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How to care for your colours

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Discovering your best colours and wearing the colours and styles that you love and that bring you to life is incredibly uplifting and confidence boosting. But if there's one thing to ruin that 'I just wore my best red and felt a million dollars' high, it's shrinking your favourite merino sweater in the wash and kissing goodbye to the investment you've just made in your own confidence.

Caring for your clothes appropriately won't just mean that your merino jumper lasts beyond the first soup spillage; it will also ensure that the bright and beautiful colours will last far far longer, so electric blue will remain electric blue rather than drifting further towards cornflower with every wash.

I've pulled together Kettlewell's top tips for caring for your colours and making the vibrant tone of your favourite top last as long as possible.

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1. Read the washing label! It sounds basic, but we're so used to being able to throw everything in the wash at 30 degrees that it often doesn't occur to us to check that it's the best way to care for our clothes. Most merino, for instance, benefits from a hand wash or the wool cycle in your machine, and anything with silk in needs to be treated with the care stated on the label.

2. Don't wash jeans or other items with metal fastenings with knitwear, or even jersey tshirts if you can avoid it - the metal can snag knitwear but can also damage the fibres of your tshirts over time, causing holes.

3. Wash on the coolest temperature you can get away with, and use a gentle detergent. Kettlewell's dyes are the best quality we can lay our hands on, and they will stand up to a fair amount of abuse (much more than most strong coloured clothing you can buy, because we've worked so hard for so long with our factories with colour as a main priority), but particularly for the brighter colours, the more gently you care for them the longer they will retain that depth of colour you love. Brief note: it is important, however, to occasionally run a hot wash in your machine, especially if you live in a soft water area, or you'll find your machine will stop doing a thorough job. Bed linen is the ideal victim for your hottest wash!

4. Love your knitwear, especially cashmere, and give it the respect it deserves. Your cashmere gauze stole will plump back up beautifully after a quick soak in some hand wash liquid, a press dry in a towel and a couple of hours draped carefully on an airer - remember that knitwear will hold onto any peculiar shape you drag it into with pegs when hanging it out, so be as careful with your drying as you are with your washing.

5. Don't leave clothes hanging around in the machine after the cycle has finished. Not only will your clothes smell less than delightful, but in really intense colours in certain fabrics the dye can gather in the creases of the fabric if it is tightly squashed in the machine, creating a creased appearance even when the garment is dry and ironed.

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6. Don't fear the tumble dryer! Do check the label (have I said that enough times yet?) but lots of modern natural fibres such as viscose or modal which can feel very stiff and 'shrunken' when wet ping back into shape perfectly either on a line or in a tumble dryer. Modern tumble dryers are far more clothing friendly than their older counterparts.

7. Accept that nothing lasts forever. I have Kettlewell tops that are the best part of a decade old and still going strong, but occasionally an item just reaches the end of its life. Don't be afraid to declutter the clothes that are past their best and replace them with items that really make you feel amazing

Barbara on Feb 22, 2019 2:16 PM

I have always understood that fabric conditioner should not be used with cashmere. I always wash with Woolite on a cool wool cycle and dry flat.

Luce on Feb 19, 2019 12:48 AM

I noted a comment from a lady who says she has to iron Kettlewell tops regardless of how they are dried. I would like to share that I only iron 100% cotton items. I tumble dry or dry flat, smooth whilst fabric is warm and return to wardrobe. The fabrics are amazing as within minutes of wearing any 'creases' magically fall out.

Gill on Jan 24, 2019 11:24 AM

I have invested in an amazing heated airer from Lakeland perfect for ‘dry flat’ delicate items especially in this cold weather. Not certain how I managed my jumpers before. It also heats the room nicely! Also just discovered scented fabric spray. Deters moths, refreshes clothes and my Kettlewell clothes always smell lovely.

Jenny Sevitt on Jan 20, 2019 12:19 PM

Sadly I find the tops ALL need ironing even if taken out of machine quickly and line dried. Tumble drying no good either!

Pippa Brown on Jan 19, 2019 8:03 PM

Granny pips hints and tips has known all this for 50years watch this space

Irene Thomas on Jan 19, 2019 10:57 AM

I just have to tell you that your merino garments are the only ones I have come across that don't bobble.

Heidi62 on Jan 17, 2019 5:16 PM

Been doing all these things all my life very careful with my kettlewell items. It would be helpful if you could say if your wool and cashier items are ok with small amounts of fabric softener in last rinse. Thanks