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Washing Instructions

I recently shared a TikTok post that asked the questions;

Do you buy second hand clothes?

If so, would you expect them to arrived washed and pressed?

What I'm most interested to know is;

Would you accept second hand clothing had it not been washed and pressed?

The reason behind these queries stems from the recent study carried out on my business. Last year, scientists at the Energy & Bio-Products Research Institute looked at ways the environmental impact of the textile industry could be minimised by the second hand clothing market, using my business as an example. Their research was extensive and the results fascinating.

The laundering of clothing was a major factor in this study as, throughout the lifespan of our clothes, washing has a detrimental environmental effect with detergents and tumble drying playing a large part in the deterioration of garments as well as the planet.

All of my stock is laundered with eco friendly detergents at low temperatures and line dried. However, in the study of electrical appliances used by my business it was prolonged use of the iron which was the main source of emissions.


It has made me look more closely at the laundering process as a whole. As many of the clothes arrive damaged by ageing factors like stains or mold, I have no alternative but to wash them However, there are plenty that, on the surface do appear to be clean if not freshly laundered. This was the reason for my questioning of potential customers. I know for a fact that a large majority of buyers wash clothing on arrival regardless.

As for pressing the clothing, this again is something that quite often isn't necessary. There are a lot of polyester based items like Crimplene that don't require ironing but it is the cotton based pieces like shirts that benefit from pressing. This means that I frequently press in order to photograph for sale and then press again before sending as they can crease on the rails. I'm now asking customers if they would mind clothing arriving with creases as extensive use of the iron is damaging clothing that has managed to survive in excess of forty years already - why add to that distress.

I will continue to raise these questions as, whilst trying to maintain an environmentally friendly business it seems converse to then employ unsustainable practices that can harm the clothing and the planet.

Do you expect second hand clothing to have been laundered before sale?

Do you expect second hand clothing purchases to have been washed?

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  • Write an answer


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