15 Clothing Care Tips from a Former Stewardess
So you got your wardrobe together, all you wear is sustainably produced, ethically made and looks very Instagram-worthy.
But do you know how to make this dream last?
I didn’t, and I had to learn the hard way. While working on a jet and living of the suitcase, I created a lot of waste because either I didn’t know how to properly treat my clothing or I’d leave something I needed at home, so I had to buy a new cheap piece at local malls.
In this blog post I share my fails in taking care of clothing during the years of flying, and I offer solutions I wish I discovered earlier.
Fold Heavy Knits on a Shelf
I used to hang all of my clothes at home, and I did the same with the clothes of my passengers on board. Obviously that’s what you do with things like suits, but a cardigan that belonged to a wife of my boss (the cardigan she was using during long flights) became visibly longer when I started working for them… Since then I fold heavy knits and you should too, if you don’t want your cropped sweater to reach your knees.
Everyone loves lavender
And if you don’t - change your mind. Adding lavender sachets into your closet will prevent finding moth holes in your sweaters. Also lavender is a sustainable alternative to those anti-moth chemical balls in plastic.
Iron out the WRINKLES like a pro
I bought an iron only when moved in with Jose. Before I’ve been using a garment steamer, or I would simply hang my closes in a bathroom while I was taking a hot shower. It’s especially good when you stay at the hotel, because this way you also refresh your clothes. This helps to avoid unnecessary dry cleaning (therefore it’s more eco-friendly), and you don’t get to burn a hole with an ancient flatiron most of the hotels offer.
Wait for deodorants and antiperspirants to dry completely before putting on a top
I didn’t always had time for that. They wake you up with an emergency flight in the middle of the night. You don’t think about aluminum contained in many antiperspirants and that it can stain your clothes yellow…
Dress After Your Hair and Makeup
Get your beauty routine done while waiting for that antiperspirant to dry! You want your eyeshadow and blush to be on your face, not on your chest and shoulders.
Make your stockings last more than a day
If I tied together all of the stockings I wore with my uniform, I would be able to wrap an airport and also I’d burn in hell, because nylon takes 30-40 years to decompose. To prolong life of your stockings, you have to make sure they have reinforced toes and they are of your size. Another hack is to slip on a pair of very thin no-show socks before you put on your tights.
My favourite and the weirdest tip to make your stocking last is to freeze them. Before you wear them for the first time, quickly run them under water, squeeze the excess, and freeze them. Let the tights come to the room temperature before the first wear. You only have to do it one time.
I don’t have a scientific explanation to this phenomenon, but I want to believe it works, otherwise I wasted a lot of water for nothing.
It saves your time, money (water + electricity + detergents) AND the environment! Which is a great excuse for busy or lazy people. Ain’t nobody got time for doing laundry daily. Of course if your clothes start smell like a bootcamp, it’s time to wash it. But jeans can easily go months without a spin in a washing machine! Wool can be refreshed by steam (take it to the shower as I’ve mentioned before) and fresh air, also wearing a thin top underneath a jumper helps to keep it clean longer. Small stains can be handled easily with a…
I didn’t get to the level where I carried the pen in my handbag, but I had it on board together with other stain removers. If I managed to save a beige carpet from red wine, you can do it too.
No stain remover? Dab ice water or seltzer immediately so the stain does not set. Do not rub - dub. Do not use hot water and do not wait until the stain dries.
Ok let’s laundry
This topic deserves a separate post but I’ll keep it short.
separate whites from colours and dark clothing
wash at 40 degrees (I only ‘boil’ sheets and towels)
turn dark clothes and t-shirts with prints inside out to prevent from fading
reduce amount of detergent (they just want you to spend more on this product!)
consider to stop using the softener to save your money and the environment
use a delicates bag so your underwear doesn’t look and feel like it’s 10yo
put your tights into a separate washing bag, as the hooks of your bras can rip thin nylon
finally, wash synthetic clothes in a special bag to prevent micro plastic pollution
Use a Clothesline or Drying Rack
Never had a dryer in my life, never felt I needed one. There are other eco-friendly solutions even for very limited space apartments. Buy a foldable drying rack that won’t take much space when not used.
Wear apron when cooking
In my last year of flying I switched to completely black uniform, because I got tired of washing white cotton shirts after each flight.
Take care of pills with a razor
At home or when travelling - a razor is easy to use, so your sweaters look like new.
Dye faded clothes
Because why not?
maintain leather items
Leather tends to be expensive and not always sustainable, so you want to make sure your investment pieces last. Pretreat your items with water resistant formulas, then keep cleansing and moisturising it, just like your skin. If I learnt it earlier, I would spend so much less on shoes!
Learn Basic Mending
You know the drill - Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle. I want to add Repair to this mantra! Once my skirt ripped on me right before the passengers boarded the plane. Well, I should have learnt how to mend instead of eating the leftover desserts!
I’ll show you some of my mending projects during the challenge @tickover has organised on Instagram. It will last all February, join us!
Sad but truth, not all the clothing items are meant to last long. Especially if it’s fast fashion. But it’s literally in our hands to make our clothes see better days! I hope you enjoyed reading my tips. Please let me know if there’s anything else I should use!