Laundry is often regarded as a chore because we see these soft possessions as disposable and wish they could just "clean themselves". It's hard not to feel that way when most of the clothes, shoes and home accessories are made of a material known to be disposable - polyester, a plastic composition. Yet, it's also a material that remains as waste and only biodegrade about 200 years later.
That's why the more natural the fabric of our everyday environment is, the more connected we can be to the natural world and realise that our actions have an impact on this shared planet. When we shift the mindset from seeking convenience to gaining appreciation, we'll start to see that the act of caring for these items as an indispensable part of our lives. They have clothed us, give comfort and soften our living space and it's only right that we give care and prolong their product life in return.
Spot clean and hand wash help retain the quality of the textile product. Machine wash consumes an excessive amount of water, most time highly unnecessary unless your items have been rolling around in dirt and require all that rinsing. While washing by hand takes more time and physical energy, it opens our eyes to just how much laundry we were generating each week along with the amount of water loaded with detergent we've been disposing.
If machine wash is really necessary, insert your laundry into mesh laundry bags. These inexpensive laundry tool help to prevent damages and stretches, that when placed in gentle cycle using cold water, it comes close to washing by hand. Use these bags to categorise your items based on colour (e.g. dark with dark, light with white) and be sure to not overfill the bag so items can move around to get clean.
Cold water puts less stress on the fibers and helps reduce risk of shrinkage. There's a lot of debate on how hot/warm cycle is more efficient in removing grease and stubborn stains but why consume so much energy when you can spot clean prior to putting the items in the washing machine? Washing every load on the hot/warm cycle for a year is equivalent to burning about 182 gallons of gasoline in a car. Removing stains directly by hand only requires some scrubbing and baking soda.
While cotton can become threadbare as the fibres weaken over time, linen gets better with each wash. There's a misconception that linen items last long due to the need for specialist care. It's far from that. Linen dries relatively quickly, giving a cooling effect without trapping odour. It means that minimal laundry detergent is needed during washing and can be left to dry on a clothesline even on rainy days.
Caring for the Linen Wrap:
Hand wash in a filled up sink or a water tub. Don't wring but press excess water before hanging flat on a clothesline. Dripping will occur so if you don't have an outdoor clothesline, put in a mesh laundry bag after pressing and let it machine spin to avoid dripping while drying. Machine wash in a mesh laundry bag on gentle cycle using cold water. For a relaxed look, leave it to dry flat. If you like it pressed, iron on the reversed side (highest setting for linen) while still damp.