White and red striped shirt with a wooden hanger lying on a rug
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How to wash striped clothing

From shirts to skirts, and neutrals to nauticals, classic stripes are a wardrobe staple no matter the season or occasion. And with our definitive step-by-step stripe-washing care guide, you can enjoy crisp, clean lines wash after wash and wear after wear. 

Step #1: test for colour bleeding

Before washing, always test your striped clothing for colour bleeding. Either dip an inconspicuous area of the garment into water (a seam or hem works well), or spot-test by blotting the item with a clean, damp cloth. If dye releases into the water or onto the cloth (which can happen when you’re washing an item for the first time ), you should wash the item separately, apart from other fabrics, to minimise the risk of the colour bleeding.

Step #2: wash with similar patterns 

If there’s no obvious colour bleeding, feel free to wash with other items, but only if they’re of a similar type and colour. For example, white-stripes-on-black with other dark items; pink-stripes-on-white with pastel shades/lighter-coloured items. In general, we recommend sorting your garments according to the colour in the majority, unless there’s an even balance of colours (in which case you should sort according to the strongest colour in the mix). And always wash lighter, delicate fabrics apart from more resilient, heavier ones. 

Step #3: pre-treat stains 

Pretreat stains and discoloured areas first. Simply dilute some of our detergent (one of our Signature Clothing Washes for everyday fabrics such as cotton and denim, but Wool, Silk & Delicates for delicates like wool, cashmere, silk and embroidered pieces) in cool water and gently work it into the garment using a clean cloth, then dab away the residue with another clean, wet cloth. Continue to dampen the cloth with cool water as necessary until the stain disappears. We also recommend treating the stain from the back, to push it out rather than in: treating a stain from the front can set it even deeper into the fabric. 

Step #4: wash carefully

Many laundry products contain bleaching agents, such as chlorine bleach. Yet these chemical-stuffed detergents will quite literally blitz the life out of your fabrics, damaging the fibres and causing irreversible fading. Our gentle yet effective plant-based surfactants, by contrast, will keep your striped clothes stripey without stripping them away.   

Step #5: machine or hand wash 

To machine wash stripes, wash cool (> 30°C) with an extra rinse spin cycle, if possible, to preserve the colours. If you’re washing a striped garment for the first time, or only washing a small load, we recommend hand washing (both to minimise colour-run, and because it’s more water-efficient). To hand wash stripes, fill a sink or tub with cool water, dissolve in some of Kair’s gentle clothing wash, then use your hands to gently agitate the garment in the water (see our 101 hand washing guide for the step-by-step method). Soak the item for up to 30 minutes before rinsing and pressing out any excess water (never wring).

Step #6: air dry and refresh 

Most colour fading occurs in the tumble dryer, so if you must machine dry, set your tumble dryer to the lowest setting. But we recommend ditching it altogether, as well as other heat sources like radiators, and air drying instead. Line dry non-woollen items, but dry woollens flat in their natural shape. Smooth out creases with a refreshing spritz of finishing spray - a great way to refresh your pieces between washes as well, and keep your stripes crisp. 

Just as a tiger can’t change its stripes, neither should your clothes have to change theirs! With the right tender loving Kair, you can swap colour-run casualties for stripes that stay. 

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