cold – hot water can contribute to fabrics shrinking, and speed up the breakdown of technical fibres like spandex!  If your sports bras have small straps on them, use a mesh lingerie bag to prevent the straps from getting tangled or caught in the machine. Add one pod or a capful of Eucalan in the scent of your choice to the washing machine.  Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lavender or Wrapture (scented with jasmine essential oil) have naturally-occurring antibacterial benefits, and are a great choice. When the spin cycle is complete, lay your sports bras flat to dry away from heat and direct sunlight.

P.S. – If it’s been a while since you last cleaned your yoga mat, we have a post showing  just how to do that, too!

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How to Care for Shearling

Shearling requires a little bit of TLC to keep them looking brand new. Those wonderful Sheepskin rugs, shearling coats, and even Ugg boots are all so deliciously soft, but when you get them for the first time, it can be tough to know what to do.  But we have you covered!

Eucalan is recommended for washable sheepskins and furs. The tanning process determines whether the skin is washable or not. If you wash a skin that is not washable, the hide will become brittle and you will not be pleased with the results.

To determine if a skin is washable, check for a care label, contact the manufacturer or retailer you bought the skin from, or cut off a small piece of the skin and place it in water for a short time. Allow it to dry away from direct heat or sunlight. Once dry, if the skin is pliable and the fur/wool does not pull out and looks good, you can go ahead and wash the whole skin.

Most of the time, you can spot clean spills or specific marks that appear on your item. This technique works on shearling boots, too! To spot clean:

  1. Dab a small amount of full strength Eucalan delicate wash in the scent of your choice onto the spot.
  2. Wipe in the same direction as the sheepskin with a damp cloth, until the spot disappears.
  3. Blot any excess moisture with paper towels.
  4.  Lay out your rug or boots, or hang your coat to dry away from direct light or heat.
  5. Once the sheepskin is dry, brush gently with a soft bristled brush.
  6. If the shearling or sheepskin has a longer pile, shake it out to restore the fluffiness.

Thanks to Sprout Natural Parenting for the great photo!

Sometimes, you will need to wash the entire item due to normal dust and dirt, a really big spill, or perhaps it’s starting to look a bit grimy. Here is how to wash your sheepskin/shearling:

  • Fill washing machine (or bathtub for really large items) with water, then add Eucalan.
  • Soak for 1 hr, squeezing soap and water through item from time to time.
  • If the item is really dirty, repeat the process.
  • Spin to remove excess water and lay over a rack or rail to dry away from direct heat.
  • When nearly dry, give it a good shake.
  • May take 2-3 days to dry.

You can also wash your shearling boots the same way described above, and will no doubt contribute to them looking like new for a lot longer!

These tips will help keep all your shearling and sheepskin products looking great, but if you are concerned about a dark stain or a lot of dirt, it is worth taking the item into a professional cleaner. Many cleaners offer wet cleaning services and may also use Eucalan!

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How to Remove Common Party Stains

It’s that time of year- ramping up for party season! Fall brings more family gatherings, Thanksgiving, and the never-ending carousel of holiday parties won’t be far behind. Here we’ve put together a review of the best way to remove the most common party stains: Red wine, oils (olive, avocado, safflower, etc.), candle wax, coffee and chocolate.

Read on, and you’ll be prepared for anything at your next party!

Red Wine

Sprinkle salt liberally over the red wine mark , as much as needed to help absorb the wine. When as much is absorbed as possible, vacuum up the salt and pour club soda over it to help dilute the remaining wine. Then apply full strength Eucalan to any remaining marks, and let sit for 15 minutes. Wash item as normal.

 

Oils

Blot the oil immediately with a paper towel, and sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch onto the remaining oil mark and let sit. In the morning, apply full strength Eucalan to the remaining oil mark, and let sit for 15 minutes. Then wash item.

Candle Wax

Let the wax dry completely before trying to clean it. Apply an ice pack to make sure that the wax is completely solid before beginning to remove it. Remove as much wax as possible by scraping it with a butter knife. Get two paper bags, and place one underneath the fabric and another on top of it- you will be using a clothes iron to remove the rest of the wax. Gently iron the area with the wax on it repeatedly, moving the paper bags around so that any wax that transfers from the fabric to the paper bags isn’t being reapplied to the fabric again.

Coffee

Blot spill immediately until no more colour is coming away on a cloth or paper towel. Apply full strength Eucalan directly to the remaining coffee marks, and leave for at least half an hour before washing item as normal.

Chocolate

If possible, flush the fabric from the wrong side with warm water to help prevent the chocolate from being driven further into the fibres. When as much chocolate has been rinsed off as possible, saturate the remaining mark with full strength Eucalan, and let sit for 30 minutes. Gently scrub at the stain after 30 minutes, and repeat if necessary. Launder as usual once the mark is removed.

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How to Keep Your New Clothes Looking Great All Season

Even if you aren’t much of a shopper, there is something indescribably wonderful about purchasing new clothes for fall. The seasons are changing, all your summer clothes are looking tired, and the rich fall colours are calling your name. For many of us, the clothes we buy in fall serve us all through the winter as well- which means that they are some of our hardest working wardrobe pieces. Whether you want to protect the longevity of your favourite sweaters, or just aren’t a fan of shopping and want to minimize how much of it you need to do, we have great tips on how to care for your new fall clothes so that they keep looking great all through the season.

Clothing Care

  • Rotate your clothes. It might seem minimalist to only own one grey t-shirt or only two bras, but constant wear (and the subsequent washing) will cause fabrics to deteriorate faster. Make sure you have enough of any key pieces so that you can rotate them regularly.
  • Buy better quality clothing. Cheap tops are going to stretch out and look terrible after one wash, so why bother? It’s worth buying fewer items of higher quality that you can enjoy over and over.
  • Store between seasons. Storing clean items between seasons by using big ziploc bags to protect your sweaters and woolens from moths or pets.
  • Room to breathe. Don’t cram so many items into your closet that they are getting fold and crease marks because they are too squished together.

Laundry Tips

Take a quick look at the lint trap in your dryer – it’s plain to see that washing your clothes contributes substantially to the wear and tear of the fibers.  To reduce the damage washing does to your new clothes try:

  • Treat stains right away. Put some full-strength Eucalan or use a stain treating towelette on any spots before putting them in the laundry hamper. This will make it much easier to get the stains out of items when they are washed.
  • Using the gentle cycle as much as possible. The less aggressive the agitation in the washing, the less fibre damage. It’s that simple.
  • Only wash when items smell or look dirty. You know how long you were wearing it, and if all you did was sit still in an air conditioned office, that blouse might be fine to wear again without a wash.
  • Use a gentle but effective fabric wash. Harsh chemicals will speed up fabric deterioration. We recommend using Eucalan for all your washing needs, but we are a bit biased!
  • Turning clothes inside out to minimize signs of wear due to washing. It really does. Especially good for dark items.
  • Using mesh laundry bags for delicates. Ever try to pull something out of the washing machine and a sleeve or shoulder strap has fully pretzled around another item or two? It’s always scary when that happens, because you know that has totally caused some damage.
  • Wash in cold water. Hot and warm temperatures can cause more damage to clothes, and increase risk of shrinking. Plus, cold water is better for your electric bill!
  • Air dry your clothes away from bright light.  The dryer causes a lot of stress on fabrics, and causes many fibers to shrink. Air drying is better for your clothes, and your electric bill.

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